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Are reservations in Paris always necessary?

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I will be visiting for four niights in early October - traveling alone. I know reeservations are often preferred, but I tend not to know what I feel like eating till the last minute. Will I be able to find some decent food just showing up unannounced (or will that be frowned upon?)

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  1. Unlikely unless both lucky and well researched. Lots of bad food to suck in the unwary tourist, and would a hound take such a risk? Far better to skip yet another art gallery or museum if distracted by good eating opportunities....! So plan and book and flex the sightseeing - the museums don't get booked out.

    1. Reservations or not is a topic that has been discussed. Below is a link to a recent post. Within that post, there is another link to another previous discussion.
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/846494

      1 Reply
      1. re: PBSF

        many thanks..clearly I was being lazy last night when I posted :)

      2. The keys to dining without reservations are -- go early for dinner and late for lunch. That said, you shoud hav a list of restaurarnts in an area in which you are interested so that you'll have fall-backs.
        I am a great believer in asking the concierge for suggestions BUT ONLY AFTER informing the concierge of restaurants in which you are interested and why you are interested in them so that you can show your (please, please exciuse this) level of sophistication. If you specify, for example, that you want the reservations at original le regalade as opposed to the one on st honore you wil get much different recommendations than if you ask cold (which gets you popular-but-mediocre recommendations).
        But others are concierge-phobes - to whom pace.
        (I also have found that you can use concierges at hotels at which you are not staying for last-minute suggestions and reservations (but I tip them generously))

        1. French restaurants really appreciate reservations--- even if you call an hour or 2 before, call! There is something in the French psyche that really takes kindly to a restaurant reservation. It really gets you off on the right foot when dining.

          1. Yes. One chef even thanked me to my face for it.
            You can show up 10 minutes before service/ordering begins but then you don't get the "primo" table, they don't have the necessary quantity of precious items, staff, etc necessary if hundreds show too.

            Call even if slightly before.

            1 Reply
            1. re: John Talbott

              Appreciate the very thoughtful advice. Now off to search the board for good solo dining options! I want to have a solid list to share with the concierge. Than you!