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Nov 9, 2010 08:53 PM

Clueless In France over Xmas and NYE

Hi all,

My first post on Chowhound and boy do I need help.
My wife and i are planning to visit France from 24dec to 3 Jan for a European style Holiday season.
I have been reading some guide books/ websites and came up with the below schedule

24-26 Strasbourg
27-28 Metz
29 Reims
30-2 Paris

I thought i was set but after reading the board, i am worried.
Firstly we both love our food and it seems many places will be closed so what do we do?
i don't really want to be constantly eating from hotel restaurant. I am especially concerned about this in Metz and Reims. I am not worried about Paris cos there are so many great post from everyone to suggest meals around NYE period.

i know this is not food, but can someone tell me, are the shops/museum/sites open during this period? We have been to paris many times so we don't need to visit the musems and sites. we can just enjoy the city. But what to do in strasbourg? Read that xmas market will be great but then what? it really does not help that Xmas falls on a weekend this year. So should we actually stay shorter?

As you can see my original plan was to work from east back to paris, now i dunno what to do
any suggestions? we are flexible



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  1. remind yourself that hotel food in Europe is generally better than hotel food in the US, maybe not stellar, but you are allowed to ask around. Bon Annee! (sp?)

    3 Replies
    1. re: hill food

      there might be *fewer* places open on Christmas and New Year's Day, but local people eat, too, and all of the cities in your itinerary will have *something* open, particularly since the 26th to the 30th are just ordinary days, not holidays.

      1. re: hill food

        Especially when you're at The George V or Le Maurice.

        I'd take McDonalds over any Ibis hotel in Paris.

        1. re: Busk

          well duh! (heh) actually about 15 years ago I was there at that time of year and had few problems. and the bars are especially lively and friendly.

        1. re: Parigi

          Been visiting Paris for the Hols for 6 years now. As far as closings, I think Christmas Eve is most difficult, but not impossible. Big Brasseries tend to be open. Ate at Rotisserie de Beaujolais last year. It changes from year to year with the smaller places. Many place will be closed for the duration, but with planning you'll be fine. Several post here on Chowhound about both Christmas and NYE. As far as your time outside of Paris - maybe a query to the regional tourism office. They're pretty easy to find online. Bon Chance et Bonne Fetes

          1. re: Gman

            This. Paris has nearly become like a major US city as far as stuff staying open on Sundays and holidays. Some small places are closed because the owners have gone skiing, but many are open. The Richard Lenoir fishmonger and a few other stalls are usually open for Christmas Eve, Christmas, NYE and New Years plus any regular Thursdays and Sundays in between. I think they do 25% of the years business that week.

            1. re: Busk

              is there such a thing as an oyster bar that would be open NYE?

              also, does le chateaubriand do NYE? or do they have a website?

              1. re: monpetitescargot

                You have to call them.

                I'd bet you'd find a place with a decent or passable raw bar open, especially around Les Halles.

        2. This is a really stupid suggestion, but I would write/email/fax each hotel on my route and request that they supply a list of possible dining rooms that 1) they recommend and 2) are open during your stay.

          1. I would think differently about this. I would specifically look for charming places to stay one or two nights that were good for the hotel room, petit dejeuner and for dinner.

            In the winter with short daylight hours, and potentially icy weather, it is very appealing to be able to have a tasty beginning and end to the day without having to travel very far.

            2 Replies
            1. re: souvenir

              souvenir -- that's our approach. Outside Paris, we generally search for, and find, family-run hotels with good restaurants, and we love walking downstairs for dinner and breakfast. So pleasant and civilized. But I think this is easier done in the countryside than in even medium-sized cities such as the OP lists?

              1. re: Jake Dear

                Hi JD - Even in larger towns and cities, it is still my first approach. I use an assortment of resources gathered over the years, from friends to books to the internet. The last time I was in Alsace, I'm pretty sure we made Colmar our base, but it was five to seven years ago and would have to dig to remember the details. Metz was even longer ago, so that's why I described my strategy and how I would approach the eating out during the holidays challenge, rather than making specific recommendations.

                Chef June has made what sounds like a great rec for Reims. The only concern I'd have is that it might already be booked, or require more than a one night stay during that holiday week.

            2. Don't know where you are planning to stay in Reims, but I can't recommend Assiette Champenoise highly enough. Therooms are lovely and comfy, and the restaurant may be THE best one in France right now. (Forget that they "only" have 2 stars, this is SUBLIME fare.) And I can't say enough for the copious country breakfast they offer every morning in the "Breakfast Room."