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Proposal Lunch/Dinner in Paris

Hi all,

I'll be travelling to Paris in June 2011 with the view to making a surprise proposal to my partner.

As such, I'm looking for help with two restaurant suggestions as outlined below.

First, I am looking at a haute cuisine lunch at one of the restaurants below. I've done quite a bit of digging around and the list is based on a balance of budget and reviews.

In terms of my 'criteria', I'm looking at the 'total experience' as opposed to just the food itself. Obviously wanting to have an amazing meal, but also looking for sense of something special if that helps.

My shortlist:-

1. Le Cinq
2. Taillevent
3. Le Grand Vefour
4. Guy Savoy
5. Le Meurice
6. Le Pre Catelan
7. Le Bristol
8. L'Ambroisie
9. Lasserre
10. La Tour D'Argent

Second, I'm looking for something much more low key, intimate, romantic and authentically Parisian for later in the evening. Preferably somewhere with a nice setting where we can enjoy some celebratory drinks (if all goes to plan) and some light eating if we have room!

Many thanks for your assistance in advance - much appreciated!

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  1. Personally I would delay the proposal until you are at the intimate place because your partner will zone out after you pop the question and miss the spectaclur dinner experience. Look at it as a warm up for the REAL big event.

    1 Reply
    1. re: hychka

      Thanks for the reply. Just to confirm, the proposal will hopefully occur after lunch, but before dinner.

    2. The Bar Hemingway or Bar Vendome, at the Ritz, should work. Both offer limited menus.

      1 Reply
      1. For drinks only, I'm a fan of Paris's Experimental Cocktail Club (in the 2nd). Great lighting and seating, and excellent drinks.

          1. re: Diddylicious

            What day of the week, as some are not always open?

            1. re: hychka

              It would be a tuesday. Hope that isn't too restrictive!

              1. re: Diddylicious

                You're good.

                I'd go for Le Clinq because it's wonderful &a bargain in it's class.

          2. I would skip the Tour D'Argent and go for the Le Meurice or Cinq.

            7 Replies
            1. re: happytoo

              To be honest, those were my two first choices. Which would people recommend? thanks!

              1. re: Diddylicious

                I've been to Le Meurice once, Le Cinq three times. I prefer Le Cinq as I find the food lighter and more creative, although the jetset crowd and exquisite decor at Le Meurice were very seductive. Still, L'Ambroisie surpasses them both, although its decor and service are refined and elegant rather than showy and ebullient.

                1. re: Diddylicious

                  Le Cinq for the overall grand ambience

                  1. re: Diddylicious

                    I would do Le Cinq because the GV is my hang out bar. If you go to the bar, tell the guys that you are part of the martini club and they will be very accommodating. Not that they aren't to everyone. Tell them it is a special night and they will go overboard for you.

                  2. re: happytoo

                    Based solely on food yes, but the OP was into more than food. Tour D'Argent has possibly the best view in Paris and it has a really unique history. It would be great for a proposal set-up.

                    1. re: PhilD

                      Thanks heaps for all the replies.

                      After much deliberation, I've decided to go with Le Cinq for lunch and then Le Meurice later in the evening for a light meal and/or dessert depending on how we feel.


                      1. re: Diddylicious

                        Have you thought about maybe doing shellfish for your evening meal? Bit lighter, you can adjust the quantities depending on how hungry you are, and you could pick somewhere that allows you to feel as if you are in Paris ie a bit more outside.

                  3. As a rule, people who want to propose on a Paris trip and write to ask this board for advice never write back. Yet it is often a genre that gets many of us all excited making all kinds of suggestions from every angle.
                    Were they all turned down, and now they can't think of Paris and Chowhound without sobbing? Chowhound Howlhound?
                    What o what happened to all the proposers?

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: Parigi

                      Either they'are all so deliriously in love and frantic planning their weddings, or they're a bunch of ungrateful wretches. Or, perhaps, a bit of each?

                      1. re: Parigi

                        As someone who only 'sort of' proposed to my now wife in a rather unplanned way, and the only vaguely tasty thing with which to celebrate was some haagen-dasz in the freezer -- I can't say what a 'grand proposal' is like. However, my feeling is that the occasion, if really for the right reasons, vastly overshadows even the most exquisite meal, so perhaps posters can't recall too many details to post about afterwards.


                        1. re: Parigi

                          Once I've had the pleasure of experiencing some of the places recommended to me, I'll certainly be looking to return the favour.

                          Unfortunately I simply don't have the knowledge to be able to meaningfully contribute at this time, which is pretty much why I posted here in the first place.

                          1. re: Diddylicious

                            Such a request is always very inspiring and heart-warming, and everyone likes to help.
                            The regulars have been talking about several proposal dinner threads dating from at least a year ago, not about you. Good luck to you. We all hope everything works out.

                            1. re: Parigi

                              Only a few more weeks to go so fingers crossed! ;-)

                        2. for the lowkey light evening meal, if you like oysters, consider Huitrerie Regis -- it's strictly raw oysters, wine, sea urchin, and tarte tatin in a tiny jewel box of a white room...(but also check their website as they close for much of the summer, but might still be open in June)...

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Simon

                            I'm a little behind here, but I would recommend Le Cinq for a fantastic lunch and the "total experience" you are looking for. My husband and I loved it in during our March trip this year, the service was great and the food was pretty incredible. Pricey, of course, but the lunch fixed menu was MORE than enough food and definitely more reasonable.

                            I'd also like to recommend Au Vieux Comptoir in the 1st arr. off of Rue de Rivoli. It's an intimate, lovely bistro with very yummy food (good/reasonably priced wine selection, foie gras appetizer, to die for beef bourguignon and I had a great fish dish, and wonderful chocolate brownie dessert). We sat for over two hours enjoying the experience, so I had to throw in my 2 cents.

                            Good luck!