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Jan 2, 2011 08:17 AM

Reims and Paris for a Week

We starting a vacation in mid-September in Northern Germany (Sat - Tue), driving to Reims (Tue - Thu) and continuing in Paris (Thu - Tue). I am working to draft our daily schedules so I can start making reservations where available. The following are my current plans for dining while we are in France:

Tuesday Dinner: Restaurant Le Parc (Reims)
Wednesday Dinner: Au Petit Comptoir (Reims)
Thursday Dinner: Les Cocottes or Café Constant or Le Violon d'Ingres
Friday Lunch: Spring
Friday Dinner: Aux Lyonnais or L'Ami Jean or L'Ami Louis
Saturday Lunch: A la Cote Bretonne (While touring Versailles)
Saturday Dinner: Le Cinq
Sunday Brunch: TBD (Probably Le Cinq)
Sunday Dinner: Hidden Kitchen
Monday Lunch: L’Atlas
Monday Dinner: Chez Dumonet -Josephine

Because my wife is somewhat traditional about dining preferences (sort of a meat and potatoes girl), I more likely prefer to have a la carte options than only prix fixe. At the same time, she could be happy just eating bread, cheese and red wine for every meal I think if needed. I mostly want to find comfortable, fun places while enjoying this wonderful opportunity to try some of the finest food and restaurants in the world.

I'd much enjoy your advice, critique or reassurance about my draft dining plan above. I would especially appreciate input about the choices I'm debating between for Thursday and Friday dinners. Also, how soon in advance should we actually start to make our dining reservations?

Your thoughts are MUCH appreciated. Merci in advance!

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  1. All your Paris choices are good.
    I would recommend that you pace better. For example, your Monday meals are a calvaire ! How can anyone have a hearty couscous then do CDJ a few hours later?
    Ditto Friday.
    Believe me. If you do half of what you plan for those days, you will enjoy more, not less.

    10 Replies
    1. re: Parigi

      Agreed. This is too much. And leaving a little time for the unforeseen or for exercising your sixth sense is also not bad.
      I would probably not come out alive of such a program. After lunch at L'Atlas there is no way I'm going to dine at Dumonet's unless I've purchased a spare stomach.

      1. re: Ptipois

        Your points are well taken and I do want to avoid becoming the proverbial "kid in a candy store" who ends up with only a belly ache to show for his opportunity. For any day when I have two restaurant meals planned, my plan was that we would take it relatively easy for either our lunch and/or dinner to experience more but without abusing ourselves. Would the restaurants I've selected be upset if we only enjoyed a one or two course meal to allow us to accomplish the above plan?

        Also, I am a fairly big man (188 cm, 89 kg) and I generally do eat two both lunch and dinner each day. But agreed, I don't try and do two 10 course meals with wine - and I wouldn't ever try to do that in Paris either.

        1. re: Traveling Boudreaux

          One just can't go light in some of the restos you have chosen: like a couscous at L'Atlas, or a dégustation meal at Spring or Le Cinq or either of the Ami places, or any way you do it at Dumonet chez Joséphine. And if you do manage to go light at, chez DCJ, or just have a starter and nothing else chez Spring, then you are not doing justice to the place.
          Normal size people - of which I guess I am one - also have two meals a day. Believe me that in my suggestions I am only thinking of enjoyment and not not of dieting, ever.

          1. re: Traveling Boudreaux

            One doesn't have to order the super-multi-course tasting menu to enjoy a gifted chef's talents. For instance, at Assiette Champenoise, a three-course dinner is quite sufficient, without stuffing the diner, but the chef gets to show off plenty!

            1. re: ChefJune

              I was assuming the same thing when I assumed that an ordinary appetite would easily desire both a lunch and dinner. But I do have tremendous respect for advice from knowledgable advisers who suggest that I limit myself to only one restaurant meal per day in Paris or suffer overload.

              1. re: Traveling Boudreaux

                ChefJune is right. For certain restos that would not be a problem. It's just that for some of the restos on your otherwise very good list, I don't see how one can go light. Unless one can convince the chefs to make 3 courses in miniature sizes, one would be missing too much by limiting oneself to one main. And even if one were to limit oneself to one main at L'Atlas or DCJ, it is still not going to be light no way no how.

                1. re: Parigi

                  Understood and that makes perfect sense. Can you give me some examples of alternative restaurants not on my list that could be adequately enjoyed as a day's counter-meal (lunch or dinner) to L'Atlas, DCJ, Le Cinq or any other restaurant on my list? Thanks so much!

                  1. re: Traveling Boudreaux

                    You can choose (1) either lighter eateries, or (2) plan a day consisting of one hearty meal and a picnicky lunch on the Seine or in one of the beautiful hidden gardens in the Marais.
                    (1) Passage 53 and Frenchie are not bustgusters.
                    (2) Or, here I share your dilemma, you can have dinner at L'Ami Jean - could be a little tight-spaced for non-thin diners who are used to more space - preceded by a light lunch, which could be a falafel, or a barbecue pork banh mi (then picnic in the nearby secret delightful Jardin Anne Frank)

            2. re: Traveling Boudreaux

              Skipping dessert does make a difference and you can always do that. But at L'Atlas it would be a shame to miss the honeyed baghrir.

              1. re: Traveling Boudreaux

                My husband can eat two important meals a day, but I can only manage one, so we have to compromise on our trips to save my appetite for dinner.

          2. I don't know your Reims choices at all, but I think you'd be making a mistake to not include Assiette Champenoise in your dinner plans in Reims. It has 2 Michelin stars, but the chef, Armand Lallement, is perhaps the best chef in France right now. The room is beautiful, the food, divine, the service exemplary. And the prices in Reims for a 2-star are way lower than in Paris.

            2 Replies
            1. re: ChefJune

              Agreed. I don't think I've had a better meal in France, even in 3-star establishments. The 3-course lunch is (I think) still under 60 euros and is a real bargain (actually, each course consisted of more than one dish, so it was a tremendous amount and variety of food) . This is one place I think it would be a shame to miss.

              1. re: ChefJune

                I would much enjoy a chance to dine at Assiette Champenoise but we are only in Reims for Tuesday and Wednesday and they are closed both days. We are staying at Les Crayères so we want to eat there at Le Parc there one night and were seeking a casual bistro in Reims for dinner on the other night. I had read some good things about Au Petit Comptoir so that was our choice for now.

                But thanks much for the advice and it's a shame we can't make it work.

              2. At Versailles, I would just pick up sandwiches etc whilst walking to the Palais and have a picnic in the gardens whilst walking to the Trianon leaving you ready for the evening.