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One day in Paris... where to eat?

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My husband and I are going to London this month with a planned day trip to Paris. We have a few sights we'd like to see, but need some suggestions for lunch and dinner. We won't be able to go too over the top in terms of price, but I'm definitely willing to drop some $ on a memorable Paris meal. Any recommendations? Anything too fancy won't do, we won't be bringing anything dressy with us. I'm thinking a fancy lunch and a nice local cafe for dinner? Or vice versa. Dinner close to the Eurostar Train Station preferred. Thank you!

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  1. And, where do you plan to be around lunch time? Which sights would be up for viewing before and after lunch? (My wife and I like to eat where we're at and not run across town needlessly.)

    3 Replies
    1. re: hychka

      We're coming in early in the morning and was planning on seeing the Lourve, Champs Elysees, Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower. My guess is that we will be closest to the Champs Elysees. We'll probably see the Lourve in the morning, walk along the Seine for a bit, then cab it to there. Is that the best way to go? I feel so clueless! Trying to make the most out of one day in Paris is tough!

      1. re: kbaick

        It's really a short walk and very pretty.

        Have a rain plan. We have been completely soaked more than once.

        I've never eaten in that end of Paris, yet, and can't help except to say that we have a reservation for lunch at Guy Savoy on May 18th...the internet special.

        1. re: kbaick

          You can take this advice with a grain of salt, but I don't think your itinerary sounds very feasible or enjoyable. If it is your first trip to Paris, I would carve out a very small piece, simply focusing on the Ile de la Cite and Ile St. Louis and its immediate surroundings. You can tour Notre Dame efficiently and soak up the beauty of the river and its bridges, iconic Paris imagery. if the weather is bad, you can pop into the Louvre or head over to the Musee D'Orsay. I was never a fan of going up the Eiffel Tower when I lived in Paris, but when I visited as a tourist, I found it more thrilling to see it from far away than from its base.

      2. The closer you are to tourist attractions, the crappier the food. There are burger kings and pizza huts on the Champs Elyysees. Sacre bleu! Grab a Michelin guide. You really can't get a bad meal if you stay away from touristy parts. I am always a fan of grabbing yummies from the boulangeries + the local monoprix, and eating al fresco, if the weather is nice. Paris is a lovely city to sit and people watch.

        6 Replies
        1. re: wholewheat

          There's no Burger King in France anymore. It's been over ten years. My heart is still bleeding.

          1. re: souphie

            Why, nobody else doing it your way?
            Open a Five Guys. They have no qualms about exponential expansion.

            1. re: dietndesire

              That's an idea. At the same time, I suspect the reason BK closed is that it wasn't working so well for them (whereas France is McDonalds' fastest growing market).

              Man, that Whopper somewhere between Sacramento and SF in the middle of the night was the best thing I ate in the US on my last trip.

              1. re: souphie

                Does not sound like a great trip, at least for eating. Unless you were under the influence of whatever. That might explain it.
                I do like the flavor profile of the whopper. Sub in some actual beef and I would agree. Actually, my other thought is to put Shake Shack quality beef in the In n Out burger. That would be the best fast food product available.
                Your countrymen(and women) do love their Royales w/Cheese.
                On your next tour of the USA, we can compare and contrast if you like.

                1. re: dietndesire

                  That's a good point about BK -- the more burgers you have in your whopper, the less good it is.

            2. re: souphie

              Wow, thinking about Burger King in France, the ultimate food paradise. About the closest thing I'll get to a "mac attack" in France (Or anywhere, for that matter) is a Macaron! Preferably, from Laduree or Dalloyau!

          2. Be aware that just standing in line to get into the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower will likely absorb a good portion of your free time, don't really see how you could do much more than a mad dash from the winged victory to the venus de milo to mona lisa and still get in all your other stuff. And, if it is a hazy sky, as is often the case in Paris, skip going up in the tower all together, you will not get much of a view unless you have good clear skies. Having said all that, there are tons of really good restaurants in the 1st, 7th and 8th, the parts of town that correspond to the attractions you named.

            If by fancy lunch you mean at a 2 or 3 star, that will soak up about 3 hours time. Any time I do one of those I need to go lay flat for most of the rest of the day, they can be physically exhausting (in a good way) from the quantity of food, really just could not envision continuing on with touristy stuff after eating at that level.

            Given you ambitious itinerary I would suggest a really good but not overly filling lunch at a place such as l'Angle du Faubourg, it is a not too far walk over from the Arc de Triomphe, the daily lunch formula is always tasty, not overly filling, and well priced for a one star at 38e, plenty of good wines by the glass, although there are no choices per course for this daily changing lunch menu. http://www.taillevent.com/angledufaub...

            You could also have good, not overly filling lunch at either Fables de la Fontaine or Violon d'Ingres in the 7th and they are easy walking distance to the Eiffel Tower.
            http://www.leviolondingres.com/eng_ho...

            Your dinner is likely to be a problem depending on the time your train leaves. You know they eat late in France and the Gare du Nord is not in the best part of town. If your train leaves at midnight, sure you can work in a good dinner anywhere in town and make your train, if it leaves at 7 or 8 that big brasserie (cant remember the name) across the street from the train station may be your best choice.

            3 Replies
            1. re: f2dat06

              Lines at major attractions can be brutal. You might do well buying the 2 day Musee Passes for 32E each. Yes, this is expensive, but the passes take you to the front of every line. We buy the six day pass on each visit and view the cost as a luxury tax.

              I'm also big on wholewheat's suggestion of eating light from a monoprix. bakery, etc, and sitting down somewhere to enjoy the crowds and just being in Paris. f2dat06's suggestions are good, too.

              1. re: hychka

                The last time I was in Paris was in late Sept 2008, for a one-day stopover. My husband had never been to Paris so we tried to hit a few highlights before heading to Spain. The line at the Eiffel Tower was brutal - about 3 hours on the ground just to get on the first set of elevators.

                My best Paris tip: skip this line altogether and go into the (usually very short) line to walk to the second floor. It's a pretty good climb on stairs for 10 minutes or so, but we actually welcomed a little exercise. The trick is that most visitors don't realize that once you are on the second floor, you can actually buy elevator tickets to the top (you don't just top out on the 2nd floor). The ticket line on the 2nd floor is much shorter and we only waited about 10 minutes. Good luck!

              2. re: f2dat06

                I've spent the better part of the last 22 years of my life in Paris and have never gone up the Tour.

                I miss BK in Paris too.

              3. Let me come back to your initial plan.
                How about a quick lunch at a wine bar or Oyster place after the Louvre, like
                L'Ecume Saint-Honore
                6 rue du Marche Saint Honore, 1st (Metro: Tuileries)
                T : 01.42.61..93.87
                Open Tuesday through Friday 8:30 A.M. to 2 P.M. and 4 to 7:30 P.M.; Saturday from 8:30 A.M. to 7:30 P.M.; Sunday from 9 A.M. to 1 P.M.
                Cost depends on the number and size of oysters.

                And for dinner near the Eurostar I'd go with
                Chez Michel or its younger sib chez Casimir which I'd had mixed luck at but Alexander Lobrano indicates is back on top:
                Chez Michel
                10 rue de Belzunce, 10th (Metro : Gare du Nord)
                T : 01 44 53 06 20
                Closed Sunday, Monday and all of August.
                About 30 € a la carte

                John Talbott's Paris

                1 Reply
                1. re: John Talbott

                  The only thing is, John, that a "quick lunch" is probably the WRONG way to do a one-day 1st time to Paris. I agree with one of the posters that the OP should pick a very SMALL area, and just slowly walk around and absorb. And, since you're in the gastronomic capital of the world, take a long, SLOW lunch.

                2. Have you thought of lunch at the Jules Verne (Tour Eiffel). By passes the queue as the restaurant has its own private lift, and the menu at lunchtime is very good and reasonably priced.

                  1. Kbaick...having thought about your situation for a while now and just re-reading this entire thread again, I like your original plan plus reservations at Jules Verne on the Tour Eiffel (no lines, great view, on your original route, not top drawer, but very good food)...someone else made this suggestion, but I can't find it to give them proper credit. And, have a rain plan.