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Aug 4, 2011 10:04 AM

Christmas/New Year's in Paris

Hi, we will be in Paris the week of 26 December through 2 January in an apartment rented in the 7e on Rue de Grunelle. I know that we are many months away, I can't help starting the planning process now and we are looking for a good New Year's Eve option in Paris, as well as general restaurant recommendations. Though we are considering staying in on NYE (with wine, oysters, etc), we'd also like the option of a fantastic Parisian meal, but we'd like to avoid the typical US NYE meal (read: overpriced and bland). Where would be your ideal NYE destination in Paris?

Based on the general sentiment it seems that we would be remiss to not have lunch at Le Cinq. What are the other not-to-be-missed Parisian food experiences? This will not be purely a foodie trip, but we'd like to complement our trip with several memorable meals.

Lastly, we are considering a cooking class in Paris (perhaps combined with a market visit). Is this worthwhile or just a tourist trap? Is there any particular operator/host that you might recommend?

Many thanks!

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  1. do a search on this topic. NYE dinner in Paris restaurants is generally a rip off. Prices will be jacked up, the restaurants are all packed stretching the ability of both the kitchen and dining room staff to provide expected service levels, and since the restaurants are packed the menus offered will typically include a lot of stuff that can pretty much be prepared in advance. I have eaten out on NYE from the 2 star level on down, trying to save you from wasting a pile of cash.

    Since you have an apartment, stay in, or eat in and then go out and see the madness around the tour eiffel as midnight approaches, is a drunken orgy that is difficult to imagine until you see it.

    The cooking classes at Lenotre are good, half or full day depending on the topic. I took one on macarons a few weeks ago that was quite good.

    1. dat's advice is spot on.
      If you have a kitchen, don't subject yourselves to the eating-out hell of NYE. Go a day in advance to the market and get your supply of foie gras, smoked salmon, champagne, etc.. In fact, on 27th Dec, stake out a poissonnerie and order a seafood platter in advance. Tell the poissonnier how much quantity of oysters, crab, shrimp, sea snails, etc. (pointing out whatever that strikes your fancy there and which size) for a seafood platter to be picked up on new year's eve.
      The reason why I suggest that you go as soon as you arrive is because everyone in Paris is ordering an oyster platter from his market. You should order as early as possible. Going the 31st or the day before will be too late. The Poissonnier will throw up his hands and tell you to open the oysters yourself. It's not that they are being rude to you. They are simply overwhelmed.
      In truth, the 27th Dec is latish for this type of ordering, but not despairingly so yet. This seafood platter from your market will be just as fresh as any you will get in a good restaurant, except that you are paying a fraction of the price.
      The reason why I suggest you get all the shopping down by 30 Dec is because the 31st will be a mad house.
      Since you live i the Grenelle area, after your NYE dinner at home, why not bring your bottle of bubblies out and stroll to toast the NY in front of the Eiffel Tower.
      But don't, I repeat DON'T, go to the Champs.

      As for resto recommendations, could you tell us more what you like?

      8 Replies
      1. re: Parigi

        Thanks. I was initially leaning towards cooking in the apartment and wandering down to the Eiffel Tower around midnight. I will certainly avoid the Champs and stay closer to the Grenelle area. Any recommendations for a poissonnier near Rue du Bac? We love oysters (have the benefit of living in Massachusetts near some of the best American oysters) and were planning to visit Huitrerie Regis.

        For restaurants, we'd love something authentic but not stuffy. I would stay away from molecular gastronomy and focus on refined rustic dishes in a beautiful setting. We tend to be farm to table eaters -- does that give some direction?

        1. re: bfkirk

          Poissonnerie du Bac. 69 Rue du Bac

          Bistros with farm-fresh dishes in your 'hood: Chez l'Ami Jean, Aux Fins Gourmets on 213 Bld St Germain. Their setting is very bistro-y, with a bistro-y charm. I like them very much but would not call the setting beautiful. It is very urban bistro-y, not exactly rustic.
          Recent posts by hounds have complained about being hurried at dinner chez L'Ami Jean. I have never been hurried ther but have indeed experienced a great deal of overwhelm at dinner. It may be best to lunch there; the lunch hour is usually more leisurely.

          1. re: bfkirk

            "wandering down to the Eiffel Tower around midnight. I will certainly avoid the Champs"

            If you think the "ambiance" will be more chill-out near the Eiffel Tower you're mistaking... Trying to go see the fireworks near the Eiffel Tower was the worst NYE experience ever...

            1. re: Rio Yeti

              Any suggestions on where to see the fireworks, then? Or do you suggest watching them on TV....

              1. re: bfkirk

                From any of the bridges from Pont Alexandre III to Pont Neuf, including the wooden bridge Pont des Arts on the way. Or on the bend of the Seine that has a view of the Eiffel tower. Which means a long stretch of the Seine. In fact, on one of the nights after you arrive, you can possibly take an after-dinner walk on the Seine near your rue du Bac rental and "scout out" the perfect location.

              2. re: Rio Yeti

                I agree that the Eiffel Tower area is not "chill", but we've had a great time there at NYE. It's a festive atmosphere & you can see the fireworks fine. We are usually back a bit toward the Ecole Militaire (sp?).

                1. re: DaTulip

                  Ok, I must admit I've had a really bad experience at the Eiffel Tower which may cloud my judgment (although it could have happened anywhere of course...).

                  I think Parigi's recs are good ideas, me ? I'll probably cook a nice dinner with a few friends and call it a night, I'm not much for celebrating the earth going around the sun (but I'm bitter and cynical that way) ;)

          2. "Lastly, we are considering a cooking class in Paris" - check to see if any are running during this week, most people are on holiday, and there are a couple of public holidays.

            1. I've tracked some of the conversations on cooking classes and since you'll have an apartment it expands your options. Here are the three that I've seen highly recommended (first two are frequent posters on this site):
              1) (Julot, aka Souphie) - does custom tours
              2) Ptipos, has also offered cooking classes, but the blog site doesn't seem to be working (

              Hope this helps!

              1. I would love any updates people can give me along this thread. My husband and I have rented an apartment in the center of Saint-Germain-des-Prés from 12/22-New Year's Day to celebrate our upcoming wedding excited am reading/planning now. This is a first trip there for him and I have not been in many years. We will indeed go to the market ahead of time for our NYE meal and then go out and walk. We love good food/wine but it doesn't have to be fancy. (I am not a meat-eater which I know may be a drawback but will take any advice along that line as well. I do eat fish but would love to know if there are any vegetarians out there who had a great experience somewhere.) Please let me know any restaurants/cafes that you love. And any advice about dining out that holiday week (and where to maybe make a reservation?) and any place we should visit xmas eve/day? Also any food items not to miss bringing home. Look forward to any and all words of wisdom...and will continue reading other threads. Merci!

                1 Reply
                1. re: 3catsnh

                  "I would love any updates people can give me along this thread."
                  So would I.
                  Why do people like bfkirk, with whom so many of us took the time to share our info, not have the courtesy to write back, even if it is just to tell us that all our ideas sucked?

                  2catsnh, excuse us contributors for feeling burnt out about people receiving info and not re-sharing. Often locals feel like children being punished at school and having to write the same recommendations X numbere of times.

                  Restaurant and café recommendations, as well as suggestions on what to bring home, are a recurrent questions. Please let us know what you think of all the related threads so far, what you like and do not like.
                  We would be very happy to make suggestions then.