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Sept Trip Planning (I have done lots of Research)

Hi everyone,
I have been researching for weeks on your site and elsewhere in anticipation of my first trip to France in Sept. We are traveling from Toronto as a couple and have a tentative route mapped out. A few things about our tastes:
- I am happy to spend money on food, but it must be worth it.
-I prefer innovative unique food to old school classics (i.e. I wasnt a fan of the French Laundry for example, but LOVE Eleven Madison Park in NYC)
-We will have a car but for dinners at least will want to eat where we stay
-for the most part I would like to leave our days open for touring.. and we will eat wherever we eat and focus more on planning out the dinners.

Here are my lists of possibles so far. I would love any additional tid bits of advice you can give me.

Paris Sunday-Wednesday (4 nights) - looking for 2 less expensive dinners (under 150 pounds for the two of us including 1-2 glasses of wine), and two more expensive meals. This could include ONE VERY expensive meal if its excellent.

La Meurice
Pierre Gagner
L'astrance (dont actually know the cost on this one, any ideas?)
Laterier st germaine de joel
Chez ami jean
Pain vin fromage (for fondu, cheap dinner one night)
Breizhcafe (for lunch crepes)

STRAUSBOURG (wednesday night- need two meals, a lunch and dinner)

Au Crocodile
Maison Kammerzel
Anything else casual for lunch?

LYON (thurs-mon- again 2 more expensive dinners and 2 less expensive)

Guy Lassausaie
Mere Brazier
Paul Bocuse (is this worth the $$ if I'm not a huge fan of old school cooking? is it boring?)
Le Spendid
Daniel et denise
Le cepe
le gourmand de seze
les trois domes
magali et martin
Bernachon (for breakfast)

NICE (Mon-thursday- all of the below options are closed monday, any ideas for Monday?)

Le Flaveur
alto tapas
Le cote margais

Other places we will be visiting in the day via car:

Rhone Valley
Loire Valley region

Thank you all so much for your help in advance,



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  1. (For Paris, I've got no experience with the other cities.)

    I thought French Laundry was innovative (when I look at the images), at least compared to more traditional french cuisine.

    You do not need/want a car in Paris.

    If wanting to experience 2, 3 stars restaurants, it might be cheaper to go at lunch, where some/most of them offer lunch "specials" and probably cheaper to order 1 bottle of wines instead of individual pours

    The Meurice is the most fancy (grandiose) restaurants in your list.
    Pierre Gagnaire is very good, even it it looks very wild, it is quite rooted in traditional french cuisine.
    L'Atelier Joel Robuchon is fun, but only takes reservations at the earlier seating in the evening (18:30) or you have to wait in "line".

    Have a look at the board's favorite : Le Cinq.

    Frenchie (the restaurant) is nice (fixed menu) , but I really much enjoyed their Wine Bar (but need to get there at opening, or wait in line).

    As for L'Astrance, Saturne, and Spring, I have no experience there.

    AFAIK, Mirazur is not in Paris.


    3 Replies
    1. re: Maximilien

      I looked at Le Cinq and while the food looks fabulous (especially would LOVE the dessert cart), I dont think my partner will like wearign a jacket. Acually, I know he will hate this. He does not like restaurants that insist on jackets when its hot.
      Do any of the other 3 michelins require a jacket? And do any of them have a dessert cart (I know, maybe it's silly, but I am obsessed with dessert).

      1. re: hungryabbey

        All 2, and 3 stars restaurants "require" a jacket; especially in the evening; They expect you to dress for the part.

        I would not go to those restaurants without a jacket, except maybe L'Atelier Joel Robuchon; but would dress well (nice pants, shirt, shoes and a nice v-neck (or something similar).

        I don't remember Le Cinq having a proper dessert cart, but a cart for post-dinner mignardises..

        1. re: Maximilien

          Ah well. After additional research I see that re: jacket. He will just have to cope in the heat and hope they have AC

    2. (just curious)

      How long is this trip ? it seems you want to travel all over France; even if the country is small, it still can take hours from one major city to the other; and if you intend to eat "good" at lunch; it might not be fun to drive (or be driven) after.


      1. 1. Do you mind quoting prices in euro? I am not sure which "pound" you are using in Toronto. Quoting euro would be clearer and would surely get you more response from the locals. Thanks.
        2. Fondu is a strange thing to have in September. If that is a particularly favorite medium of yours, ok. But you say "cheap dinner". Would other forms of cheap dinner also do?
        3. Is "Pain vin fromage" a restaurant name?
        4. Mirazur is in Menton, not in Paris.
        5. "Other places we will be visiting in the day via car:
        Rhone Valley
        Loire Valley region
        Wow. Have you done research on, say, Google maps regarding the distance?
        For example, just Provence alone, from one end to the other, it is the kid of huge distance that takes all-day driving. There is only one freeway, and the kind of Provence that is worth seeing is not necessarily near the freeway. Could you give us more info on your itinerary?
        Thanks for helping us help you.

        1. Thank you for all your replies so far. Some responses:

          - we wont have a car until Alsace
          -I personally dont see us slowing down for a 3* meal in the middle of the day. Its not our way of doing things, even if it is cheaper.
          -Thanks Max I will check out le cinq dont know how I missed that.
          -My mistake on AFAIK and Mirazur (I must have mixed up my lists)
          -Oh dear, I am sorry about the pounds. I am also planning a trip to London so I have my currency mixed up. I meant an expensive meal is more than 150 or so euros together (and yes, I know, some will be 2-5 x that), and a less expensive meal is below that.
          -Fondu.. I didnt know it was strange. I just want it! We have no fondu restaurants really here, so I thought it would be fun. But yes, other forms of the less expensive, casual meals I mentioned would be great.
          - Yes, Pain Vin Fromage is www.painvinfromage.com/
          - As for itinerary, we are working on that with my travel agent, but she seemed to think it was doable. .Maybe not?
          I think it will go something like.. Paris (stay in Paris), then to Strasbourg for one night (stay there), then drive to Lyon, while in Lyon go on a day trip or two to Burgundy, Loire, Rhone. Then while in Nice, go to Provence (its only 2 hours).
          -the trip is 2 weeks
          5. "Other places we will be visiting in the day via car:
          Rhone Valley
          Loire Valley region
          Wow. Have you done research on, say, Google maps regarding the distance?
          For example, just Provence alone, from one end to the other, it is the kid of huge distance that takes all-day driving. There is only one freeway, and the kind of Provence that is worth seeing is not necessarily near the freeway. Could you give us more info on your itinerary?

          6 Replies
          1. re: hungryabbey

            Sounds to me like you are biting off way more than you'll be able to chew comfortably. Unless you love running around like a scared rabbit. You will have very little time to see anything, anywhere. You could easily fill the whole two weeks in Paris alone and not begin to see or eat all you'll want to once you are there.

            Nice is in the far Eastern corner of Provence (in fact wher Nice is is called the Cote d'Azur) and although there are other villages you can visit from there, It is not nearby to what most of us here think of as Provence (the areas known as Luberon, Bouche du Rhone, etc.).

            Lyon is worthy of several days all on its own. It would be a shame to not see the beauty, history, and gastronomy that make it so special Burgundy will be at least a couple of hours drive away from Lyon. If you were planning to spend 2 weeks in Lyon, a day trip up there would make sense.

            1. re: hungryabbey

              There is no "Provence" (per say) it is a large region.

              Where in Provence you want to go ? If you only want to do highways, then go for it; but you will loose all pleasure of being in France.

              Don't think about doing the "Loire" region if staying in Lyon; especially if you want to go down towards the Rhone region.
              Or even doing Strasbourg for only one night!!!

              I suggest to seriously review your itinerary. driving 2, 3, 4 hours one day is ok, doing it everyday is NOT fun at all.


              1. re: Maximilien

                Ah damn. Fair enough. I hear you.
                Okay.. well, then, lets reevaluate I guess. What do you suggest I do so I can see as much as I can in my time.

                We will be coming into Paris (from London) and then flying out of Nice.
                Should I skip Strasbourg?
                Should I just do Paris, then Lyon then Nice (before I head out)?

                1. re: hungryabbey

                  Truly? You have 2 weeks. Flying into Paris and out of Nice. There you are. 1st week, Paris. TGV down to Nice. Rent your car. 2nd week Nice and environs. Folks here will be able to fill you full of luscious and memorable places for meals (since we're food focused nere) and all that goes along with that. Great markets, wineries, etc. Then fly home. Lyon, Strasbourg, Loire Valley? another trip (or three).

                  I've been traveling in France for more than 20 years, and have yet to get to many wonderful regions. There's SO much to see and do.

                  1. re: ChefJune

                    Hm, he really wants to go to Lyon- and I do too. And actually, I dont think I want to spend a whole week in Nice (it's not really where I wanted to go), nor Paris really. I think if we narrow it down to three places, Paris, Lyon and Nice, we have already made significant cuts. I actually used a bunch of itineraries as guides, and many suggested much shorter stays and more places to visit within 14 days. So hopefully we will be okay.

                    1. re: hungryabbey

                      well, I can surely understand your desire, as Lyon is my absolutely favorite city anywhere in the world I've been. I would train to Lyon from Paris, and if you want a car there (you easily won't need one!) rent it locally. Then TGV on down to Nice and there you will want a car to go to St. Paul de Vence, Mougins, etc. I'd be glad to give you recs for Lyon, but can't do it for anything but food in this forum, so feel free to email me. I've spent quite a good amount of time there recently and will be back in the fall.

            2. " I wasnt a fan of the French Laundry for example, but LOVE Eleven Madison Park in NYC."
              Wow Abbey, those are great lodestars. I wasn't a fan of the French Laundry because it was too much of a much like Gagnaire but 11 MP has always done well by me.
              So here goes in Paris (I only get out of town once or twice and that to Italy);

              Old, Jeez, not that old really:
              Ze Kitchen Galerie

              Le 122

              Les Tablettes de JL Nominicos
              110 Taillevent

              Your other choices - Septime, Frenchie, Chez L'Ami Jean, L'Astrance, etc are fine, indeed very good, but on every American who reads the NY Times, list; I love America, I love Americans, Long Live America - but not loudly in my face, all the meal, all the time.

              Branch out; try; experiment; whattdyouhave to lose?

              1. Thank you all for your advice. I think based on my partner and my competing interests we have to make it to at least the 3 places - Paris, Lyon and Nice as Lyon is nicely in the middle.

                Planning mainly dinners, I spent the greater part of the day doing even harder research to narrow down choices. I am thinking the following:


                Pierre Gagner
                Pain vin fromage (or do you recommend another fondu place?)

                Restaurants Le 122

                Guy Lassausaie
                Philippe Gauvreau
                Mere Brazier
                Le Gourmand de seze

                Daniel et Denise
                Les trois domes
                magali et martin

                Bernachon chocolate

                Le Flaveur
                I need a bistro /brasserie open on Monday night- any ideas?

                1 Reply
                1. re: hungryabbey

                  Guy Lassausaie
                  Philippe Gauvreau
                  Mere Brazier
                  Le Gourmand de seze

                  Daniel et Denise
                  Les trois domes
                  magali et martin> Abbey, no matter how hungry you are, you will never survive all that food! We were totally unable to eat ANYthing after lunch at Daniel et Denise.

                  Some of these places I'm totally unfamiliar with, so i can't give you much advice on them. But you will want to leave room for snacking at Les Halles and the outdoor markets at Croix Rousse and the St. Vincent Market. and the wonderful traiteurs!

                  Cannot imagine Bernachon for breakfast. Their chocolates are wonderful, but...

                  Are you familiar with the culinary school Institut Paul Bocuse? It's in a beautifully restored chateau in Ecully just outside the city. The restaurant there serves lunch every day and has some of the best food (not to mention qpr) in the city.

                2. l'Astrance is, as I recall from my last somewhat reverential and not exactly joyful expense-account dinner there, around 300€ a head. Which for a 3-star is not all that pricey. And yes, jacket is required. A jacket is any case very much a part of the hip French uniform and has long lost its association with formality. Although we do get uncomfortable heat waves, the pattern in September tends to be more autumnal than summery... temps at night are usually in the 50s at the beginning of the month and in the 40s at the end. A jacket is very useful... and all those lovely pockets for stashing maps, etc are so much better than those I'm-a-tourist-so-rob-me fanny packs and bags.

                  Le Meurice is probably a good bet in September, especially if your visit coincides with fashion week. The buzz from the more plutocratic sort of fashionista attracted by its over-the-top theatrical setting does add to the enjoyment of a very good meal. BTW, "Buzz" is not usually a word used in the same sentence with 3-star restaurant. But I wonder if the classic (but creative) basis of Alleno's menu will fit into your preferences.

                  If you want fondue, Pain Vin Fromage is probably the best of a rapidly dwindling bunch. Parigi, as a local, was probably inferring that it's the type of cuisine that is no longer very popular in Paris and is usually eaten in winter when one wants to refresh the memories of a recent skiing holiday in the French Alps.

                  Frenchie is actually quite Anglo-Saxon thanks to its canonization by the New York Times. The food is very good (but no better than a hundred other places in Paris) and is just the ticket if you want to meet folks from Cleveland and Seattle. If you want a French version, try Caius on the rue Armaillé in the 17th. Or any of John Talbot's suggestions.

                  I agree with everybody else... your itinerary is way too ambitious and wearying. If you are doing Paris, maybe something more rural than just another urban centre. Maybe chase the lingering summer via the TGV to Avignon (2 and a half hours) to pick up a rental car and then base yourself in one of the smaller towns/ cities like Bonnieux or Arles.

                  1. I’m with everyone else – too ambitious.

                    Certainly your food objectives are clear – but not sure what else you want. Why the car (for example)? – your reference to ‘other places we are visiting’ suggests day trips via highways (where available) and you’re not giving yourself any time to understand those regions – implies merely a ‘check-list’ – been there/done that.

                    As others have mentioned, each probably requires multiple days to even scratch the surface. You won’t even have time to sit in a café for an hour and just relax. Or to just ‘get lost’ and discover life (as compared to old buildings).

                    Given your dining preferences (incidentally I agree with your opinion of FL and EMP), then I’ll add to the chorus recommending Le Cinq. I’ve only been for lunch, which is a bargain compared to the evening prices – and hence why those of us on limited expense structures make that choice.
                    I also agree (I’m taking some liberties here and potentially misinterpreting others responses) that many of your Paris choices are ‘almost’ transplanted North American places – experiences that re-create things that you’ll be familiar with from North American travels. That doesn’t mean they’re ‘bad’ in any sense (some are excellent), but indeed you’ll find numerous New York Times readers at many of them.

                    Definitely drop l’Astrance (I think you have already) – too French Laundry!

                    Get lost in St-Germain-des-Pres, and stumble over amazing food shops almost everywhere. Stroll along the Left Bank and take in the views of (for example) Notre-Dame (and Ze Kitchen Gallerie, which I very much enjoyed, is not that far away – and only partially populated by tourists).

                    Definitely do your fondue (it’s not my thing, but it’s something you WANT to do – rather than ‘should do’).

                    Pierre Gagnaire offers ‘something different’ – personally I wasn’t impressed and wouldn’t go back – but that’s for you to decide. His style of cuisine is creative but, for me, is done much better in Spain (and much cheaper too!).

                    Robuchon is possibly the most influential ‘modern’ French Chef. I loved Atelier and have returned, but it’s not that different from the other Ateliers around the world, so if you’ve been to one already you’ll have the same experience there. If you haven’t then certainly start here (take the opening reservation time).

                    Strongly recommend Septime. It’s fun and good food, but wildly variable.

                    And now the biggie – consider dropping Lyon altogether. Yes it’s the temple of ‘traditional’ gastronomy. Bocuse and his legacy are everywhere. Nearly all cream and butter and all those things the doctor tells you to avoid (and extremely tasty as well) but it becomes relentless very quickly. The same dishes everywhere. And Bocuse’s shadow looms so large that it almost seems that other places are scared to test the format. After the first meal we both had indigestion – North American digestive systems are liable to go into shock! Check the menus in your restaurant choices for Lyon and you’ll see the overlap. And you’re already questioning Bocuse as it’s NOT your style.

                    Nevertheless – if you BOTH want to go there that’s a good enough reason to ignore my suggestion – I know you do the organization for these trips – but ensure you know what’s on his preferred list.

                    Assuming you ignore that advice, the best restaurant in the area is Troisgros (IMO – but other threads on this Board seem to agree with me – or rather I agree with them). And it’s easily accessible by train (yes, you can drive too) from Lyon and is situated just across the street from the train station in Roanne.
                    As a heads-up, Lyon is the second largest city in France (by population) so you’ll potentially spend wasted hours just getting out of and back to your base there. So you’ll take the motorways as you’ll be running late ……. so even less opportunity to see the countryside!

                    16 Replies
                    1. re: estufarian

                      So much to agree to.
                      First and foremost, - the rest of you, throw me to the wolves, - I agree re Lyons, for exactly the same reason. Too much richness and sameness as a whole. I love rich food and never diet, but cream&butter 24/7 becomes torture, and not enjoyment.

                      1. re: Parigi

                        Wow. Thank you so much. Ah, I am torn.
                        Okay so re: my preferences vs his. He has been to France, I have not. So Paris is for me, and Lyon and nice is for him (b/c that was where he didnt go previously). I really wanted to go to Strasbourg but have dropped that recognizing its a big detour.
                        So I spoke with him re: route and he thinks it sounds good. I suggested we train from Paris to Lyon but he wants to drive, so okay we will drive. Is there a possibility to take a scenic route or no?
                        Re: Lyon- I think we have to. One, he will be miserable to drive 6 hours straight from Paris to Nice. Two, he (and I really) want to see it. I am concerned however about the overload on richness.
                        re: rushing. We arent really the type to sit back and relax too much on any trip. Usually I find myself thinking I have allotted too many days to a location, rather than too few. I just spoke with a friend from TO who just did a similar trip in France but shorter, and she was quite happy with how long she spent in those places and also told me Lyon was her favourite, so I am kind of determined to go now.
                        So some questions:
                        1) I will switch my Pierre Gagner for Le Cinq. I have also noted that my choices maybe are more Americanized. What would you add or change (without adding another 1000 $ meal in there)? My original thoughts were just to try to hit more authentic french for casual lunches, can you make any recommedations there to fill in my Paris eating experience gaps cheaply, casually at lunch?
                        2) Lyon- assuming I am keeping it, for DINNER meals, how can I round out my meals so that there isnt so much overlap? What would you keep, what would you drop, what might you add to maybe allow my palate some relief without "wasting" the gastronomic experience there?
                        3) If we were to venture out of Lyon in the days (since it seems like many think there isn't enough in Lyon to enjoy), where should I go assuming I have a car? Any particular wine regions near by that would be tasty?
                        4) Nice- my partner wants to essentially leave Lyon in the morning drive to Aix de Provence (2 hours), spend the day in Provence, then drive to Nice (2 hours) at night. Yes, I KNOW we are not scratching the surface, but we are okay with just a little taste. I figure we could have from 11 AM- 5-6 PM in Aix de Provence.
                        5) Finally, my Nice options, any thoughts on my choices there?

                        Thank you all!


                        1. re: hungryabbey

                          Lyons is not torture. If Lyons is your husband's thAng, by all means.
                          However, Paris->Lyons is a 2 hour train. Does he love exclusive freeway driving, with the kind of freeway scenery that one finds everywhere else, to such a degree that he prefers to drive out of Paris (torture) and down a clone freeway all day, instead of a 2-hour train? If yes, by all means.
                          Or, you can train to Lyons, then on last day pick up a car, then spend a few days in an enchanting Luberon village with good eats (Bonnieux or Goult or Saignon or Cucuron), the real Provence, then drive to Nice (believe me, it is not a 2-hour drive, unless you are going from one freeway motel to another freeway motel, in which case you are seeing something but you are not seeing France).
                          Then turn in your car, because you don't need it in Nice.
                          In fact the only part of your trip where you need a car will be your stay in Provence Luberon. The other places like Lyon and Nice are cities that have excellent public transport but entail time-consuming parking.
                          Especially when you say you like to do a lot of sightseeing etc., your freeway-focused trip - excuse me - does not make sense.

                          1. re: Parigi

                            I agree with Parigi's comments above. And on top of not wanting to have the bother of a car in Lyon, by driving there you will miss the great experience of a picnic on the lovely TGV ride departing from the Gare de Lyon in Paris.

                            PS, I totally sympathize with wanting to drive in France, I love it; but only if you can really get on to the back roads. The autoroutes are generally not very interesting.

                            -- Jake

                            1. re: Parigi

                              Okay got it. So train to Lyon it is. Thank you.

                              Any thoughts on my other questions for dining picks?

                              1. re: hungryabbey

                                I took the train as well and rented the car in Lyon. BUT you won't need (or want) it in Lyon.
                                I recommend you try for Troisgros in Roanne (easy train trip). They're also open for lunch (most days) or you may be able to get back to Lyon at night - I haven't researched train times EDIT last train is around 8:15pm, so doesn't work! (and 3 minutes from station in Roanne).
                                In Lyon you'll probably try one of the 'Bocuse-style' places. Daniel & Denise is as good as any (but closed weekends). I enjoyed the food at Le Splendid (Georges Blanc) - but choose carefully to avoid o/d ing in cream and butter.

                                Can't help with Nice

                                1. re: estufarian

                                  Thank you. Re: Troisgros. If we were to go for lunch, are there interesting things to see/do in Roanne or would it be a waste of a day there?
                                  I may be able to convince him to go for dinner and get a car to take us.

                                  Also, can you tell me the price of Troisgros? I dont see prices online and it's all french anyways.. so I can't even read the menu.

                                  1. re: hungryabbey

                                    Honestly Roanne doesn't have a lot to offer outside Troisgros. Too large to be quaint and too small to have interest for a full day. I'll get back to you on cost. I 'think' it was around €150pp for the tasting menu, but with so many meals I may be confused - need to check the credit card bill!
                                    Depending on your schedule you might be able to swing round via Roanne after you rent the car. We stayed overnight about 2 minutes away.

                                    1. re: estufarian

                                      Yah I just was looking into what to do in Roanne. Not much.
                                      But if its close to wineries than I may be able to make a day of it for lunch.
                                      Alternatively, we may be able to get a cab home he will will agree to pay 100 euros. I will have to see what he thinks. He doesnt want to stay in any more hotels.

                                      I am realizing now why I may be faulty in choosing restaraurants and picking ones with the same menus! Its b/c I can't read the menus!! So I have been going mainly by pictures and reviews but its overwhelming as I am sure you can appreciate.

                                      Aside from Troisgros.. does anyone have any ranking of the following or notes on menu balance?

                                      Guy Lassausaie
                                      Philippe Gauvreau
                                      Mere brazier
                                      Le gourmand de seze

                                      1. re: hungryabbey

                                        <Guy Lassausaie
                                        Philippe Gauvreau
                                        Mere brazier
                                        Le gourmand de seze> I've been to Mere Brazier but not since Viannay took over. He's gotten very good reviews. Ov course, back in the day the REAL Mere Brazier trained Bocuse. She was the first female chef in France to have 2 3* restaurants! When I was there it was way less than stellar. Since then Viannay has bought it. We had a reservation for dinner our last night in town, but canceled it because frankly, we were just too full to have enjoyed it properly.

                                        This is what everyone here is trying to tell you. In France, in some cases, even one large meal a day can get to be too much. the accumulation just grows in your stomach and your head. I looked up the other three restos on your list. they all seem VERY similar, fine dining establishments. If you lived in Lyon, likely you would, at some time, go to all three of them, but when you're there for just a few days, I can't say any of them sound like they're "special" enough. Lassausaie has a brasserie in Villefranche sur Saone that sounds light, modern and refreshing, but I have a feeling you meant the 2* in Chasselay...

                                        I wish EatDrinkLyon would show up and give you a bit of her advice! She knows all the modern places. Personally, I love the old style, but have to space my meals. We loved cooking and bringing in take out to our apartment most evenings.

                                        1. re: ChefJune

                                          Thank you June!
                                          I have convinced my bf to let me travel to Troisgros and take a car home at night :)
                                          Now, we just have to figure out what to do the other 3 nights for dinner.
                                          Any other thoughts, anyone?

                                      2. re: estufarian

                                        just checked Viamichelin.
                                        Tasting menu is €175-€210pp.

                                        1. re: estufarian

                                          Merci! (I'm practicing)
                                          ps: I booked le cinq based on your recommendations.. I am excited!

                                      3. re: hungryabbey

                                        When l went to Troisgros fro dinner a few weeks ago, my two friends got the wine pairing with the meal, l splurged on a bottle of 1959 Bonnezeaux that was stunning, the check was 330 euros/pp all inclusive.
                                        Regretfully as your research showed, Roannes is a bit of very little, unlike Lyon or even Beaune.

                                        1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                          Thats okay. Assuming we can get a reservation (btw- how far do they book??) we will take a cab home.

                                2. re: hungryabbey

                                  <So I spoke with him re: route and he thinks it sounds good. I suggested we train from Paris to Lyon but he wants to drive, so okay we will drive. Is there a possibility to take a scenic route or no?>

                                  TGV Paris to Lyon is TWO hours. The drive is 4.5 when you figure in getting out of Paris. (The drive Paris - Nice is way more than six hours unless you're both race car drivers). Why waste that time and energy driving? If you are planning to stop along the route, it will take MUCH longer.

                                  Imho, much better to train quickly and get there and get a car locally to do your sightseeing if he must. I talked about "cariness" of Lyon and Nice in another post.

                                  There is TONS to see and do IN Lyon! I've been there 7 times and have really not seen everything. and all the food is NOT the same. However, renting an apartment for the few days you'll be there gives you an opportunity to lighten up even more. We really appreciated that.

                            2. UPDATED LIST:

                              Paris Dinners:
                              Pain vin Fromage fondu
                              Le Cinq (already got it booked)

                              Lunch somewhere to fit in:
                              Breizhcafe (crepes)
                              Restaurant Le 122 (if desired)

                              Maison Troisgros (for sure)

                              Guy Lassausaie
                              Philippe Gauvreau
                              Mere Brazier
                              le gourmand de seze
                              Daniel et Denise
                              Magali et Martin

                              Can anyone recommend any nice casual LIGHTER meals in Lyon?

                              Le bistro gourmand
                              les epicuriens
                              le flaveur

                              11 Replies
                              1. re: hungryabbey

                                Flaveur is excellent. You can even book on line.
                                The old town has two nice casual eateries: Da Acchiardo and Chez Palmyre. They are extremely popular. Must reserve.

                                1. re: Parigi

                                  Thank you! Which of the two casual eateries do you prefer?

                                2. re: hungryabbey

                                  "Can anyone recommend any nice casual LIGHTER meals in Lyon?"

                                  I usually retreat to a wine bar with nibbles or a cave à manger with lighter fare to recover from food à la lyonnaise exhaustion:
                                  O Vin d'Anges (evenings only) on the place Bertone in the 4th;
                                  and Le Vercoquin, rue Thibaudière in the 7th

                                  According to all my friends who live in or frequently visit Lyon, Palégrié on the rue Palais-Grillet is the new "unmissable" on the restaurant scene.

                                  1. re: Parnassien

                                    Thank you!! Thank you! Fabulous advice. Cheers.

                                  2. re: hungryabbey

                                    I would do Daniel et Denise and skip M & M... similar but D& D is much better... and Mere Brazier. was disappointed not to have gotten there in November. For lighter, I would head out to Villefranche sur Saone to Guy Lassausaie's brasserie. It sounds very appealing. There's a great Oyster bar in Les Halles. can't recall the name, but it's a great place for a light bite.

                                    We also loved Chez Hugon. It's a Bouchon, and Madame is a real kick!

                                    I would book a lunch at La Voute Chez Lea strictly for their outrageous Lyonnaise Salad. Trust me, you will neither want nor need anything else after that. It's HUGE!

                                    1. re: ChefJune

                                      Do you think Mere Brazier is better than Guy Lassausaie (the main restaurant) for one of my "nicer" meals?
                                      Looks like Villefranche sur Saone is at least 45 minutes away, but if we are in the area for lunch it would definitely be a good option.
                                      Does anyone have a preference between O vin d'anges and Vercoquin if I only went to one?

                                      Again, I am so sorry for all the questions, it must seem I can't make a decision for myself.. but honestly, when I can't read the menus, I have to rely on others a bit more than normal.

                                      1. re: hungryabbey

                                        Since I see the repeated theme that your dilemma is caused by your inability to read a French menu, I really recommend heading to the local library and checking out Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking". You have plenty of time between now and September to acquire an excellent working understanding of basic menu words. That, plus downloading Patricia Wells' menu translator http://patriciawells.com/glossary/ will make your visit much more enjoyable than taking others' word for which restaurant are worth visiting, since ultimately that judgement will have to be yours.

                                        1. re: hungryabbey

                                          I don't know where you are planning to stay, but I'm going to guess that Vercoquin is nowhere near it. O Vin d'Anges on the other hand, is in the Croix Rousse, and not too far from the famed covered market. I've never been to either place, so I can't recommend, except from a logistical point of view.

                                          I agree completely with mangeur about Patricia Wells' menu translator. You will use it to death, especially if you don't speak any French. I also recommend that between now and when you go, you get some sort of cd or dvd course and take yourself through the basics, so you are really comfortable with the basic niceties, as well as essentials such as "Ou est la toilette?" It's really not that difficult, and you will enjoy your trip all the more.

                                          1. re: ChefJune

                                            Thank you both ! I have Julia Childs book so I will go dig it up and go through it in addition to using the dictionary- great advice!

                                            If anyone has any more input on restaurants I would really appreciate it!

                                            1. re: hungryabbey

                                              Hungryabbey, I apologize if I sounded unsympathetic. It's just that much of the enjoyment of dining in France is reading the poetry of the menu, even in a simple country bistro. The food just sounds more delicious in French!

                                              When we are given an English menu, I always ask for the French version, since the English translations are impossible to correlate to known dishes much less make the dish sound desirable. So if you can crack it in French to even a small degree, your enjoyment will be markedly increased.

                                              1. re: mangeur

                                                Not at all. I agree with you, I will definitely need to brush up on those skills. My partner is much better with French, so he will be able to help. Regardless, I will be doing some reading, I just wanted to nail down the food itinerary as best as I could before I go.