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Apr 9, 2009 09:47 AM

Solo dining in Paris

I wanted to get a little input from people on dining alone in restaurants in Paris. I've tried to get people to come with me on a week long trip in May, but no one is biting (I just don't get it ). I don't want this to affect my eating plans, but want to make sure that I'm not going to be out of place at places like Chez 'l ami Jean, Cafe Jadis, etc.

I know eating in France is a very social event and while I might miss some of this, I don't want it to hinder where I eat. Are there any other suggestions on this? Is this common in Paris?

Any input is much appreciated.

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  1. I went to Paris by myself in the fall - same deal, couldn't get anyone to come along with me (maybe Bostonians in general are just lame and don't like going on awesome trips...that's my theory?). I was apprehensive at first given that I'm a twentysomething female and thus probably not included in the "people you see dining alone and don't feel sorry for" category, but I ate in an assortment of restaurants from pristine white-tablecloth establishments to casual bistros and never once felt uncomfortable. In fact, quite the opposite - most places I went I was doted upon. Furthermore I often noticed other solo diners wherever I I don't think this is at all an uncommon occurrence.

    1. You will have no problems. I used to work in Paris about 3 weeks a year, always went alone, ate at all levels, 3 stars down, never a problem. This should be the very last thing you worry about

      1. I echo the sentiments of the other two posters.

        However, there are quite a number of discussions on this subject in this forum. You might enjoy doing a bit of a search.

        1. I notice you plan to dine at "Cafe Jadis" I suspect you really want to eat at the hot new bistro called Jadis (208, Rue Croix Nivert) - it is the one getting all the great reviews.

          Be careful because there is a restaurant called "Caffe Jadis" which was visited by lonelyarethebrave - I am not certain if they got mixed up and thought this was "Jadis" or whether it is simply coincidence.

          1 Reply
          1. re: PhilD

            I have had absolutely no problem eating as a singl at the best restaurants in Paris. Kind of surprising since I barely speak French. I have had enjoyable interactions with waiters, captains, and restaurant managers, as well as chefs, especially with Passard at Arpege.

          2. I have been in Paris several times on my own and typically will make lunch my main meal of the day and feel extremely comfortable dining alone. I admit, I feel most comfortable doing so at lunch in the finer dining establishments. I have found that as a single woman I am often shown to a nice table that would provide me a view of the dining room and/or window which leads me to believe the host/hostess is being very accomodative to my dining solo. I do not get the same treatment in the U.S. One thing I'd like to add about dining alone in Paris - spend your time people watching, soaking in the atmosphere and savoring the food. Try to avoid having your nose in technology for any extended period (just my opinion!).

            11 Replies
            1. re: vlfrance

              <having your nose in technology for any extended period (just my opinion!).>

              actually, it's not just your opinion. It is considered extremely rude, even when you are dining alone.

              1. re: ChefJune

                i am curious on this point as I will be alone for a couple of days later this month before my Husband joins me ( restaurant list to follow soon) it ok to read a book but not to read a blackberry or respond to a text message? I know better than to use the cell phone feature.

                1. re: capeanne

                  Like capeann, I am curious about this. When traveling and dining solo, I usually like to jot down what I'm drinking, what I'm eating, what spices/herbs/whathaveyou I think are in the dish. I don't spend my whole dinner doing this, of course I gape at the people around me as well, but...

                  In the past I have used a small notebook but had been contemplating using an iTouch for my next visit. No way?

                  1. re: Leely2

                    I carried around a small notebook and generally wrote in it before I was served and between courses. It never really occurred to me that this might be considered rude, but I never sensed any disapproval from servers or neighbors about it. If anything, people were interested in what I was writing.

                  2. re: capeanne

                    In a cafe or casual restaurant no one will even notice. I was in Paris last year and saw lots of Parisians plugging in their laptops and surfing the net, reading and sending emails, typing, etc.

                    1. re: carolinadawg

                      I'm another one who LOVES dining alone in Paris, from 3 stars to the corner cafe. Have always felt comfortable. A short, discrete use of an electronic device would be acceptable, but I would strongly recommend against burying your nose in a book. If you pay attention to the room and subtly watch (and listen) to the other diners, you'll get more attention from the staff (and maybe something on the house), and you'll probably wind up talking to some of the other diners before the meal is over (yes, even in 3 stars).

                  3. re: ChefJune

                    I was just in Paris for a long weekend and saw many locals and tourists on their laptops, blackberrys..
                    Had several business meetings at Crillon and we all were 'plugged in'.

                    1. re: Beach Chick

                      I suspect the comment relates to dining i.e. sitting at a restaurant table having a meal.

                      Certainly lots of people will use phones, laptops etc in cafes and bars, after al it is very pleasant to sit in the sun doing a little work and relaxing over a coffee. However, to me, it does seem rude doing this in a restaurant over dinner.

                      Were you really "plugged in" in the restaurant or were you simply sitting in the lobby/bar with a coffee /drink meeting colleagues?

                      1. re: PhilD

                        we were plugged in at the lobby/bar..I do agree that in a restaurant, that would be rude...some did pull out the blackberrys during dinner but briefly and discretely.

                    2. re: ChefJune

                      Actually, it is just an opinion.

                      If you are dining with others it is up to them to determine if it is rude, not those sitting at other tables. I myself would not, were I dining with others, but some demographics might not share this taboo.

                      As far as when one is dining on one's own? For all of my life I have read books while dining out alone. Now I flip open my phone and queue up what ever I am currently reading and enjoy my story.

                      I want to be clear I am not talking about an activity such as talking on the phone. That generates noise and is justifiably the business of anyone within ear shot.

                      But silent activity on an electronic device? One would be awfully entitled to feel they had the right to object.

                      I am back from six weeks in Europe, and spent three of them in Paris. Where I saw Parisians of all ages pulling out devices in all sorts of restaurants. Rarely was it to talk and then only briefly. But checking texts and emails? Absolutely. Once even at Lapérouse, that bastion of old world sensibility ; -)

                      1. re: sarafinadh

                        On the other hand, at Lapérouse, any excuse is good to not concentrate on the food.