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Nov 24, 2013 10:40 AM

Please Critique our Paris Itinerary December 2013

We will be taking our first trip to France next month and after religiously studying every aspect of restaurants in Paris, I think our Itinerary is close to finished. I just need confirmation from you guys because you are the experts.

December 18th-Arrival Day

Nothing Planned

December 19th-

Lunch at the Louvre

Dinner at Chez Denise (will I need reservations if I walk in at ~ 6:00/19:00?)

December 20th-

Lunch at Arpège (made reservations)

Dinner at Breizh Café (do I need reservations here as well?)

December 21st-

No planned lunch

Dinner at La Régalade Saint-Honoré

December 22nd-December 26th - Staying in Chamonix

December 26th-

Dinner at l'As du Fallafel

December 27th - Day trip to Versailles

Lunch in Versailles?

Dinner at Chez l'Ami Jean (yet to make reservations)

December 28th- Day trip to Rouen

Dinner at Little Breizh

December 29th-

Lunch at Le Cinq (made reservations via lafourchette)

Dinner at Au fil des saisons?

December 30th-

Lunch at Pierre Gagnaire (yet to make reservations)

Dinner at Joséphine chez Dumonet

December 31st- Depart back to US

Thank you in advance for your help!

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  1. "Lunch at the Louvre"
    Why not Le Rubis, which is within walking distance. Good wines, user-friendly casual, and much better atmosphere than the Louvre cafeteria.

    "Dinner at Chez Denise (will I need reservations if I walk in at ~ 6:00/19:00?)"

    Yes, reserve.

    "Dinner at Breizh Café (do I need reservations here as well?)"

    No. But Breizh is ok and not worth crossing town for.

    "Dinner at La Régalade Saint-Honoré"

    You can do better.

    "December 26th-
    Dinner at l'As du Fallafel"

    If you think you must go to l'As, go in the day time. Very depressing concept for evening.

    December 27th - Day trip to Versailles

    "Dinner at Chez l'Ami Jean (yet to make reservations)"

    Check. Often chez l'Ami Jean is closed for weeks in December.

    December 28th- Day trip to Rouen

    If l'Espiguette is open, very nice bistro in an exquisite corner of Rouen old town.

    "Dinner at Little Breizh"

    One (or two) too many Breizh eats.
    Why not another nice wine bar like La Tartine ?

    "Dinner at Au fil des saisons?"

    After Le Cinq ? Why ruin the day ? I'd do another wine bar, have a good red and charcuterie.

    "December 30th-
    Lunch at Pierre Gagnaire (yet to make reservations)
    Dinner at Joséphine chez Dumonet"

    Same problem. Skip Josephine chez Dumonet. Make Pierre Gagnaire your last memory of a Paris meal. A good wine bar with well-sourced charcuterie is always my answer as The Other (non-)Meal on major-meal days.

    8 Replies
    1. re: Parigi

      We will be traveling with a teenager, so unfortunately I don't think a wine bar will work.

      We wil go to Le Rubis too, it is right by our apartment.

      Breizh-Other suggestions? Not too far from our apartment.

      La Régalade Saint-Honoré- what do you suggest instead?

      l'As du fallafel- can't go during the day, while be coming on a train from Chamonix arriving at night

      l'Espiguette-had already planned for that before your suggestion

      Little Breizh- can I put joséphine in here? I really would like to go to there.

      Suggestions instead of Wine bars. I thought about cafe constant, where could i put that?

      Thank you for your help

      1. re: lhenry

        My teenager loves Breizh so it's worth crossing for her. It's also a cheap dinner. But, reservations are essential for dinner. I've seen more than many get without reservations get turned away. (NB My teenager and 20-something actually prefer West Country Girl -- certainly excellent for hipster atmosphere.)

        1. re: lhenry

          "We will be traveling with a teenager, so unfortunately I don't think a wine bar will work."
          This is France, duh. Sure it will.
          "Breizh-Other suggestions? Not too far from our apartment."
          Light meal not far from you ? Encore for delicate, light meal. Or Constot Vino for lively local vibes, honest wine-bar food, beautiful setting in a fabled Passage Couvert.
          "La Régalade Saint-Honoré- what do you suggest instead?"
          Must it be near St Honoré ? Can you walk ? For good light bistro food like Régalade but better: Chameleon on very hip street near République, or Constot Vino or Encore, whichever you rejectd for the other night. I suggest you not stick to near your apartment for restos.

          1. re: Parigi

            "I suggest you not stick to near your apartment for restos."
            As usual I agree.
            In Paris, nothing is very far by Metro.

            1. re: Parigi

              No it doesn't have to be near our apartment, but with that said I won't necessarily want to journey to the 20th for "light bistro food"

              Before I guess I didn't really understand what a wine bar was until I googled it, so in that case I am open to wine bars. Other than La Tartine which one's do you recommend.

              Chameleon is the most appealing to me so if you recommend instead of La Régalade than I will.

              Lastly, is Coinstot Vino a good replacement for L'as du Fallafel?

              1. re: lhenry

                Other wine bars I like are:
                - Bouclier de Bacchus: Great place to have charcuteries and cheese over a bottle that the never-wrong Philippe recommends. And his wines have no markup from his retail prices.
                - Autour d'un verre, in the 9th. Very hip vibes. Google Map says it's 21 minute walk to Le Rubis, where you say you live near.
                - Juvéniles, which should be quite near you.
                Autour d'un verre and Juvéniles are actually full-fledged restos with a wine focus, although they call themselves bars à vin. And they tend toward hearty dishes. If you want just some cold cuts and a glass of red, Bouclier de Bacchus is more your format.

                "I won't necessarily want to journey to the 20th for "light bistro food""
                Understandable. I don't either. I love to walk home after a meal.
                Most of the places I recommended are either in your arrondissement or in the neighboring arrondissements, from which you can walk home (much shorter walks than the ones I do). I would. :)
                After all, this is Paris, where Tender Is The Night, and nobody mugs you.
                You can find the walking distances between a given destination and your home by using Google Map.

              2. re: Parigi

                Also do you mean Coinstot Vino?

          2. Agree with Parigi's sage advice.

            Re wine bars, French families with teenagers don't have qualms taking their kids with them to a wine bar. Often there's little difference in ambiance between a wine bar and a bistro or café. Let the kid drink water or orangina.

            Chez Denise doesn't open until 7:30 ... the only time you can be sure of a table is 2:30am (it stays open until 5am)... so get a rezzie. If you want to eat at 6pm in Paris, your options are very limited and, other than crêperies and a few brasseries, not very satisfactory.

            Breizh Café has continuous hours so you can probably get a table as a walk-in before 7. Personally I never book a table at any crêperie because it seems against the spirit and tradition of such places. But Friday night can be very dicey.

            After lunch at Le Cinq, a VERY light dinner in waddling distance from your hotel, I think.... a plate of oysters at L'Ecume Saint Honoré (but, oops, only open for dinner on Fri + Sat) or a some charcuterie at Le Rubis (both on the rue du Marché Saint-Honoré) or some shared small plates at the very new and and very good Rostang off-shoot and carnivore's delight Café des Abattoirs on the rue Gomboust (but not sure if Abattoirs serves its bar menu after 7:30 so you'd have to check). Edit: Just noticed your Le Cinq lunch is a Sunday when both le Rubis and l'Ecume St-H are closed...Café des Abattoirs is however open 7/7 but since its a holiday week you will have to doublecheck.

            And just to re-iterate something mentioned on your other thread, the food at Arpège is 3-star, the decor is not ... so if you want a sense of luxury and exclusivity as well as excellent grub for your big-bucks meal, you ain't gonna get it.

            Lunch at Pierre Gagnaire and dinner at Joséphine on the same day is gross overkill. And maybe the very similar Joséphine and Denise in the same week is a bit redundant too. Going against the Chowhound current, Chez Denise is a keeper... Joséphine is a bit over-hyped and over-priced.

            Re Versailles. All will depend on the weather. And for some recs:

            Since it's holiday time, you will find that some of your choices are closed. Another reason to make rezzies since it's the only way to be sure what's open and what's not.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Parnassien

              Thank you for your expertise, we will now go to a wine bar (now that I understand them better, see above) As for dinner after Le Cinq Café des Abattoirs sounds appealing and will replace au dil des saisons.

              Aprège- I know realize it is a more informal 3-star but really only care about the food for that particular restaurant. Sevice and dining room will hopefully be attained at Le Cinq and/or Pierre Gagnaire.

            2. I've been trying to think of how to be of "help".
              In looking at your list/schedule you've successfully avoided the "usual suspects" here - Spring, Septime, Frenchie, etc., except Chez l'Ami Jean, but are missing a neo-gastro-bistro such as those on the rue Paul Bert as well as places chef'd by Japanese guys cooking French food, a nice list of which appeared in Figaroscope last week: Etude, Le Caviste Bio, H Kitchen, Encore, Les Enfants Rouges, Table, Passage 53,La Table d’Aki, Abri, L’Office, Clandestino, Le Sot l’y Laisse & Kei -

              7 Replies
              1. re: John Talbott

                Also Restaurant Es. I had a delicious dinner there, with especially super desserts (and great bread and butter).

                1. re: John Talbott

                  La table d'Aiki sounds appealing to me, but where would I be able to fit it in?

                  1. re: lhenry

                    "where would I be able to fit it in?"
                    I don't understand the question.

                    1. re: John Talbott

                      Is there any restaurant you would replace it with?

                      1. re: lhenry

                        "Is there any restaurant you would replace it with?"
                        1st day, although it's tough reaching them by phone (I usually wind up walking there and making the rez myself)
                        L'As du Falafel
                        Breizh, Little Breizh

                  2. re: John Talbott

                    John, what are your favourites out of those Japanese cooking french food? I've seen you list these quite often but I can't discern which do you like best? (and what about best with no price limit?)

                    1. re: quddous

                      First question.
                      Best recent - Les Enfants Rouges, then Encore, Clandestino, Abri, Aki
                      Second question.
                      Best blow out - Sola then Kei.
                      And yes I get the message, I make endless lists, it keeps me out of my wife's hair.
                      But don't just ask me, Parigi, Pti and Parnassien are "practiced in the art of deception" too, now where did that come from? Aging brains are great.

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