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Apr 5, 2011 04:02 PM

Paris restaurant - special occasion with 11 year old


Will be visiting Paris with my 11 year old son in late April (Easter) and was wondering if anyone could recommend a restaurant that will give him the quintessential Parisian dining experience - at least as seen through the eyes of an 11 year old. (When I asked him what he would like to do in Paris he named two things: see the Eiffel Tower and eat in a "nice" French restaurant.) Last time I was in Paris I was a starving student so I have no idea where to begin. I have been reading the posts on this site, but not sure what would be appropriate for a child. He is an adventurous eater and well-behaved. He is obsessed with Michelin stars. (Too $$$, I think!) I think we can do just as well by asking here.

Looking for great food, a very "French" atmosphere and if possible in the 8th arrondisement. We can travel if need be. Just worried about being exhausted in the evenings. We are coming from the West Coast. Budget of about 100 euros (he won't be drinking!) I am also a little worried about what will/will not be open Easter weekend. We arrive on a Thursday and Sunday is Easter. Should we try for dinner on Friday or Saturday?

Thank you for helping with this most important part of our trip!

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  1. If l were an 11 YO foodie, l would be blown away by the bargain lunch at Le Cinq. Beautiful, very roomy, proper but very friendly service, and very good food. It would be a great memory, as my trips are there. Twice l saw children having a wonderful time.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Delucacheesemonger

      Lunch is a brilliant idea! Why didn't I think of that? Looking at old posts regarding lunch at Le Cinq, it says that there is a 90 euro menu and a 130 menu. Sorry, I meant 100 euro budget for two. Any suggestions along that line?

      1. re: khor1

        Hate to be an elitist. If 90 it is, do it. The memory will last a lifetime, when the money is long forgotten. There are a zillion less expensive restaurants in Paris but when l got old and remembered how my elderly mother stretched a bit for lunch for me when l was little, maybe it will not be too difficult to take care of her instead of putting her in a home.

        1. re: Delucacheesemonger

          Indelicately put, but I'm with you. As a (relatively) improverished student in the early nineties, I still made a habit to come to London 2 or 3 times a year and eat a wonderful, blow-out meal with my (relatively affluent) best friend. To afford this, I would have to scrimp and save for the couple of months before the meal -- but strangely enough, I don't remember the hassles of not buying that CV or eating that McDonalds, but I do remember those glorious meals!

          I'm not judging what is and isn't appropriate for your budget, but if this was one of two priorities for your son, go for it -- you can even frame it in what would he be willing to forgo for this fantastic experience -- will teach him the value of money to boot.


          1. re: Delucacheesemonger

            Never wrote back, but I splurged for Le Cinq and it was wonderful! Would do it again in a heartbeat. Thank you for urging me to do so. Don't even miss those euros!

            1. re: khor1

              A round of applause for you and your son. It's a memory he will have forever. My son still remembers his first fine dining experience. It's almost a mystical memory to him even though he is a jaded teen now. Bravo.

      2. DCM and trublue are right. Lunch at a top place like Le Cinq is what your kid is dreaming about, and it's excellent value. For 50€pp, you can eat at the basic bistrots, or at some of the fashionable modern cuisine places like Le Chateaubriand, but I don't think this is quintessential Paris for an inexperienced diner (or even for an experienced one).

        There was a way with the Robuchon 60€ lunch deal, but it disappeared when he moved La Table to L'Atelier Etoile.

        Still, there's 65€ lunch deal at La Tour d'Argent (but it's not that good), 50€ at Relais Louis XIII (but it's old and deserted), 60€ at Le Paris, 58 at Carré des Feuillants (maybe a great option), 68 at les Ambassadeurs, 49€ at Passiflore.

        However, None of those will be open on sunday (except Tour d'Argent), and I'm not sure about the whole easter weekend business.

        No, really, le Cinq is your best shot.

        1 Reply
        1. re: souphie

          If budget really is an issue -- I think Tour d'Argent is still very special, especially for a one-off (not someone who dines in michelin restaurants regularly). Not sure if the pressed duck is available on the set-price lunch, but it's a classic, and certainly when I went (about 9 years ago -- I wasn't a boy, but still), the view, the sense of history (almost all visiting heads of state to Paris have eaten there), the ridiculous but extravagant lift taking you to the dining room and the card gimmick with your individual, numbered duck on it all add to a memorable experience. Would I go back -- no -- because I've ticked that box, and would like to spend my meagre funds at new places (I wouldn't go back to many more wonderful places for the same reason). Have I related the story of my meal there countless times -- yes.

          I've not dined at the Crillion, but that's probably pretty special too, and the price is nearer what the OP wanted.


        2. I'm with everybody else :)

          I have two daughters who I have dragged (well one I have to drag, the other is comes willingly) around the globe and "special" meals have been a large part of the equation. My budget has varied dramatically due to divorce.

          Last year in Italy, I took just my younger daughter for a week away at this time. We ate at bakeries (OMG the bread!!) and wine bars for most of the meals of our trip. There were times when i would have a glass of wine for 1 Euro and a panini for 2 Euros and that was more or less a meal.

          Except for Saturday lunch before Easter. I, of course, forgot to book a table and begged in my best Italian (which is actually still pretty good) to eat at a fabulous seafood restaurant once a table was free.

          We were leaving the next day and I counted up all the Euros I had left leaving just enough to get us to the airport. We blew it all on a fantastic meal - langoustines, grilled sardines, vongole, crab, baby shrimp over polenta and wine for me.

          I find it a much better value to "eat cheap" and "splurge" than to eat "medium" for more meals. Just my personal experience. Most likely many meals at an "average" restaurant would cost 20 Euros pp at least. If you skip a couple and have a fabulous baguette for lunch you will save the required Euros to splurge on a michelin meal :)

          I also take advantage of these moments with my children to discuss the relative costs of things and say are you willing to forego "x" so we can save up to do "y". A great teaching opportunity.

          We still are talking about that meal a year later!

          1. Looks like it is unanimous! Thank you all.

            May I bother you with two more quick questions? Can I have the concierge at my hotel make reservations when we arrive in Paris, or do I need to call ahead ASAP? Also, should my son pack a jacket, or can an 11-year-old get by with dress pants and a shirt?

            4 Replies
            1. re: khor1

              I don't know about the outfit, I have daughters :)
              If you know what you want to do I'd book it, but that is just me.
              Lunch sounds like good plan for you guys as you'd get the "bargain" menus and not have to worry about being exhausted. It also becomes the "focus" of the day making it somehow "more" special.
              Have fun

              1. re: khor1

                Sunday lunch two weeks from now? Reserve NOW!

                The jacket can probably be dispensed with -- usually Le Cinq has jackets for people who don't have one with them. Not sure if they do kids size (or if your kid needs it). Why not ask when you call in five minutes? They speak English.

                1. re: khor1

                  Regardless of whether he can "get by" without the jacket, unless space in your luggage is really at a premium, bring the jacket. From travelilng with my son when he was that age, I can tell you that you will be treated extraordinarily well if your young man is wearing a jacket -- everyone will beam at him and fall over themselves to treat you well (not saying that they would not treat you well anyway).

                  1. re: masha

                    I know! They are so handsome when they are all dressed up! Thanks!

                2. i highly recommend Monsieur Lapin for this occassion (provided that he likes rabbit -- there are very yummy non-rabbit dishes on the menu, and a very very yummy small-but-well-chosen cheese selection, getting at least one rabbit dish would be advised)...and the vibe has i think just the right mix of French formality w/ a soupcon of lapin-themed whimsy...i thought the lunch deal was extremely reasonable too, given the quality of the food (the oyster mille-feuille starter was amazing)...

                  according to website, the lunch menu is a shockingly cheap 38 euros...