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Mar 15, 2009 06:27 AM

Paris with 11-yr-old daughter

I am taking my daughter to Paris for 4 nights on April 5. She has never been outside the US, let alone to the food capital of the world. She is not yet a gourmand, and I think it's too early to do something like Taillevent that she would not appreciate. Instead, I am planning on sticking to some places that have solid food but are strong on atmosphere that an 11-yr old would like and appreciate. For example I plan to go to Au Pied de Cochon, which is not something I would probably try on my own, but I think she''ll appreciate the atmosphere and the pig-parts menu. I am looking for recommendations that fit this bill for an 11-yr-old girl - food she will love and atmosphere that will make her feel like she had a traditionally Parisian experience. Apologies to the purists - I know Paris is not Chuck E. Fromage, but I don't want her first trip to Europe to be a bore. (PS - I am watching with interest the string about the parent with the 13-yr old ballerina, but that inquiry focuses on Opera Garnier area - I am interested in all Paris). ALSO - anyone have anything good (or bad) to say about Rick Steves' recommendations? I experienced great success with his suggestions in Italy. Thank you!

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  1. Bob - We took our son (now 21) to Paris when he was 8. It was too long ago, and I am not familiar enough with current Paris restaurants to recommend specific spots. But I would encourage you just to take her to typical brasseries, or bistrots where she can try some of the French classics. Our son was fine eating roast chicken, mashed potatoes, frites, etc., with ice cream for dessert and typically starting with soup.
    My strongest memory was of our one almost-disaster: we were at a small, modest bistro and he decided to have the fish (don't recall what kind). It did not even cross our minds that it would be anything other than a fillet. When his main course arrived, it was the whole fish, complete with the head. His eyes filled with tears as he contemplated his dinner. Fortunately, I had ordered a veal dish that I knew he would like, so I offered to swap dinners with him, which worked fine. Moral of this story: if she orders something that you think might be a reach for her, you might want to order something you know she would like, just in case.
    Enjoy. Paris in springtime is magical for any first visit and should be for your daughter too.

    1. At the risk of offending you and the others here, I let my niece watch "Somethings Gotta Give" and then we went to Le Grand Colbert. We had a great time, We had pizza, Creps and The Estimable Hippotat..... And I think we went to Polidor too. I have found that I have to really ratchet back when I have the kids along. I am planning my 50 BD dinner and am in a dilemma for the same reason. I want to do something I think is cool, but will have a picky adult and my niece ( who is also pickey) along, and I see little point in spending a large amount of money on a dinner that only I will enjoy, o.k. the 14 yo boy will love wherever I choose too! :) Rosie Caro

      3 Replies
      1. re: RosieCaro

        Rosie - Thank you! That is exactly the kind of pop culture link I am struggling for. Great idea! But I am a bit scared away from the reviews I am seeing on Le Grand Colbert. Many seem to think the place gives the cold shoulder to tourists. Nonetheless, I will try this.

        1. re: BobTheEater65

          Bob, Le Grand Colbert does not give the cold shoulder to tourists, when we were there, there was virtually no one else BUT tourists in the place. And tho the place reeks of atmosphere, the food was abysmal.

        2. re: RosieCaro

          I took my daughter to Violon d'Ingres at age 8 and again at 10. She loved it. It is a one star, a good bit fancier than your run of the mill brasserie, really good cooking.

        3. A few suggestions:

          Go to a brasserie and take a look at what others are eating as you move to your table. Something may catch her eye. If not, they will have many kid-friendly things on the menu, for the conservative or the adventurously inclined.

          Be sure to visit a different patisserie every day, and try a different item each time. No child of any age can resist a pain au chocolat or an opera.

          Visit a Morrocan restaurant and try a tagine or couscous.

          Get a crepe on the street.

          Visit a market and assemble a picnic as you whims take you.

          Go to a Maison de Chocolat for truffles.

          Taste real bread (e.g., Poilaine).

          Go to Bertillon for ice cream.

          Visit a tea room.

          Munch a macaroon or two.

          And, by all means, sit for a while at an outdoor cafe and nurse a citron presse.

          1. The brasseries would be a good choice; the wait staff of Balzar is quite friendly. But La Rotonde and Bofinger are good as well. All have dishes like poulet/roti and steak/frites that an 11 year old ought to like. If the weather is nice many restaurants have fine terraces for dining; Ile St. Louis would be a great location as would be the Marais.

            1. Last week we were in Paris with our teenager, brother, sister-in-law and our 8 & 6 year old niece and nephew. I found Le Temps Perdu in St. Germain through a Trip Advisor review. I checked out the menu and they had a kids prix fix so we thought it would be a good choice. Wow, we are so glad we made that choice. It was our best meal of the trip and the service was amazing.

              Our French is minimal but our waiter Herman was a pleasure. He he was great to our picky lttle kids and helped us order amazing food and wine. We ordered a 65E bottle of wine and he talked us into an amazing 21E bottle. It was so good, we had three!

              The food was perfect and very reasonably priced. I had the veal and it was great. Husband had the coq au vin and loved it. 14 year-old son had the duck and ate it all in about two minutes. Others had the mussels (a HUGE bowl) and duck and everyone was happy. Kids had french fries and steak. Dessert was great too; I had a yummy floating island thing with custard, meringue and fruit!

              The restaurant was so comfortable. The other diners were Parisians from the neighborhood so the atmosphere was pure Paris. It was a memorable meal for our family; everyone was happy! I would highly recommend Le Temps Perdu.