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3.5-day Paris Itinerary - please critique/suggest!

biondanonima Mar 26, 2012 12:35 PM

First off, thank you to everyone on the Paris board for your help thus far and your excellent recommendations on other threads! I'll be coming to Paris for a long weekend in April (Fri-Mon) with my parents, and we'll be ready to eat!! We're staying at the Best Western Louvre Piemont (ugh, but the location is good).

They are generally fine with any type of food but I know this trip they wanted to stick to regional cooking as much as possible. They also prefer an earlyish bedtime, so we'll be doing 7:30 or 8pm reservations. Other than that, the only things I've tried to keep in mind are that my mother eats no seafood, and that we're not looking to spend more than 100EU per person at any given meal - I'd actually like to keep most meals at around 50-60EU per person or less, not including wine. So, here's the plan as it stands now:

Friday: we'll be arriving from Venice on an afternoon flight, and we have tickets for a 7:30 shop at the Bastille. Parigi suggested a trip to Tartine for wine and charcuterie plates, since no decent restaurants will be serving pre-theatre, and if my parents are feeling up to it that's what we'll do. If not, they can nap while I go shop for cheese, bread and charcuterie myself, and we can have a little picnic in our hotel room before the show. If I'm hungry afterwards, I'll find something near the hotel once they're in bed. Le Cochon a l'Oreille or Chez George, maybe? Both are close by.

Saturday: We'll be spending the day at the Louvre. Would lunch at La Regalade St. Honore and dinner at Chez Denise (or vice versa) be overkill? If so, how should I swap, and with what? What about Epigramme? Au Fil des Saisons? I know these are not quite as close by but a nice walk or a quick Metro trip won't kill us.

Sunday: I'm hoping to do the Musee Rodin early, then lunch, then the Musee d'Orsay and Notre Dame. Last time I was at the Musee Rodin I had lunch at Chez l'Ami Jean and really enjoyed it - I would be happy to repeat, but is there another/better contender in the neighborhood? Then for dinner, I was considering Saturne, but I know I was stuffed to the gills after CLJ so I'm not sure we will need a several-course meal (lighter in style though it may be). Might a single plat at one of the Saturday options be better? Or an oyster bar (one that has other options for my mother)?

Monday: We'll be hitting some touristy high points in the morning, then I was planning to do lunch at either Le Cinq, Pierre Gagnaire or Guy Savoy (this is the one exception to the less than 100EU rule). I'm leaning towards Le Cinq, but would appreciate input (for a reference point, my parents preferred Per Se and Eleven Madison in NYC to Daniel). Afterwards, we'll probably go up to Sacre Coeur to catch the view at sunset. Dinner here is a complete question mark - will we need a real meal after one of those epic lunches, or will a crepe or another cheese picnic do? Is there anything interesting near Sacre Coeur? Another gem that I've missed entirely?

Thank you all for your advice!!!

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  1. Searching4Dunny RE: biondanonima Mar 28, 2012 01:57 PM

    I believe CAJ is closed on Sunday. The rest of your choices look good but I am sure some of the other Paris hounds can (and should) respond to your other questions.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Searching4Dunny
      PhilD RE: Searching4Dunny Mar 28, 2012 03:17 PM

      I thought Saturne was as well. For Sunday Le Cinq maybe better, early start at the Rodin museum then stroll through the Invailides across the river to lunch. But as museums are closed mondays that limits sightseeing....

      Reglade and Chez Denise may be too much, try aregalade for dinner and have a salad or light lunch at a cafe.

      1. re: PhilD
        Parnassien RE: PhilD Mar 28, 2012 03:57 PM

        Chez Denise is closed on Sat + Sun, no?

        1. re: Parnassien
          biondanonima RE: Parnassien Mar 29, 2012 02:21 AM

          Yes, you're all correct - dumb of me not to check weekend closures. Chez Denise, Regalade and Saturne are not open at all on weekends, and CLJ is closed Sun-Mon. Hm. I will have to rethink!

    2. biondanonima RE: biondanonima Mar 29, 2012 02:39 AM

      Okay, here's a rework, hopefully taking all closures into consideration:

      Friday: Either Tartine for wine and charcuterie plates or a picnic in our hotel room before the show. If I'm hungry afterwards, I'll find something near the hotel once they're in bed. Le Cochon a l'Oreille or Chez George, maybe? Any other can't miss contenders? Chez Denise, if I can't fit it in elsewhere?

      Saturday: Musee Rodin early, lunch at Chez l'Ami Jean, then the Musee d'Orsay and Notre Dame. Dinner is open - maybe Epigramme? Au Fil des Saisons? Something else interesting in the area?

      Sunday: Touristy high points in the morning, then lunch at Le Cinq (this makes choosing between the original three contenders a snap!). Afterwards, we'll probably go up to Sacre Coeur to catch the view at sunset. Dinner here is a complete question mark - will we need a real meal after one of those epic lunches, or will a crepe or another cheese picnic do? Is there anything interesting near Sacre Coeur? Another gem that I've missed entirely that is also open on Sunday????

      Monday: Louvre day (thank goodness they are open on Monday). Dinner at La Regalade St. Honore, maybe lunch at Chez Denise if it wouldn't be too much (I will ask my parents if they want two heavy meals in one day). If it is indeed too much, is there a place near the Louvre that is good for lighter things so we can get salads or oysters at lunch?

      9 Replies
      1. re: biondanonima
        b
        Bkeats RE: biondanonima Mar 29, 2012 09:14 AM

        Just had lunch at Chez Denise. Honestly, I think we are going to pass on dinner after that lunch. The portions are larger than almost anything else I have seen. The onglet was huge. The portion of steak tartare could easily feed two. After some dessert, all we want to do is unbutton the top of the waistband and sip a bit of cafe.

        1. re: Bkeats
          biondanonima RE: Bkeats Mar 29, 2012 09:38 AM

          Hm, good to know. If it were just me and my husband, we'd go for it, but my parents definitely have smaller appetites and by the end of the trip they may be fooded out. I suppose we could order with portion sizes in mind, though, and just share a few things.

        2. re: biondanonima
          biondanonima RE: biondanonima Mar 29, 2012 11:54 AM

          Grr, the more I look, the more challenging Sunday becomes. I found a couple of recommendations for Au Clocher de Montmartre - I know it's not going to be anything mind-blowing, but I don't know that we need anything mind-blowing after Le Cinq. It's certainly close to Sacre Coeur! Anyone have any input?

          1. re: biondanonima
            Searching4Dunny RE: biondanonima Mar 29, 2012 01:53 PM

            Not near Sacre Coeur, but I believe L'Avant Comptoir (wine bar associated with and located next to Le Comptoir du Relais) is open on Sunday. This could be a nice, light option for dinner after Le Cinq.

            Breizh Cafe (crepes) and L'as du Fallafel would also make good cheap-light meals in the Marais area - both open fairly late.

            1. re: biondanonima
              Parnassien RE: biondanonima Mar 29, 2012 03:59 PM

              I think that we can safely assume that, if you are human, a large meal on Sunday night will be more pain than pleasure after your long and fabulous lunch at Le Cinq. For a lighter nosh, Au Clocher de Montmartre on the rue Lamarck will indeed fit the bill. As will a plate of superb charcuterie at Caves des Abbesses on the rue des Abbesses . The over-60s might feel a wee bit out of their comfort zone in either but, in a way, that's part of the adventure, no? And the 10-minute walk from Sacré Coeur to the very lively Abbesses quartier obliges a brief foray into the worst of the place du Tertre tackiness and a few very steep descents so I guess it depends on your tolerance of bad taste and your parents' mobility whether the Caves des Abbesses is a possibility or not.

              1. re: Parnassien
                biondanonima RE: Parnassien Mar 30, 2012 02:41 AM

                Caves des Abbesses looks very interesting to me, but I'm not sure my parents would enjoy it, especially if there's a steep descent to get there - my father is mobile, but grumpy about it, LOL. Good to know the options are there, though. Perhaps I'll make a reservation somewhere (Au Fils des Saisons seems to be the only contender I have that is open Sunday), and then let them decide after Le Cinq whether they're in the mood for another full meal or not. It doesn't look like one needs a reservation at either Au Clocher or Caves, right?

                1. re: biondanonima
                  Parigi RE: biondanonima Apr 23, 2012 10:59 AM

                  La Caves des Abbesses is a real hipsters' wine bar, but very lowkey casual, not at all fundamentalist hipster. Good spot for casual eats.
                  The café across the street has excellent oysters even for Paris standard and is a real locals' hangout, so rare in a 'hood divided and conquered by hipsters and tourists.
                  This is my fave pic of the Cave des Abbesses, with my absolute fave cat in this world which has since gone back to Morocco with the épicier next door. I miss him inconsolably.
                  http://www.flickr.com/photos/redlaros...
                  (Even though it is the terrasse of the Cave, you mainly see the épicier next door instead of the Cave, but that's the casual atmosphere, and I just want to see the cat again…)

                2. re: Parnassien
                  biondanonima RE: Parnassien Apr 22, 2012 02:30 PM

                  Parnassien, just wanted to thank you for your recommendations and let you know that we've enjoyed a couple of your suggested places - Aux Bons Crus last night, after lunch at CAJ - they wanted something quick and light, so a lovely salad and tourte auvergnat with a glass of Sancerre fit the bill just right (and it was just a stone's throw from the hotel). Tonight, Caves des Abbesses after lunch at Le Cinq (talk about a contrast!). The over-60s did most certainly feel out of their element here, but they thoroughly enjoyed it once they had had a glass of wine. The cheese plate was good (although a couple of the cheeses weren't sufficiently ripe, IMO - chalky goat cheeses), and the charcuterie was excellent (very nice rillettes and saucisson sec). Definitely a better choice than the tacky/touristy places surrounding Sacre Coeur.

                  I'll report more fully on everything later, but I just wanted to say thank you for your guidance thus far! La Regalade tomorrow!

                3. re: biondanonima
                  ChefJune RE: biondanonima Apr 23, 2012 10:37 AM

                  After Le Cinq I doubt you'll want a whole meal. That might be a good time for a crepe. Lunch on "Louvre Monday" you could opt for a plat (or an entree) at Willi's Wine Bar which is just a short walk away.

              2. biondanonima RE: biondanonima Mar 31, 2012 04:01 AM

                Alright, here's the plan as approved by my parents:

                Friday: Either Tartine for wine and charcuterie plates or a picnic in our hotel room before the show. If I'm hungry afterwards, I'll find something near the hotel once they're in bed. Le Cochon a l'Oreille or Chez George, maybe? We're staying on the Rue de Richelieu, on the west side of the Jardin du Palais Royale - where would you go for late night eats right near there?

                Saturday: Musee Rodin early, lunch at Chez l'Ami Jean, then the Musee d'Orsay and Notre Dame. Dinner: l'Epigramme. If anyone has better suggestions, please make them!

                Sunday: Touristy high points in the morning, then lunch at Le Cinq. Sacre Coeur, then dinner at Au Fil des Saisons. I will make the reservation just in case, and if we're totally stuffed after Le Cinq, cancel and hit Caves or Au Clocher.

                Monday: Louvre day. Lunch at La Regalade St. Honore, then a late-ish dinner at Chez Denise - my parents said they wanted to go out with a bang, so there we go!

                If anyone has any better suggestions for Saturday and Sunday night in particular, please let me know!!!

                2 Replies
                1. re: biondanonima
                  Parnassien RE: biondanonima Apr 1, 2012 01:36 PM

                  Re Friday, Le Cochon à l'Oreille is no more and has been transformed into a tourist trap whose name I can't remember. Chez Georges closes (in theory) at 11pm but you'd be very lucky to get there from the Opéra Bastille in time. Getting 2700 opera-goers out of the Opéra Bastille takes a lot of shuffling time. And then a rugby scrum at Bastille métro station or long waits for a taxi.

                  There are 100s of post-théâtre options. But how about just 4? :) 1) Bofinger on the rue Bastille, the classic refuelling stop after a performance at the Opéra Bastille, gorgeous interior, somewhat stodgy food, and a largely aged clientele. 2) Le Grand Colbert on the rue Vivienne (just a 5-minute stroll from your hotel), a more stylish buzz and vibe, somewhat inconsistent food if you stray from the excellent fruit de mer menu. 3) Chez Denise on the rue Prouvaires in Les Halles, totally famous for its late-night dining but, oops, I see you are planning to go there on another day. 4) The Mini-Palais in the Grand Palais would probably be another excellent choice and offers lots of options for a single diner... bar, lounge, restaurant, and terrace. Dunno why it's not more recommended on Chowhound but it should be. And just a quick no-change métro from Palais Royal/ Louvre to Champs-Elysées-Clemenceau.

                  The area around the Palais Royal has great restaurant karma. Au Gourmand on the rue Molière (just around the corner from your hotel)... my top pick for a classic bistro with modern twists. On the rue Richelieu, les Bistronomes... one of my favs for its creative but not too "interesting" cooking (and, for lunch, very affordable); le Comptoir de Tunisie... sweet little épicerie/ cantine for an excellent (but limited) sample of Tunisien cuisine (lunch only); Verjus... very hyped and new wine bar + restaurant run by foodie expats but I have no first-hand experience of it; and Juvéniles... wine-bar with ok grub and, usually, a regular crowd of English-speaking wine enthusiasts. On the rue des Petits Champs, the exceptionally pleasant Macéo... delightful change from the cram-em-in feel at most eateries + excellent nosh = a winner; Willi's wine bar... much loved by many (but I'm not one of them); and Au Bon Cru... a lovely old-school bistro with a few southwestern specialities, rather neglected on Chowhound but highly rated by us locals. On the rue Beaujolais, Reflets de Scènes for a cheapish standby when everywhere else is full; and the historic and very expensive Le Grand Véfour which, for me, is one of the best dining experiences in Paris (other places have better food but very few have the style and sense of la vie parisienne). If you are in a romantic mood or fancy a lunch in a spectacular setting on a sunny day, the Restaurant du Palais Royal has decent but over-priced and not altogether memorable food. Towards the place des Victoires, les Fines Gueules (which I personally find a wee bit over-rated but everyone else seems to love it) and the very good value-for-money Bistrot des Victoires on the rue Vrillières. Just to make it clear, none of these are post-opéra options.

                  1. re: Parnassien
                    biondanonima RE: Parnassien Apr 2, 2012 01:18 AM

                    Parnassien, thank you very much for this treasure trove of good info! Definitely good to have a list of winners right near the hotel. As for after the opera, I'll keep your suggestions there in mind as well. I'm getting excited to eat!!!

                2. c
                  chicfille RE: biondanonima Apr 2, 2012 06:45 PM

                  All this looks too touristic, if you're serious, suggest you check into Le Fooding, for locally sourced, less known venues.

                  1. c
                    chicfille RE: biondanonima Apr 23, 2012 09:16 AM

                    Good Sunday option is Le Moulin a Vent, filled with locals, nice frogs' legs, Beaujolais, grilled meats, friendly waiters and owner. If you insist on a table on the main floor, the choucroute Chez Lipp is fine, wines en carafe, great interior, lots of well-known Parisiens with their dogs.

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