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Experiencing Paris through food?

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We are going to Paris for 4 nights with 2 other couples at the end of August for my husband's 50th birthday and we would like to eat at restaurants with various cuisine that are located in different areas of the city as part of our "tour". We want to try bistros, brasseries, cafés and restaurants with cuisine ranging from (slightly) haute cuisine, traditional, rustic, nouveau, etc. We also want to eat at some places that offer an interesting or fun experience. Whew! Not too big of an expectation, huh?

Here is what we have :
Breakfast: Cafe Flore (historical/literary reasons)
Lunch: Le Cordonnerie (1e) - or should we go here for dinner since this is a popular "pub" area.
Reed (7e)
Les Papilles (5e) or Marche des Enfants Rouges (3e)
Septime (11e)
Dinner: Spring
Les Closerie Lilas (fun "party" night?)
Taillevent (8e) little more high end than we would really like
or David Toutain (7e)
La Petit Rose des Sables (10e)
Late night snack at Chez Denise

Would you switch any of the lunches and dinners? Are La Petit... Cordonnaire and Reed too similar to do all 3? Just writing this I've gained 5 pounds! Thanks for your help!!

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  1. I've only eaten at two of your listed sites, so don't have much to say . . . I could tell you that I was quite underwhelmed with our dinner @ Septime, as was my wife, but that seems to be a real minority opinion. But have you checked that all these places are open in August? That to me is the primary question. The other thing is, it looks like you're packing an awful lot of food into your four days. To me, I'd be stuffed after day 2 quite frankly. And then, where's the time to explore the neighborhoods, visit a museum or two, do some shopping? This itinerary seemingly involves little more than eating and then digesting . . . .

    3 Replies
    1. re: bauskern

      Yep - August is going to be the big issues, especially late August as many don't open until after the public holiday at the end of the month.

      1. re: PhilD

        Which public holiday is that? I see Assumption of Mary is a national holiday on Aug. 15. I'm curious as I'll also be in Paris Aug. 31-Sept. 4. Thanks.

        1. re: Frosty Melon

          Apologies - I thought it was a little later. That said the schools in Paris are back on the 1st September so many will be away until that weekend and business will probably start to reopen from the 2nd.

    2. La Petite Rose des Sables and La Cordonnerie are both cheap old-school tourist restos... I haven't been to either in years and neither were good enough to warrant a return visit... to refresh my memory, I did a google search and found both highly rated on Tripadvisor... suspiciously, French language reviews there and on other sites are very rare and way less positive than English-speaking tourists' reviews... not sure if they therefore qualify for your experiencing Paris through food theme since it's not a Paris that many locals experience. And neither have anything in common with the relatively good, more refined, and more expensive Reed.

      Taillevent's newer sibling Les 110 de Taillevent is much better value and more relaxed.

      Chez Denise doesn't usually do snacks until after midnight (depends how busy they are) so I hope by "late night" you meant the wee hours... it's open until 5am.

      While at La Closerie des Lilas, don't overlook the sparkling Piano Bar for an after-dinner drink.

      1. "Marche des Enfants Rouges (3e)"
        Do you mean picking up food from the stands in the market or Les Enfants Rouges across the street which is superb?
        I know neither Le Cordonnerie nor La Petit Rose des Sables and haven't been to the big Taillevent (vs 110) in years but I think D. Toutain is an interesting, bold, different place and I disagree with others about Reed which I quite like.

        1. Thanks to everyone. You have been very helpful. Yes, I know it was a food inge list, but I wanted to start out with a big list and then winnow it down. That being said, my list has certainly gotten smaller with your useful information about all of the August closures! I currently have confirmed that Toutain, La Closerie des Lilas, Spring and Chez Denise are open. Reed, Cordonnaire, Taillevent and Les Papilles are closed while we are there.