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Nov 18, 2012 09:00 PM

Advice for Paris Visit with Teens in Late December

Hello Paris Chowhounds. Thank you very much for all the useful information I have gained from reading your posts over the past two months. I am planning a visit to Paris in late December and early January with my family, following a week in Barcelona.

I am not familiar with Paris restaurants, but after reading some blogs, posts on this board, and some helpful books, I have a better sense of what we are in for. I feel a little hindered by the timing of our visit around Christmas and New Year’s. However, we are renting an apartment and so we will have the chance to do some shopping and cooking at home to work around restaurant closures.

My two sons (17 and 20) have never been to Paris and are adventurous and appreciative eaters with boundless appetites. We live in Northern California and tend to prefer restaurants that offer top quality but in a relaxed setting. We would like to find the equivalent in Paris of the types of places we love here: food that is inventive and refined and consistent, service that is relaxed and gracious.

Also, we tend to eat our main meals at dinner rather than lunch, so most of my plans revolve around the evening. We will take advantage of the markets (planning around the holidays) and have food available at home for light breakfasts and lunches.

Here are the choices I have made so far:

Dec. 27: We have a dinner reservation at Joséphine "Chez Dumonet" (we called for this reservation). This is our first night, and I think the hearty food will appeal to my sons. It seems like opinons on Chowhound are a little mixed about this restaurant, but I somehow think this might hit the spot for us.

Dec. 28: Dinner reservation at La Régalade. Again, I think my sons will love this place. We made reservations online.

Dec. 29: Dinner reservation at Les Saisons (made online also).

Sunday Dec. 30. We will be on a day trip and will not be dining in Paris this day.

Monday Dec. 31. We have a reservation for lunch at Le Grand Véfour. I understand this is pricy, and it doesn’t seem to be a favorite on Chowhound, but I think my sons will love the setting and ambiance – they’ve never been to a place like this. The lunch menu is not bank-breaking. I imagine there are probably better spots food-wise for the price, but I think this will be fun. Also, we all love a good cheese plate.

We plan to have dinner at the apartment that night (if we are still hungry).

Tuesday January 1: We plan to stock up on edibles at home for this day – no meals out.

Wednesday January 2: We have a reservation for dinner at Terroir Parisien, made by email.

Thursday January 3: This is our last night. We have a reservation for dinner at Frenchie, made online.

Any comments and recommendations regarding this line-up would be most welcome. I am a little concerned that I might be choosing restaurants that are too similar in style. We were hoping to try Chez l’Ami Jean and Vivant Table on this trip, but they are closed during the time that we will be there.

Again, thanks very much. I will report back once we return in mid-January.


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  1. We took our 3 teens to Paris 5 years ago, when our sons were 15 and 17. Our sons sound like yours - adventurous eaters with big appetites. I'm not familiar with some of the places on your list, but overall I'd say it looks good. One addition I'd definitely suggest would be Chez Denise (La Tour de Montlhéry). It was our sons' favorite...huge portions of very good traditional bistro fare in a great old school Parisian atmosphere. I know of at least one other Hound who might concur...

    1. I really like Le Grand Vefour. It is not cutting edge cuisine. Don't expect to see the type of food turned out by Alleno, Gagnaire, et al., but it is delicious and correct haute cuisine. The room is beautiful and historical. The service is proper, yet not without a sense of humor. It is like going back in time, and I mean that in the best way possible. We certainly prefer some of the other top spots in Paris, but LGV is a worthwhile destination and I think the young folks will like it.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Autier17

        I love le Grand Véfour. And I loved it the most when I was a teenager taken there for special family celebrations. All that history does something special to young minds.

        1. re: Parnassien

          Thanks sistereurope, Autier17, and Parnassien. I appreciate your input very much.

      2. Your choices are excellent. l also had wonderful experiences at Le Grand Vefour eventhough the food is not as good as it once was. Try and ask for a table in the front room facing the gardens of the Palais Royale. Although the blooms are not blooming in January, the pleaching of the trees will be evident and beautiful.
        The only exchange might be Chez denise for Le Regalade. When last at La Regalade about a month ago found all English speakers, a pet peeve of mine, and the service more rushed than it used to be and the food far less inspired.
        If you wind up having an extra lunch or dinner try Dans le Landes, fun and interesting.
        Chez Josephine Dumonet is perfect for a first night, you will drowsily love the boeuf bourgignon.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Delucacheesemonger

          Deluca, I love you, but "When last at La Regalade....found all English speakers," has been the case for quite a while.
          Any reader here who thinks that the places favored by the New York Times, from Spring to Galopin are going to be full of locals, is in for a surprise.
          My advice, as always, is go with the bloggers, who are eating at places like Les Novices in the 18th where i was today and which had no Anglophonic sounds. But then, the NYT hasn't blessed it yet.

          1. re: John Talbott

            Had not been for about 3-4 years and had not noticed at that time. Guess it was my bad, but the change was dramatic.

            1. re: John Talbott

              Or, LOL and ironicially for those of us who prefer to go out at night, visit original Regalade, Josephine or Denise at lunch when you are much more likely to eat with locals.

              1. re: mangeur

                One more reason to eat early and often (the Johnnie Apple rule).