Paris - how far in advance to make reservations?
I'm hoping to visit Paris in late September for 2 nights; I don't have a huge budget so planning on picnic lunches and a couple of memorable dinners. Chez L'Ami Jean looks *amazing*, but how far in advance will I need to reserve for a saturday night? My French isn't great so I was thinking about asking the concierge to do it for us on arrival. Also, when do people usually eat dinner - we tend to eat slightly later (8-9pm) but on a recent trip to Antwerp found that most places tended to be shut by 10! It may seem slightly silly, but I'm slightly intimidated by Paris (and I'm a Londoner) and I really don't want to have a disappointing trip!
lots of answers on this topic if you search.. I asked the same.. We just got back.. For Chez L'ami jean we made them two weeks ahead..but that was for a Tues. Sat I would go for at least four..Some do not take them more than a a month out etc. A poster did have a hard time with Chez L'ami and making the reservation. I had someone in Paris do it for me.. I would have the concierge make them for you.. but a month ahead,definitely not on arrival. We had reservations from 8;30 to 9;30..Oddly one of the cute places..a Pudlo and Zagat turned away diners at 10pm! amazing that they eat late.. but some do not stay open.. Chez L'ami Jean was very good.. Just be prepared to sit RIGHT next to the next table..
It has been my experience that Paris restaurants don't mind taking reservations a while in advance; I have even made some two months in advance and it was fine. On our first trip to Paris, we had a concierge do it for us and it was fine. We just went again recently and made all of our own reservations, and I had no problems with my limited French. In almost every case, someone in the restaurant spoke English. Bear in mind that many restaurants will want you to call and confirm the reservation either same day or day before, or else they may cancel it.