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Reservations for Paris restos

I completely get that reservations are essential, and sometimes quite far in advance. This is tricky for someone who's not sure what she'll be doing from day to day (or what I'll feel like eating when hunger strikes in whatever neighbourhood I will find myself in on any given day)...that, and that I won't have access to a phone.

Any suggestions? Are there public phones in which one can use a phone card? I've heard so many people moaning about how difficult it is to get a reservation at certain restos, this is pretty disheartening for a visitor.

Any helpful suggestions are welcome!

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  1. There are public phones, but fewer and fewer. One of your best options is to buy a prepaid cell phone like the Bic ones. In general, reserving doesn't mean you can't call it off if you're not in the mood. And it's usually easy to get a last minute table, if it's not a friday or saturday night and if it's not Frenchie.

    1 Reply
    1. re: souphie

      If you use Verizon you can call them and get an international phone rental that uses your same cell #. I imagine the other carriers provide the same service.

    2. I have a cell that I can use in Europe so that makes it easier. Most places have someone who speaks English so that should not be an issue. We've been pretty lucky, we got into Frenchie the same day we called as well as 1 or 2 other places. The French restaurants aren't too up on using the internet for reservations even if they show it on their site. I have sees places that don't answer the web forms but when you call them, Yes, we have your reservation...go figure.

      6 Replies
      1. re: MOREKASHA

        Thanks to all of you! I don't have a Verizon but I will look into my options. My concern was lunch as dinner reservations are so easy to plan considering most places don't begin serving until 8pm...I'm going to be alone, so I prefer to eat out at lunch and make my dinner at my rental apt.

        Thanks, again!

        1. re: orangette

          Most places will have a lunch seat if you just show up early.

          1. re: souphie

            Indeed and many places have a bar seat (even Dominique Bouchet squeezed me in there) and Post Offices have phones that take cards altho' fewer and fewer take coins.

            1. re: John Talbott

              Thanks to all of you...It seems that buying temporary phones is a tricky business..most companies sell "locked" phones because they want you to use their sim card and unlocked phones end up costing a lot, too. I don't want to have to lug my laptop (some people use skype as a phone method) just to make a couple of reservations!

              Agh!

              1. re: orangette

                For lunch, don't sweat it. As stated by an earlier poster, most places will have a lunch seat if you just show up early. Maybe not for CLJ or L'Astrance but even L'Ambroisie will have a table for you.

                1. re: orangette

                  You can buy a prepaid phone, with units, almost anywhere, for a few dozen euros.

        2. If you are staying in a hotel, your deskclerk will call to make any reservation you request. At worst, you could call yourself from your room telephone. If you are staying in an apartment, most include use of a phone for local calls. Other than that, you can pick up a phone card (starting at 5€ denomination) at a tabac and call from a public phone at a post office or from a street phonebooth.

          We have never not found a public telephone within 5 minutes when we have needed one. You can live well in France without a cel.