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May 1, 2011 04:02 PM

Last Trip Before Having Kids -- Would Love Your Help In Making It Special

Hi all,

My wife and I are planning a combo trip of sorts to Paris in May. We are celebrating our 5th wedding anniversary, and this is also our last hurrah, if you will, before having kids. We will be in Paris from Monday, 23 May to Sunday, 29 May. When we travel, we focus on food and wine. Everything else is merely to fill time between great meals :) We would love to get your help in picking out the places we eat.

We're not too worried about breakfast as we've found some great lists of pastry shops and bakeries (including souphie's great Google Map!!!).

Our current reservations are:

- 7eme Vin for dinner
- Paul Chene for dinner
- Spring for dinner

That's clearly not enough to fill 6 days. We won't want both lunch and dinner reservations on each day, as we still need to be able to walk after the trip! But, we'd like to get as much booked as possible.

Before the two questions, a bit about us: While price is not a huge issue, we would prefer not to consistently dine at 150+ Euro per person places. We're very informal folks in that we may get dressed up for dinner once or twice on a vacation, otherwise we prefer to dress casual while dining. We are also looking for a good variety of places representative of the various French regional cuisines. Our hotel is at the top of 15e, near 7e.

Two topics on which we'd love your expert feedback on:

1) Any thoughts on our current reservations? Paul Chene is very popular on TripAdvisor, but I do not see any real feedback on it in my searching through the Chowhound forums (and I've done tons of searching on this forum!).

2) We are considering booking perhaps 3-5 of the following places, and we would love to hear your thoughts on which you might choose from this list given the description of ourselves above:
- L'Atelier du Parc
- L'Atelier du Joel Robuchon (Saint Germain)
- Guy Savoy
- Frenchie (been calling two weeks straight to no avail :( )
- Chez L'Ami Jean (seems great, but being elbow to elbow is not too appealing)
- Le Chateaubriand
- La Petite Chais
- Ze Kitchen Galerie
- Passage 53
- L'Epigramme
- Cocottes by christian constant
- Afaria
- L’Epicuriste
- Le Grand Pan
- Le Troquet
- Le Cinq
- Aux Lyonnais

Thanks in advance for any and all help you can provide. This board is fantastic!!!

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  1. After having read through hundreds and hundreds of threads on this forum, it seems that a common complaint of those giving advice on restaurants is that the folks seeking advice take from the forum, but do not give back. I realize that my post seeking advice seems like that type of scenario.

    I can only think of one way to give back, and that is to do an extensive trip report when I get back home. I fully intend to do so, and I hope that is enough. We respect the opinions of the folks on this board very much, and would love to hear from you knowing we will give back as much as we can after our trip. Thanks!

    2 Replies
    1. re: paris_nowthenlater

      Since you've read through hundreds of threads on this forum and many places on your lists have been discussed often and in details on this forum, you should have a good idea if these places fit what you are looking for. Restaurants such as L'Atelier du JR, Guy Savoy, Frenchie, CAJ, Le Chateaubriand, Ze, Passage 53, Cocotte, Le Gran Pan and Le Cinq are some of the most popular restaurants on this board. I doubt you will get any additional information or you will get the same affirmation from the regular posters. Frequently, regular posters feel that their keep regurgitate the same names over and over again. If you can narrow down your list to those places that have not been discussed much, you'll definitely get some good feedback.

      1. re: PBSF

        First, thank you very much for taking the time to respond. I understand everyone is busy with their lives, and they volunteer their time to help folks on this board.

        I understand your points. I did actually read hundreds and hundreds of threads on the forum, not sure if you're implying I did not. I also did tons of searching throughout this forum... yes, I weighed the searches, and it was literally metric tons of searches :).

        I understand that some, or most, of these restaurants have been discussed quite a bit, but not all of the restaurants have been. And furthermore, just because a restaurant has been discussed, say, 1000 times, those discussions occur over quite a number of years, and restaurants change in quality over time. Menus grow stale, chefs leave, etc. Gauging the opinion of experts "a la minute", as opposed to collecting past thoughts, is something I find very useful. A restaurant opinion is formed based upon a snapshot in time, or multiple snapshots in time, but always some discrete number of snapshots in time.

        While I admit my post is long, I do ask for feedback on Paul Chene stating that I had done searches on Chowhound and TripAdvisor and I did not see any responses about that restaurant on this board. Any thoughts on Paul Chene? Or 7eme vin? Or L'Atelier du Parc?

    2. Just a quick note. You should not think of this as your "last hurrah". You truly will be able to enjoy good food after having kids! Don't dummy down the menu because of the little ones. They will appreciate good food as you do as long as they are exposed! Enjoy your trip. And, most important, enjoy the kids when they arrive!!

      2 Replies
      1. re: rjlebed

        Thanks for the encouragement! Perhaps last hurrah is poor wording. Let's put it this way, we won't be travelling overseas for the next few years, and will focus our gastronomic adventures within the US :)

        1. re: paris_nowthenlater

          we started traveling internationally with ours at 18 have to *adjust*, but you don't have to stop traveling the world.

      2. This is too funny. I can't offer any advice but your thread for me could not be more timely. My wife and I are also celebrating our fifth this year and we are also going to France (Paris and Montpelier) at the end of May and beginning of June for one last trip before starting our family. Some of the restaurants you listed are also on our list so I can't wait to read the advice. We might make a small stop in Bray if I can get into the Fat Duck :p

        2 Replies
        1. re: nextguy

          nextguy, that is an amazing coincidence. I'd love to hear what restaurants are on your list that are not on ours.

          1. re: paris_nowthenlater

            Us, too! We're currently in Paris for our baby moon and five year anniversary. Our french friends balked when we told them that this would be our last major international trip before having little ones. Maybe it's an american thing to "settle down" once kids come into the picture. That, and a mortgage.

        2. I'll reply, though I'm a bit repetitive. I am a fan of Passage 53. I've been there 3 times, and plan a return in July. It's modern in cuisine and atmosphere. The preparation is elegant and perfect, and most of all delicious. There is one menu of 8 or so courses, each quite small, but each most perfect. The service is also lovely. I think it's about 85 or 90 euros a person. I also am a fan of Frenchie, and have eaten there many times, and plan to return in July. For the price, I think it's a good place. Here, it's a three course menu, with two choices per course, prepared in style that is a bit modern but somewhat classic. I have been to Spring twice, and plan to return in July. Again, for dinner, it's a set menu without choice. I would say that it's style is somewhere in between Passage 53 and Frenchie. Daniel Rose is a fabulous host and the cuisine is excellent. Ze Kitchen Galerie is not my favorite. The cuisine is quite good, but I no longer prefer such a heavy Asian influence. Cocottes is fine. It's fun, but the food is not very special. For that type of meal in that neighborhood, I prefer Cafe Constant. I have not been to anywhere else on your list. To add, though, for my July holiday, in addition to Passage 53, Frenchie and Spring, I also plan to have dinner at Saturne, Kei, and, maybe, Jean Francois Piege. For other eats, I frequent boulangeries, patisseries and fromageries. And, ice cream, especially for Bac a Glace and Martine Lambert.

          6 Replies
          1. re: Nancy S.

            Your do's and don'ts sound just like mine ! Do you read my mind?

            1. re: Nancy S.

              Nancy, thanks so much for your response! Very helpful indeed.

              Based on your ordering in your response, would you say that Passage 53 is your favorite of the places you listed?

              Also, would you say that these places are fairly casual, or do they require some fancy attire? (I realize that a lot of folks enjoy dressing up for dinner, and some think it a shame to not dress up, but I'm just not one of those people)

              I will search around about Saturna, Kei, and JFP to see what's been said about them.

              Thanks again!

              1. re: paris_nowthenlater

                Could you specify your concept of dressing up and not dressing up. The concept varies a great deal from place to place. Those restos are casual chic. The best is for you to google images of those restaurants. Try to look as nice as your environment.

                1. re: Parigi

                  Whoops, totally forgot that. By casual I mean jeans, nice shoes, polo shirt and a sport jacket.

                  1. re: paris_nowthenlater

                    Jeans are seen. I wear them too but not to a nice resto. Definitely not for dinner. The casual chic wear for men is a nice shirt, often untucked. As I explained, look at a photo of the resto. If it looks nice to you, do you really want to drag the place down with the way you dress?

                2. re: paris_nowthenlater

                  I agree with Parigi that the places I mentioned are casual chic. My normal wardrobe is in this style, same for my husband. Personally, I wouldn't wear jeans to dinner, nor would my husband. I think it's a great suggestion to look at photos of the restaurant to gauge the style.

                  With regard to Kei and Saturne, I am thinking that both will be in the style of Passage 53, which is my preference (especially after just having experienced the great cuisine of Copenhagen -- I seek out this modern approach).

              2. Hi,

                If you like good food&wine and want to do something more casual for lunch, I would suggest you try "Le Rallye Péret". They have a cellar just next to the restaurant, and thus have a wide selection of wines. They cook only with fresh products of "terroir" and service is good. It is not an upscale parisian restaurant with very sophisticated gastronomie, but you will find very traditionnal and good food (typical French dishes of the Auvergne region and generous salads) at an affordable price (salads and dishes are around 16-25€).
                When the weather is nice, and I think in May it will, you can sit at the terrace on the lively (especially on Saturday) rue Daguerre (pedestrians only street). They are located in the 14th arrondissement, next to "Denfert-Rochereau" subway station. After lunch you can walk in the neighborhood (Parc Monsouris is a short walk from there).
                I used to live in the neighborhood and I have never been disappointed neither with the food nor the service.

                As a gourmet, I usually ordered the "cafe gourmand" for desert (coffee or tea served with a selection of mini-deserts)!
                Better to book in advance.
                Let me know what you thinked about it if you go there!

                2 Replies
                1. re: Perrine


                  Thanks for the response! I had not heard of this place before, but I will not definitely check it out. This is exactly why I posted on ChowHound!