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May 29, 2010 07:28 PM

Paris with 8 and 12 yr. old-we're foodies, they don't like long meals!

My family of four is heading to France for a three week trip. We'll have just four nights in Paris. I have researched the site quite extensively and am still a bit confused, so many wonderful choices. I have spent a great deal of time there, but not my kids, first time. My husband and I love a fabulous, long meal, but honestly not with the kids. We'll probably do one or two of those. Any suggestions on amazing dinners and lunches that will not break the bank, but authentic, innovative and still quick enough that the kids will enjoy as well? Thoughts I have so far...Frenchie, Le Regalade, West Country Girl, Le Bistrot Vivienne, Oscar, L'absinthe, Bistrot d'a Cote Flaubert, Glou,L'Armotik, Le Bouchon, Chez Grenouille, Le P'tit Caillou...for one nicer meal, likely L'atelier du Joel Robuchon...I've obviously listed the gamut(for lunches, dinners,etc....If anyone has any comments on the long(sorry) list above, or some MUST DO's-and I'm not concerned about location, as food really drives our travel itinerary. Thanks a lot! Oh, and also any thoughts on just a quick sit down, or pick up and walk around or picnic kind of place-think INO in Florence.. Thoughts?

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  1. I would counsel against L'absinthe & Glou and have not been to West Country Girl & Oscar. That said my list rank ordered of your suggestions would be:
    L'atelier du Joel Robuchon...
    Bouchon ( I assume & Assiette)
    Chez Grenouille
    Le P'tit Caillou
    And others I would suggest of the same-sounding sort (in partial historical order):
    Cafe Cartouche
    Petits Plats

    3 Replies
    1. re: John Talbott

      Thank you John for your great I'm sure you can tell, many of my top choices came from your blog! Eager to look at Afaria, as I continue to read about that one. I appreciate your help!

      1. re: John Talbott

        Do you have any thoughts on a good spot for dinner near and or in the 6th, that might be less touristy and pricey now than Le Comptoir, but still great food? Also, any thoughts on Le Vieux Chene?

        1. re: matthunt

          Well, haven't been to Vieux Chene in years but how about:
          5.8 Le Restaurant, 42-44 rue d'Assas in the 6th,, closed Saturday lunch and Sunday night, has a lunch menu at 18 and a la carte 30-35 €.
          6.5 Le Bistrot de l'Alycastre, 2, rue Clément in the 6th,, is open everyday, 44-55€
          7.0 KGB was 87.70 E last time for 2
          5.5 Les Terrines de Gérard Vié, 79, rue du Cherche Midi in the 6th,, closed Sundays and Mondays, serving a formula of two dishes plus wine at lunch for 24 and 30 €

      2. In order for you and your husband to enjoy several leisurely and stressless dinners, your concierge might well be able to find you a bonded sitter/companion who could take the children to a simple dinner and an English language movie. Cost = sitter + dinners+ movie+ cabs. Not a bad exchange.

        1. I have been to most of the restos you cited. (You meant l'Aromatik, I assume;) I have not heard of Le Bistrot Vivienne, Oscar, Bistrot d'a Cote Flaubert, Glou.
          For the restaurants you cited, as for most restaurants, count on a 3-course meal to last 2 hours; that is considered efficient service, with no unduly long wait between courses. For a dinner, Parisians often like a leisurely pace which stretches to 2 hours and a half.
          Once Chez L'Ami Jean, as we were being seated, the maître D told us that he needed to close the restaurant (for a private party for the Basque rugby team's do) 2 hours 15 minutes after we sat down, and he was abjectly apologetic. -- And many on this board have complained about being rushed by CAJ, although I didn't feel rushed really.
          it is rare that a resto would shorten a dinner time to less than 2 hours. Even if you ask, they are very unhappy; it is as though asking them to produce deliberately bad food.
          In my limited experience, only brasseries at or near train stations - like Le Train Bleu and Terminus du Nord - would happily rush a meal for you. They have standard brasserie food. They are also not cheap considering.

          I forgot whether it was John or Soup who once said it was not a matter whether your children could handle a real restaurant meal, but whether the parents could handle a restaurant meal with children. Meaning: do you have enough books and things and amusing plans prepared for them? No one sudendly one day at 13 or 15 or 16 take a Kierkegaardian leap and become a well composed diner overnight. We all learned from our parents. As I remember, the learning process was not torture but was gobs of fun and brought us together.

          If you are not ready to start this, then I agree with Mangeur that the solution may be to get a sitter, instead of having an uncomfortable dinner for everyone.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Parigi

            "For the restaurants you cited, as for most restaurants, count on a 3-course meal to last 2 hours; that is considered efficient service, with no unduly long wait between courses. For a dinner, Parisians often like a leisurely pace which stretches to 2 hours and a half."

            The exception to this rule are places at lunch in the midst of business areas where you'll see folks come in for the plat du jour or a formule (2 courses) or even three on a "menu" and get in and out in 59 minutes.

            1. re: John Talbott

              With the kids along, L'Ardoise, 12 rue du Mont Thabor, should work. They were one of the first to opt for multiple turns at both lunch and dinner. No longer a "Bib Gourmand" bistro, due to price increases, food quality is still high.

          2. As usual, John Talbott's comments are wonderful and you'll love what he suggests.

            But, the grandfather in me is making me post this comment...

            Remember that your 8 & 12 yearolds may NEVER go to Paris's possible.

            So, reserve at least one meal that would be very special for them, even if you two "foodies" have to sacrifice some "perfect food experience" and let the kids have something they will remember FOREVER.

            Jules Verne has pretty good food, but getting into the place is a thrill in itself.

            Au Pied de Cochon is a chain and the food isn't grand, but the place is in movies and TV shows.

            A picnic on Pont des Arts involves some work on your part, but the kids might actually like the food they picked out in the market...bring along a lock for them to place in the fence and they can return to see it in the years to come.

            Each year as we return to Paris we think of places we would take our grandchildren and dream of them having a good time.