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Oct 31, 2011 07:40 AM

Paris restaurant and site ideas for a family with 3 teens at Xmas

We are travelling to Paris over the Xmas break with 3 teens. Eating is a bit of an issue and I need recommendations. Husband is on a restricted diet and only eats fish or plain grilled chicken and fresh veggies - no sauces, 2 kids will eat fish but no meat and one will not eat fish or meat at all. Staying in St. Germain de Pres area but willing to travel around a bit. Looking for yummy restaurants that won't break the bank. Also looking for a cooking/baking class for that week as well and other ideas from people that have travelled to Paris with their teens. Also would welcome suggestions of sites that will keep their attention~

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  1. My 17yo son and I will be in Paris over Xmas, for our 2nd visit. Is this your first time to Paris? In our very limited experience, expect haughty waiters if you don't want sauces, and they are likely to roll their eyes at any food restrictions. However, you cannot get more life-changing memories than eating in Paris! The food is glorious! We stayed in the 5th and shopped the local markets and ate at reasonably priced lovely restaurants. We tried to find local places that had some tourist experience (we don't speak French), but avoided tourist traps. We will be in the 5th again and I already have a list of restaurants on my IPhone. Perhaps we can meet up. My son highly recommends the Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Orsay, riding the metro, eating crepes at the sidewalk creperies, seeing the view and the crazy traffic from the top of the Arc de Triomphe, and wandering through the mall Forum des Halles.

    1 Reply
    1. re: cappuccino

      "expect haughty waiters if you don't want sauces, and they are likely to roll their eyes at any food restrictions."
      I question the word choice "haughty". Hearing those restrictions, many waiters in many countries in the world would also roll their eyes. Many people reading this thread probably roll their eyes too.

    2. With such extensive dietary restrictions, can you rent an apartment at this late stage? The best is to have your own kitchen in your case.

      Or try this:

      Best of luck telling the waiter no sauce no-non-chicken for one, no meat for another, no fish&meat for a third. May the Force by with you. :-)

      3 Replies
      1. re: Parigi


        My boyfriend and I are heading to Paris very shortly and are having the hardest times with Frenchie and L' Ami Jean reservations....any words of wisdom from our Paris expert???

        1. re: sheilanyazdi

          This non-expert called Chez l'Ami Jean last Friday at 7pm Paris time and got somebody quite quickly and made a reservation for a week later.
          You can also try at 23h15 or 23h30, when the dinner service is winding down.

          Another tip: personally I find the lunch much less hectic, while the menu and prices are the same as dinner. Plus, lunch is also easier to reserve. Plus, you need all day to walk it off. :-)

          If you still have problem booking chez l'ami Jena by tomorrow (Thursday), let me try (accent on the "try") Friday since I will be there alrady. Write me: li dot nancy at noos dot fr.
          Give me
          - a name for the reservation
          - number of persons (2?)
          - a date and time for your meal, plus at least one alternative date and time.
          - a tel number where the resto can reach you in Paris.
          And of course if a booking is made, please please please show up, or Jégo will make a riz au lait out of me.

          Frenchie is a genuine pain in the butt to reserve. Likewise I would also try right before dinner, at around 6:30pm. Dinner service there starts at 7pm.

          If you are turning up very shortly, it may be too late to book Frenchie.

          If you have too much problem reaching anyone, you may want to consider these serious backups:
          - Saturne, if you need to stick to the 'hood of Frenchie or
          - Septime (in Bastille).
          The food is just as good if not more consistent, along a similar style as Frenchie, whle the reservation process is less painful.

          Or if you already got a Frenchie tattoo (please o please tell us where), you can go to the Frenchie wine bar at 7pm, the only time you can squeeze in, and still taste Grégory Marchand's cuisine.

          Good luck. Let us know how you do.
          Lastly, perhaps we should start a new thread and not squat this vegetarian thread. :-)

          1. re: Parigi

            All I can say is....LIFE SAVER!
            I sent you an email and am so happy to hear you have some worthy back ups for us. We are Paris veterans and I manage a restaurant in SF so am on a short schedule (Sun-Wed) so any and all help is appreciated. As I noted in my email, pls let me know what I can bring from here for you :)

      2. My initial impression when I read your post was one of pity that you want to try to accommodate these 4 family members with their over the board food restrictions eating out in Paris! You did not mention what you would like to eat, which I hope you will consider focusing on rather than theirs. If you have had to prepare food for all these picky eaters, I say you deserve a vacation from trying to cater to all of their myriad dislikes.
        Super Mom should choose restaurants to her liking and let the teens and hubby navigate their own selections, based on what is listed. Paris offers the greatest of all culinary adventures amongst incredible beautiful sights. You should not have to be put in the position of being a dietary coordinator everywhere you dine. Good luck to you!

        2 Replies
        1. re: Cheriekiss

          I agree with Cheriekiss. Choose restaurants that feature food YOU would like to eat, and let them find something they can agree to eat. Otherwise, I fear NOone in your party is going to be happy with the restaurant choices. There must be restaurants that are willing to accommodate people like your husband who have medical restrictions on their diet, however he may be scraping off sauces. It can be done.

          1. re: ChefJune

            This is going to sound bad but I substituted a few restaurant meals with bread and cheese or with pastries or with crepes.

            Definitely do pastries for breakfast. Your hubby can do tea and omelettes (if he is low carb) or coffee and bread (if he is low fat). The kids will probably not care if they have lunch in the hotel/apt one day or if they take a meal sitting on a park bench or outside a museum.

            For the times when you want to eat out, I recommend some of the immigrant restaurants. You can get cheaper food and more variety.

            As far as activities, just go with their interests and remember it is okay to split up. If Dad and one kid wants to go to the Louvre and everyone else thinks that it is too crowded, that is okay. Teens probably will like the same things as adults- shopping, eating and sightseeing. If you have older kids, they might want to go out at night dancing. Ask your hotel concierge if there is anywhere appropriate in your area.