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A proposed itinerary for four days in May (and no, we're not going to Verjus after all!)

We have 4 days in Paris, and after much on-line reviewing of menus and CH posts, this is what I've come up with. Comments and suggestions are welcome. (We'll be renting an apartment on Rue Amelot, near the Filles de Calvaire metro.)
Arrive Friday afternoon, dinner at Cassenoix, and then a stroll by the Eiffel Tower, which we have never seen lit up. Touristy? Bien sur!
Saturday dinner @ Franck Enee.
Sunday 1 pm lunch at Cafe des Musees. Easy walking distance from our apartment.
Monday, lunch at Le 122; and dinner at Circonstances. Is that too much food for one day? My first great meal in Paris was at Hier et Au'jourhi, so I'd like to go to Circonstances to "recapture the magic." But if that seems like overkill, we'd probably walk to Le Barav for a light dinner with great wine.
Tuesday, sadly we fly home. . . .

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  1. Not sure why a person would decide in February where to eat in May since your picks are pretty low-key ... but anyway, suggest you re-check your Monday night choices as neither Circonstances nor Barav are open for dinner, at least according to their own websites.

    1 Reply
    1. re: shakti2

      The answer to your question is, total over-obsessiveness! And you're right, I mis-read the info for Circonstances, which looks open for lunch but not dinner on Mondays, if I read the website correctly.

    2. A plan is always good to have, but feel free to do what suits when the time comes. Picnics can be terrific on a pretty day.
      We enjoyed lunch with friends at Le 122 after a stroll through Musee Rodin and it's gardens. I had the tripe.

      1. Sounds good but I don't know Le Barav.

        26 Replies
        1. re: John Talbott

          Small local (neighborhood) wine bar, with a small but very well stocked wine store next door, and if I recall, you can buy your bottle of wine @ the shop and then walk next door to order your meal, and they charge a very minimal "corkage fee." And the food was quite good to boot!

          1. re: John Talbott

            John, I called Cassenoix for reservations, but they will be closed then. I asked for an alternative, and he suggested La Regalade (in the 14th). I saw that this was a place that you had enjoyed in the past, but I didn't see any recent posts, say within the last two years or so . . . .

            1. re: bauskern

              Correct; I've not been since the St Honore location opened (I went back with Souphie to see if it was still good which it was.).
              Remind me again what you're looking for; something around the Tower, a Casse Noix type place or something else?
              John

              1. re: John Talbott

                We are flying in from Florence in the afternoon of Friday May 2nd (and yes, I've already been taken to task for how far off in the future that is! . . . . ) We've never seen the Eiffel Tower lit up @ night, so we were going to have dinner and then take an evening stroll. I watched the video of Casse Noix and it looked like the perfect place for us -- low-key, not ostentatious, delicious food! When I called them, they said they were closed that night, but recommended La Regalade. (The original.) Most of the reviews now seem to focus on the newer, St. Honore version. (FWIW, we will be eating at Franck Enee the following night, and at Le 122 later on our vacation.) To give you a sense of our taste in food, my first meal ever at Hier et Au'jourdhi changed my life, and I absolutely loved our dinners last year at Metropolitain (I know that's not one of your favs) and Le Galopin.

                1. re: bauskern

                  I'm not Dr T but wouldn't sub la Regalade for Casse Noix if in search of low-key etc etc. Casse Noix is indeed all that but my sole experience at la Regalade was a much less comfortable one with a very tight crowd of (mostly) tourists, harassed staff coping with menu translation and ferrying supposedly under-cooked food back to the kitchen, and so on. Good food though, nice products, nicely-cooked, I particularly recall remember good game dishes, but overall not a visit I'd care to repeat - this was perhaps 3, 4 years ago.

                  Maybe Cantine du Troquet on blvd de Grenelle would work for you ? It is maybe a tad more boisterous than Casse Noix and the other places you mention, but good fun and good food. No reservations from what I recall, don't know if that makes over-obsessing easier or harder ...

                  1. re: shakti2

                    It is a no reservation resto . . . . wow, that might be a challenge for me! I appreciate the feedback on La Regalade.

                  2. re: bauskern

                    FWIW, the most spectacular night view I can remember of the Tour Eiffel was from Berthillon on the Ile St. Louis. Quite a distance. When I got close up, there were too many people and it was more like a giant amusement park ride. Somehow the distance lends enchantment for me, at least. I'd be more focused on a great place for dinner. You can get to the tower pretty easily from all over Paris, especially the central part.

                    1. re: ChefJune

                      Excellent advice! A couple of years ago, friends of ours went to visit Paris, and their teen-aged daughter posted pictures of the Tower as it was all lit up at night, and my wife and I looked at each other and said, "Did you know it got all lit up?" To be fair, we had only been to Paris in late June, and went to bed around 10:30, so the lights might not even have been on then!
                      I appreciate your thought about just focusing on the restaurant -- we're now looking into Astier, which seems like the sort of place which would appeal to us -- low-key, good food, relaxed service . . .

                      1. re: bauskern

                        I think it only lights up (with the twinkling lights) for 10 minutes on the hour starting at dusk - at other times it only has floodlights illuminating it. It can be seen from lots of vantage points - the steps of the Palais de Chaillot is perfect - but less good for food options.

                        1. re: PhilD

                          If I recall correctly, it's less than 10 minutes during the non-summer months, but it does happen on the hour.

                        2. re: bauskern

                          I'm very quartier-centric local so the notion of eating in one part of Paris and then whizzing off to another destination/ activity in another neighbourhood seems quite unnatural and unnecessarily inconvenient to me. If the Eiffel Tower is the centrepiece of your evening, you can easily find a nearby resto in the 7th, 15th or 16th that slides into your plans. Eating at a distant resto and then taking the métro for your Tour d'Eif viewing somehow gets in the way of the magic.

                          Some suggestions:
                          In the 16th, dinner at the charming and delightfully trad La Chaumette (classic but relaxed ambiance) on the rue Gros and then a stroll along the Allée des Cygnes on a sliver of an island in the Seine between the Pont de Grenelle and the Pont Bir Hakeim... a scaled down replica of the Statue of Liberty on the Pont de Grenelle end and an outlook with stunning views of the Eiffel Tower on the Pont Bir Hakeim... maybe a 2-km very pleasant walk from restaurant to the base of the Eiffel Tower;
                          In the 15th, the bustling no-rezzie Cantine du Troquet Dupleix on the boulevard de Grenelle, or cheap and cheerful Au Dernier Métro or the more calm and relaxed Le Volant on the rue Béatrix Dussane off the rue Lourmel... and then a walk across the Pont Bir Hakeim to the ave Président Kennedy to the Jardins du Trocadéro to the Pont d'Iéna to the Eiffel Tower;
                          In the 7th, Restaurant FL on the rue Augereau for modern French cuisine and a very relaxed ambiance or Philippe Excoffier on the rue de l'Exposition for excellent modern French nosh and a calm and refined but relaxed ambiance or the new-ish Bistro Belhara on the rue Duvivier for updated classics and the sort of relaxed ambience you like .... and then a walk to the Champ de Mars for your light show.

                          Sunset at the beginning of May is around 9pm.

                          1. re: Parnassien

                            All your suggestions, as always, Parnassien, are spot on but I cannot figure out why Philippe Excoffier gets no respect here.
                            "Statue of Liberty" You mean the Princess Diana memorial? - just went by and the flowers keep appearing despite what Mayor D. tried to do.

                            1. re: John Talbott

                              No, the quarter-scale replica of the Statue of Liberty at the western tip of the Ile aux Cygnes... the Princess Di death cult is centered on the Flamme de la Liberté on the place de l'Alma.

                              1. re: Parnassien

                                Something of a blight. Although more public, not unlike Jim Morrison's grave.

                                1. re: jock

                                  But at least with Morrison you get a hit.

                                  1. re: jock

                                    The Princess Di flowers do, however, have a purpose. There's an eccentric old titled lady who "borrows" the bouquets to decorate her once glorious apartment on the rue des Frères Périer.

                                    1. re: Parnassien

                                      I learn the most interesting things here. Merci.

                                      1. re: Parnassien

                                        who "borrows" the bouquets to decorate her once glorious apartment
                                        what a great idea!

                                        1. re: John Talbott

                                          No wonder I saw none today. Usually there are tons.

                                          1. re: Parigi

                                            I'm cheap, really cheap, but I don't steal flowers from graves, flower-shops or monuments.
                                            And to get back OT, I buy edible flowers.

                                    2. re: Parnassien

                                      Exactly - there is no Diana memorial people mistake the Flamme de la Leberté for a Diana memorial - however it really has nothing to do with her.

                                    3. re: John Talbott

                                      Re the excellent Philippe Excoffier. Yes, certainly no traction here on Chowhound... and all the more mysterious because it's in the middle of Americantouristland. But the Chowhound universe is a baffling place and does not seem to be able to cope with the amazing abundance of very good restaurants in Paris. Another overlooked but more than worthy place (among the 100s of very good restos off the CH radar) that only you, Mme Mangeur, and myself seem to know about, L'Antre Amis down near the place Breteuil.

                                    4. re: Parnassien

                                      Thanks so much for all your input. We're staying on Rue Amelot, I think near the boundary of the 3rd and 11th, so I've started to focus there, thinking we might be tired from the day, and depending on what time our plane actually arrives, it might be too crazy as you suggest to rush to eat in place A and then journey across the city to place B. I know I'm getting way too over-obsessive about Friday night's dinner . . . . debating between Les Enfants Rouge; Rino; 6 Paul Bert; Septime (if we could get a seat -- seems difficult); Ober Sale; and Astier. Astier is only a block or two away from the apartment, and it sounds like 20 years ago it was amazing, but some reviews led me to believe that it is no longer what it used to be. I also think I might get carried away with their cheese board! (PS my wife thinks I'm way over-analyzing this, and she'll be happy wherever we wind up!) But as many others have pointed out, when you're in Paris for only a limited # of days, you really don't want to be disappointed in your restaurant choices.

                                        1. re: bauskern

                                          Bauskern l'Obnubilé... no worries... it's not a Sophie's choice but a win-win.

                                          On your first night and if you are junking your Eiffel Tower plan, I see no reason to bother with leaving the neighbourhood for a good meal. Les Enfants Rouges on the rue de Beauce has the best food, longest (if 8 minutes counts as long) but most interesting walk and, if you have an early meal, you can make a little detour on your way back to Mary Gelateria (closes at 9) on the rue Charles-François Dupuis for some delish ice cream. Ober-Salé on the rue Oberkampf is the shortest walk and a "welcome to the neighbourhood" sort of place with very good cuisine and delightful service... when booking, make sure you specify a table in the window. Astier is only 5-minutes away, still very good (but not -- and never has been-- "amazing") and capable of delivering a very enjoyable meal.

                                          Plus you have lots of hanging-out options before or after your meal... Le Barav wine bar, l'Entrée des Artistes cocktail bar, Le Progrès people-watching café, Le Charlot café, Mary Celeste, Le Clown Bar, etc etc.

                                          But it will be May Day weekend so maybe some complications with closings.

                          2. Interesting choices. Can you tell us how or what you order at Franck Enee?

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: mangeur

                              "Can you tell us how or what you order at Franck Enee"
                              I'm not sure to whom this is addressed, but my last two meals give one some idea of what he dishes out:
                              http://johntalbottsparis.typepad.com/...
                              http://johntalbottsparis.typepad.com/...
                              Parnassien, now gasping for air off Oman, likes it too.
                              I'm always stumped when someone asks me what to order anyplace because if one/I cannot order anything on the menu/aka carte and only steers towards one or more "signature" dishes, I think the place doesn't rise to a recommendable place. (Caveat: Sure I did sure go to Chez Les Anges in the old days for the thick liver and M. Lapin for the lievre a la royale).
                              I used to keep a list of places that essentially said - "Only go here for the coq au vin, fish soup a volonte, entrecote, etc". But how much fun is that?
                              Maybe I'm misunderstanding you M.
                              Enee is interesting, fresh, pushing the envelope but not too far and quite different from most places downtown.
                              I suspect you might not like it but I do.

                              1. re: John Talbott

                                John, I was confuffled by the carte and wondered if the decouverte was the way to go or if one should rely on instinct and choose course by course. Hmm. How to put it. The pics just didn't compute with the dishes listed.

                                1. re: mangeur

                                  Hummmm.
                                  I rarely go decouverte unless in St Paul so when we've been to Enee I've just ordered what I wanted.
                                  Tell you what - it's central, so drift by someday and scope it out and maybe it'll appeal. And maybe not.
                                  John