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Paris itinerary - too ambitious?

I've read many, many posts on this forum and hope I have learned from them. My husband and I will be in Paris 12/18 through 01/03. While many of the top-tier restaurants are closed, there are still plenty of good choices. I want to be realistic and not overschedule. I'd appreciate some opinions, please.

Friday, 12/19: Guy Savoy for lunch. This is the last day they're open until Jan. 6th, so it's take it or leave it. I'll take it.

Saturday, 12/20: L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon for the early dinner seating. We'll still be shaking off jet lag, so I think an early dinner will suit us well.

Tuesday, 12/23: Senderens for lunch. Gives us time to do a little Christmas shopping in the 1st, then a walk along the Champs-Elysees, to see the Christmas lights after sunset.

Saturday, 12/27: Dinner at La Cantine du Faubourg. Not the height of chowdom, but it looks like a fun place to be on a Saturday night without going to a nightclub. Cool atmosphere. Reminds me of Stephen Starr's restaurants in Philadelphia.

Sunday, 12/28: Hidden Kitchen. Because I'll be wanting to have some real conversations in English by then, for sure. And have some good food.

Tuesday, 12/30: L'Astrance for lunch. Because it sounds too good to miss. But I'm wondering, does anyone know if the prices will be increased for lunch on 12/31? That would open up a sightseeing day, and it would be great to have a fabulous lunch on New Year's Eve. I am sure dinner will be astronomical, but lunch? Anyone know?

My only shot at L'Ami Jean will be 12/18, because they will be closed 12/21 through 01/02. We arrive that morning and are staying a few blocks away. Am I pushing it if I try for dinner that evening? It may be that we will be too tired and cranky to deal with the boisterous atmosphere. Can anyone enlighten me on their hours? Maybe it will work if I can get an early dinner.

I'm leaving the rest open for now and, with the help of Chowhound, Pudlo, Michelin, and Alexander lobrano, I am compiling a list of more affordable places, which I can wait a bit on. I don't want to be too locked in, but I do want to have some structure and some definite plans. We have an apartment, so we'll be eating in for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year's Eve, at minimum.
It's not all about the food - I want to be able to see the sights as well - but I do want some great food experiences.

Many thanks for any insight you can offer.

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  1. It sounds like a manageable schedule. Excellent selection, by the way. On can tell that you did your research well. Some remarks:

    I think someone beat you to having the 100€ menu on that particular day at Guy Savoy (but it will be a good test of how drastically they apply the "one table" policy.

    Senderens: recent dinner with DCM demonstrated again that the ordering strategy is essential. At that point, my advice is: langoustines, foie gras and two desserts. Desserts and their wines, I think (and there I might disagree with DCM) are truly extraordinary while, save a few dishes, savoury are more ordinary. I hate to say it, since Senderens is one of my favourite chefs ever, but my credibility commands that I acknowledge it.

    L'Atelier: ordering strategy is important too. Feel free to contact me directly shortly before for advice (zejulot@gmail.com). Basically focus on dishes relying on rare ingredients and perfect cooking, staying away from complicated recipes and from too simple ones as well.

    L'Astrance on NYE lunch: just ask them. In general, there is no special price or menu for lunch on NYE, but one never knows. There again, feel free to contact if you want a Frenchman to ask for you.

    5 Replies
    1. re: souphie

      Souphie, thank you for the reply. Actually, I believe I am the one who has secured the 100€ menu already at Guy Savoy - that one and HK are the only reservations already made, and it has been confirmed. The email confirmation I received said "We take note of your wish to have the € 100 menu" which I take to mean we have secured that spot. If not, no problem. We'll just enjoy what they have to offer while they empty our pockets a little bit more.

      What do you think about my questions on L'Ami Jean? After sleeping on it, I think I may be too cranky to enjoy the experience (I don't do well without adequate sleep), so perhaps we will find other options and have yet another excuse to return.

      Thank you for the offer re: L'Astrance. I think I will call them tomorrow, so that I can secure the reservation at that time (if possible), but if I am unsuccessful in getting an answer, I may call back upon you for your assistance. I think a grand NYE lunch could be a good way to make the most of the day. There is so much conflicting information on exactly how far in advance they will take a reservation; tomorrow will be three months exactly if I'm going for the 30th. Is their policy two months, three months? I suppose I will find out soon enough.

      Thank you as well for your extremely generous offer of menu assistance. As it gets closer, I may take you up on the offer and send you an email. It would certainly be beneficial to have insights as to how to get the best experience.

      I feel it is all coming together well, and I could not have done it without everyone who contributes to this board.

      1. re: lisavf

        It looks like the one table 100€ menu has turned two tables for that day -- or maybe we will join tables? L'Ami Jean is not a good place if you're cranky indeed, given how crowded and noisy it is. It is delicious, but it's not like you had a plan of bad food anyway.

        1. re: souphie

          You will be at Guy Savoy for lunch that day as well?

          Yes, I think I will go with my instinct on L'Ami Jean.

            1. re: souphie

              Souphie, I will email you privately to discuss the possibility of dining together.

    2. <Tuesday, 12/23: Senderens for lunch. Gives us time to do a little Christmas shopping in the 1st, then a walk along the Champs-Elysees, to see the Christmas lights after sunset.>

      We loved doing the Christmas lights on the C-E, and enjoying a cup of hot chocolate in the window seat at Fouquet's. (Don't eat the food there, tho, it's dreadful!) And for Christmas decos, those at Notre Dame Cathedral are breathtaking.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ChefJune

        Sounds splendid! I am looking forward to it very much.

      2. That sounds do-able. I just came back from Paris (was on my honeymoon), and did lunch at L'Astrance, dinner at L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon and lunch (100E menu) at Guy Savoy in 3 glorious consecutive days, with plenty of smaller meals, walking and sightseeing in between. I promise to post more detailed reviews and (hopefully) pictures of my recent dining experiences soon, but in short I had a great time at all those places, and I'm sure you will too!

        2 Replies
        1. re: kewlly

          First, congratulations! What a fabulous way to start off your new life together. Thank you for the info, and I would love to see your photos and read a report. Unfortunately, I have just learned this morning that L'Astrance will be closed 12/20 through 01/06, which was not reflected in Michelin. So I am considering adding another ** or keeping it simple. I may just opt for simple and eliminate stress.

          Please do post a report - they are always helpful to the future travelers!

          1. re: lisavf

            I don't know if it is open during that time either, but we had an excellent lunch at Carre des Feuillants, a Michelin 2-star, a year and a half ago. Not quite L'Astrance, but very creative food in a beautiful contemporary space, and very good value.