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Feb 28, 2012 03:22 AM

Kids and Paris Dining

My husband and I will be traveling to Paris in March along with our 2 children (ages 6 and 10). I've booked several restaurants (Spring and Septime) and plan to make reservations in others (Frenchie, Le Chateaubriand, Chez L'ami Jean). I understand restaurants are quite small. I'm just curious how the French would view "sharing" a prix fixe menu. My children are light eaters, and I don't think they would be able to finish a whole meal. I would appreciate your thoughts. I'm going to Paris for it's food, and with kids, it may be difficult to dine in some places.

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  1. I see often diners sharing à la carte dishes. It is not very nice for two diners to share a tasting menu (without ordering another meal), especially if you are in a small restaurant like Spring and Frenchie, occupying 4 out of the very limited number of seats. It is a lot to impose on a small restaurant like Spring.
    When you reserved, did you tell Spring that only 2 of the 4 persons reserved are eating?

    There is another problem. Restaurants like Frenchie and Spring are not only small but are quiet. A meal usually lasts 2 hours. Are you sure your children will be able to enjoy sitting quietly for 2 hours and eating (half of) a no-choice menu?

    In order for both you and your children to have an enjoyable time, you may want to get a babysitter for the evening and dine without them.

    1. Kids. I have some of them too. If they're taking up valuable and much sought after seats in the kind of places you're talking about and only eating off your plate, I wouldn't bring them.

      1. I'd go with ordering a la carte items for the kids and ordering a *really* expensive bottle of wine, if you really want to go to these places.

        We were in France with our 5 year old last fall. She ordered usually two starters at each dinner, along with a dessert. If she didn't eat all of it, we just figured we could swallow the cost since it was allowing us to have nice dinners, and her to try new, fun foods. We didn't have any problem - no one seemed annoyed at all.

        4 Replies
        1. re: LulusMom

          LuluMom, you are a very thoughtful diner&mom. Besides, Lulu is the kind of kid we all want to borrow !
          But there is no a la carte dining in many of the OP's restaurant choices. One example is Spring which has a no-choice menu.

          1. re: Parigi

            Thank you Parigi. We had a great time, and Lulu ate really well, so it was all worth it. But yes, definitely a problem if the place doesn't have any no-choice menu. I think maybe kann should rethink the choices, or look into a sitter that night (or bite the bullet and pay for the kids to eat). Sorry kann.

            1. re: LulusMom

              Thanks so much for your thoughts. I may have to bite the bullet - so as not to miss the chance to dine in these restaurants. Please, if there are any other restaurant you could recommend worth trying with kids in mind, let me know.

              1. re: kann

                I put out a query on this board about dining in Paris with a 5 year old and got lots of good suggestions. One we took, and were very happy with, was Cafe Constant. It was right around the corner from our hotel (in the 7th), and doesn't take reservations. First come, first serve. But given that we went the night we arrived and were jet-lagged, it was easy for us to get there right when they opened at 7:00 (and the room was already almost packed). We were very pleased with the food. I had been to Fish before, and loved it, so I took Lulu there, but it wasn't up to snuff. I have heard (thank you Phil) that this was likely just because they were between chefs, so it might be back to the higher quality I was expecting. Here is a link to that thread, which has many suggestions (I only wish we'd had time to try more): I think biting the bullet might be worth it once. But remember that these kinds of meals tend to take a while and the pacing might drive the kids crazy. I hope you have a great time, and eat well.