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Mar 16, 2009 10:22 AM

Paris in August

I'm planning to take a week long trip to Paris this August and I need some tips for good restaurants that will be open!

I will probably only be able to afford one very expensive meal (suggestions welcome for my splurge meal!), so I am looking more for dinners that cost around 50-70 euro for two and lunches that are cheap (but tasty). I'd also like to stick to French food. I figure I'll be in France, so French is the way to go :).

I would definitely be interested in finding a good Alsatian restaurant as well.

FYI, I am adventurous when it comes to food, so I'm open to anything.

Merci beaucoups!

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  1. You're open to anything, but not much is open in Paris in August. For dine dining, it comes down to L'Arpège, le Cinq, Le Bristol, La Grande Cascade.

    The Robuchon branches are open too. And Senderens.

    For good middle priced meals, it won't be easy, as almost all bistrots are closed. Just like for fine dining, I would turn to the seven days a week places, and even they won't all be open. La Rotonde, Joséphine, Christophe, l'Auberge Bressane would be on top of my list. You can basically forget about all the top stars -- l'Ami Jean, La Régalade, etc... except maybe the last of the month.

    To be fair, restaurants start to reopen in the middle of the month, after Aug. 15th. But it's too early to even ask.

    5 Replies
    1. re: souphie


      Thanks for the information. I will be traveling to Paris on July 31st to around July4th. Do you have any recommendations on places to eat that will be open? I really want to go to L'Ami Jean are they for sure going to be closed or just most likely?

      1. re: icemanhorn84

        Do you mean July 31st to August 4th? Well, one can never be sure, but my bet is, you're screwed for l'Ami Jean. And most nice little bistrots on this board. That said, the list above is pretty good, you know. You can also add la Fontaine de Mars.

        1. re: souphie


          Thank you. I know we will find some great places to eat and it is my first time I am just wondering if I should try to plan where to eat or since it is the last day of July and early August just see what is open. I will definitely look into the list above and take any other suggestions if anyone knows of other restaurants that will be open in early August.

          1. re: icemanhorn84

            I'm not Souphie, but I would not leave it to chance. The places that are open will be filled with tourists.

            The Michelin Red guide will tell you what is and isn't open during your visit, so I would make my list of places I WANT to dine, then sit down with the Michelin and find out what is possible. The hounds here will be glad to help you to make the best choices of what is available.

            Paris is such a wonderful place, you will have a great time, even if the food is not as awesome as you wished.

            1. re: ChefJune

              I will definitely make some calls once I make my restaurant picks and hope that the information online is correct and I am able to get reservations.

              I also found this eG Forum with different discussions on Paris in August:

              I'll let everyone know what I decide and what is open.

    2. I'm curious why you are planning to go in August? There is no worse time in the whole year to be there, especially if you're going for the food.

      Not only is the weather hot and sticky, and much of Paris (all of France) is NOT air conditioned, but almost all the fun restaurants are on vacation. There's a reason why Paris shuts down in August.

      Can't you resched for July or September?

      5 Replies
      1. re: ChefJune

        I would slightly disagree with that. August is challenging because options are limited, but the city is yours, places where you go actualy have time for you. A lots of interesting things can happen in Paris in August, but they're harder to find. Also, the weather is not always that bad (it's not Rome) and the Air Conditioning has made some progress over the last few years.

        1. re: souphie

          <the city is yours, places where you go actualy have time for you.>

          That's a big reason why I love winter in Paris! ;)

        2. re: ChefJune

          I will be going to Paris in August because it is better than not going at all. I am going to England for a wedding and then to Spain for a week and I had just enough time to go to Paris for a couple days. I think that it should really be great despite it being in August.

          Also I am from Houston, TX so our summers are typically very hot and humid.

          As long as I find some great food I will be very happy!

          1. re: icemanhorn84

            I may be cooking myself (since I am renting a furnished apartment) the week I will be spending in Paris. Having said that, what is wrong with August? Sounds to me like August is less crowded and the main attractions (museums and stuff) are still open. The historical temperature in Paris is pretty much the same the last week of July than the first week of August, and I am planning on going the first week of August. Please advice.

            1. re: rmatarrita

              "What is wrong with August?" - late July through to early September is when the Parisians head out of the city for their long holiday, often going away for 4 weeks.

              Lots of restaurants and shops close because most of their customers are on vacation, and lots of restaurants close because the owners and staff are on vacation. The bigger shops and restaurants will be open, but most of the small shops, and small independent restaurants will close, and markets will also be quieter with fewer stall-holders.

              All in all much of the depth and breadth of the best of Parisian food will not be available (there are exceptions). It isn't quite a desert, but choices are very restricted.

              I am afraid there isn't much upside, August is the peak European holiday month so the attractions will be at their busiest with tourists from the rest of France, Germany, Spain etc. The one positive is he roads are much quieter as all he commuters are on holiday (although the town hall uses the lull in traffic to rip up and repair many roads).

              Best advice is good research. Your restaurant and food shopping choices will be limited, research what is open, plan ahead and reserve early.

        3. Colette likes August too saying "you can park anywhere."
          If you can hold off a bit, Figaroscope always published either a Dossier or supplement the as August approaches (last year it was July 1st) of places open in August or all summer. Places I enjoyed August 2009 included:

          Zinc Caius (nifty #2 of Caius)
          11, rue d’Armaille in the 17th (Metro: Ternes)
          Closed Sundays
          A la carte about 30 €

          Cru (all raw/cold/tartare-type stuff)
          7, rue Charlemagne/Village St Paul in the 4th (Metro: St Paul)
          Closed Sunday dinner and Mondays
          Lunch menu 19, a la carte 35-40 €

          La Cantine de Merci (a really funky multi-functional place)
          111, bd Beaumarchais in the 3rd (St Sebastien Froissart)
          T: 01-42-77-01-90
          Closed Sundays
          A la carte 20-40 €.

          4 Replies
          1. re: John Talbott

            We love Paris in August: most of the Parisians are gone and we suffer less lip, rudeness and indifference. We always try the great 5th arrondissement BALZAR, a crowded bistro that's so authentic it feels like a caricature (I hope it's still open: a big ruckus ensued about its takeover by the Hippopotamus chain. Read Adam Gopnick's wonderful piece in THE NEW YORKER a few years back, "Saving the Balzar.") Try the choucroute: miraculous. Also, we use Michelin to find prime restaurants an hour or two away from Paris by train. In Reims, it's les Crayeres: although it's down to two stars from three, you won't find more passionate food in a sophisticated country setting. L'Assiette Champenoise is also a treat. This August we'll do La Cote St-Jacques on the Yonne in Joigny. All open in August, although closed some days during the week.

            1. re: mango309

              "BALZAR, a crowded bistro that's so authentic it feels like a caricature"

              There is a very good reason for that

              1. re: mango309

                Brasserie Balzar has been a part of the FLO brasserie chain for some time now; I have not detected a change in the menu,wait staff or quality. I happen to like the place, but for quite different reasons than a Michelin star experience.

                1. re: mango309

                  Find my review from a few years back on LCSJ, was barely OK, last year Loiseau was equally uninteresting. You might want to try L'Arnsbourg in Alsace to see what chef's can do.

              2. Le Comptoir is open in August - but they don't accept reservations (first come first serve so you can play it by ear) and won't be offering the prix fixe menu. But with value friendly wine (a house wine carafe for 11e) and a few entrees or one starter, you can easily get out with 40e. Plus, with a sunny/shaded terrace for great people watching - it is my fav spot in the city in August when you can not only park anywhere, but you can sit anywhere since the town is so enjoyable and quiet then!

                1. One thing you CAN do in August is visit a Guinguette: think Renoir's "The Luncheon of the Boating Party", a riverside restaurant usually with a dance hall. Sunday afternoons are the times to go. Several years ago we went to the Guinguette Martin-Pecheur in Champigny, a short RER ride from Paris. Lunch under awnings was not at all bad and not badly priced. At 2pm everyone migrated indoors for some of the most extraordinary dancing I've ever seen. My husband swore that many were pros on a busman's holiday. But, whatever, it was an infectiously joyous afternoon that we will never forget. We even danced a few times, although, trust me, their waltz was more in 6/8 than 3/4 time. Enjoy!

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