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August Beaune/Paris draft at last!

Months of research, including research into who is closed in August (at http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/977762), I finally have a draft plan. The parameters are that I am traveling with wife and 2 boys (an always-ravenous 10 year old, and an 8 year old who doesn’t like knowing where "pork" comes from - so no severed heads on the table!), and that on our dates (August 1-10), choices are more limited. We are spending the first 3 days just outside of Beaune acclimating (and drinking red Burgundy), then 6 in Paris (9th).

Beaune:
Saturday arrival and dinner at nearby “Aupres du Clocher” in Pommard (which will just have reopened from summer vacation, which they take in July).

Sunday lunch at “La Ruchotte” (so excited!); tour Fallot mustard factory in Beaune in the afternoon, and cheese shopping at Alain Hess (for what will have to be a light dinner after the farmhouse feast).

Monday: Plan “A” is to visit Fromagerie Gaugry, then have Lunch at Chez Guy (reserved), and spend the afternoon tasting Gevrey-Chambertin wines; Plan “B” fromagerie Gaugry, light lunch, visit Domaine Jadot @3pm for a guided tour, and dinner at Christophe Queaunt (in Pommard and close to place of stay). I need some help between these 2 options.

Tuesday: arrive in Paris (attempting Versailles on the drive in from Beaune). Eat at nearby Bistrot Capucine (closest option, with happy hour 6-8pm – assuming they are not closed in August), or Brasserie Flottes.

Wednesday: after visiting Ste. Chapelle and Notre Dame in the morning, lunch at (proximate) Restaurant AT (a little risky with kids, who pay the full 45E rate according to the restaurant). Dinner at Le BAT (because it can be a light dinner – tapas style).

Thursday: not sure what part of the city we will descend on, but have a (8pm) reservation at Saturne. This is the biggest risk of the trip, because of the time (8pm) formality (fairly upscale) and the uncertainty of how a ‘no choice’ menu will be configured for the kids (worst-case is a full 65E price for dinner, which is equal to what they would cost at Spring for ‘kid portion’ anyway).

Friday: Assuming we save the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe for this day, considering lunch with a view at Ciel de Paris (not exactly nearby). We will probably be hungry enough for dinner after that smaller lunch, so perhaps Les Cartes Postales or Le Petit Colbert that night.

Saturday: wide open. As we get further into August, more places are closed, but one option taking reservations is Lazare (seems to be one of the rare places where lunch and dinner cost the same – and both pretty expensive at that). I made an online dinner reservation, but will have to investigate more.

The wild card is Chez L’Ami Jean – I’d do that on the Friday or final Saturday for sure, but as of today (mid-June) they are still saying “closed the entire month” and so, like Frenchie, I think I have to just accept the loss and move on.

Thoughts, comments and criticisms (ex ”don’t you dare take kids to Saturne/AT”) welcomed.

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  1. I'm on the "dare to take kids anywhere" team.

    1. Looks like a great plan to me! On the Burgundy section for Choice A or B, both would be good. Might be nice to wind down with a nice dinner close to home base & have more time to roam the countryside with a shorter lunch. Then again, might be nice to do a meal outside of Pommard, so....

      1. You aren't going to like what I have to say, but I am going to post it anyway.
        Paris is not for 8-year and 10-year olds. You ought to take them to regions where there are outdoor activities for them - the Alps and the Jura, for example.
        FYI I used to counsel independent travelers. Families I sent to those parts enjoyed their time in France.

        9 Replies
        1. re: collioure

          No, I don't like it. My son at 8 or 10 would have found much to enjoy in Paris, both on the streets and in restaurants. We took him everywhere, and it shows now.

          Unfortunately, at those ages, he never got to Paris. But he did enjoy Athens, Rome, Florence, Venice and London.

          1. re: mangeur

            As I have said before, many times, I've had my kids and grandkids visit me in Paris many times when they were 3 months, through 8 and 10, to their maturity. Age-appropriate distraction devices from crayons through jump-ropes (we have an active seller of them on my street) to books or Kindles usually solve any ants-in-the-pants issues. Plus, usually they are more insistent on walking and climbing everywhere than I am.

          2. re: collioure

            We gave the kids the choice of where they wanted to go this summer, and Paris was their pick. We have previously taken them to the Swiss Alps, the Swedish countryside, Copenhagen, Mosel Valley, Milan, Bellagio and throughout the US and Canada - so they are sufficiently well-traveled to make an informed decision (much more than I was at their age!).

            This trip has a mix of city AND country (farms, cheese and mustard factories, wineries). But to warn someone off of Paris entirely contributes to the very serious problem of American isolationism (there are 2 types of Americans: world-travelers and republicans - just joking... the loud obnoxious yanks in your restaurants are obviously republicans).

            1. re: non sequitur

              What did your children expect to do in Paris when they made that choice?

              1. re: non sequitur

                My assumption is that 8 & 10, and given your previous travels they are well socialized to restaurants and know how to behave and sit and enjoy the meal. If so I see no issue with your choices although Saturne is quite serious - but the food combination may spark some interest and/or disdain.

                Beaune to Paris via Versailles maybe a stretch for a drive, as you get closer to Paris the traffic gets worse. August maybe your saviour as it will be better around the Periphique.

              2. re: collioure

                We took our son to Paris at 8 and he had a fine time. We spent time doing "kids" stuff outdoors, in the Luxembourg gardens and the amusement park in the Bois de Boulogne. But we also did lots of standard tourist stuff, which he found very accessible -- some obvious like the Bateau Mouche ride on the Seine and some less so -- he was overwhelmed with the beauty of Ste Chappelle after practically throwing a tantrum that he did not want to visit a church. It also helped that he was mad about Monet, so loved visits to the Marmottan, Orangerie, and a day-trip Giverney. (The employees of the Ministry of Culture engaged in a 1-day wildcat strike on our final day in Paris, when we'd planned to go to Musee D'Orsay, so he missed that).

                Of course it depends on the kids but if the OP's have actually asked to go to Paris, they will love it.

                1. re: masha

                  I don't see those destionations on our OP's itinerary.

                  1. re: collioure

                    Actually there is more overlap in the itineraries than my post would have indicated. He mentions Ste Chapelle (as did I), as well as Notre Dame, the Arc de Triomphe. and the Eiffel Tower. We did all 4; were in Paris for a week so I did not mention everything.

                2. re: collioure

                  I wonder how kids manage to grow up in Paris (as I did, but perhaps it was so tough that I decided to obliterate the memory).

                3. Re Collioure's advice/ "Paris is not for 8-year and 10-year olds"
                  I'm never sure how Collioure acquires his views... certainly not by recent experience or being well-informed. Paris has always been a very kid-friendly city and, thanks to the quality-of-life programmes of our previous (2001-2014) and very popular mayor, the city is even more exceptionally fun for kids. The fabulous Paris Plage from 19 July to 17 Aug along the Seine between the Tuileries and the Pont de Sully in the 1st and 4th, on the "parvis" of Hotel de Ville in the 4th, and around the bassin de la Villette in the 19th is totally amazing... the fun of a summer camp plus the culture and entertainment (lots of free music concerts) of Paris. And the outdoor cinema (with some English language films) with picnics, kid's activities, a hands-on science museum and music centre in the Parc de Villette in the 19th. And the transformation of many museums operated by the Ville de Paris into places of discovery and creation rather than just gawking as you shuffle though. And of course the Luxembourg, the awesome Jardin des Plantes, the Tuileries (with its summer fête), the Parc Floreal, etc etc etc. Once any school hols loom the newspapers and blogs are full of kid-friendly activities... just like good restaurants in Paris, the options for what to do with the kids are too many, not too few.

                  Re non sequitur's restos
                  I do quibble with his planning impulses. Not my way of enjoying Paris where there so many possibilities that spontaneity and the unplanned work quite well and more importantly reflect the rhythm of la vie parisienne. Mais chacun son truc... if fixing his schedule to a list of restaurants makes him happy, so be it. Yet, I would suggest that if he has doubts about Saturne (and I would add Restaurant AT to the doubtful list as well) being a family-appropriate restaurant (which it is certainly not) then don't go... although I like the cuisine and style a lot, there are lots of alternatives that might be more suitable... no restaurant in Paris is unmissable even during August when the choices are reduced by a third.

                  21 Replies
                  1. re: Parnassien

                    I'm always surprised when I walk past an elementary school, see a kid, hear a kid, etc. I think to myself: "Heed the counsellor of independent travellers: there are no kids in Paris."

                    I'd balk, as if seeing a ghost. These can't possibly be kids. Not in Paris. I'd do a quick turn. It doesn't seem like I'm in Jura. Am I hallucinating?

                    As it turns out, Paris is fine for kids. French parents bring their kids to eat in restaurants. It's kind of sad that portions and courses aren't adjusted for kids (in terms of size), especially a kid willing to eat at a restaurant like AT. That being said, I have taken a child younger than yours to a very well-regarded sushiya in Tokyo, and I'm pretty sure they were treated better than I was!

                    Isn't a well-mannered child with an adventurous appetite not the holy grail of diners? Not only have you appeased their parents (who will surely speak of the experience to others), but you've also appeased the child (who will remember their experience for ages)?

                    Plus, as Parnassien has explained, there's roughly a zillion things to do with kids in Paris. August isn't the ideal moment, but there is still plenty "pour les mômes."

                    1. re: yakionigiri

                      "These can't possibly be kids. Not in Paris."
                      A bit OT but I moved last year besides a school and love the buzz and bells and energy. There are kids in Paris.

                      1. re: John Talbott

                        I live near a few schools as well, and there are even kids in our building! My daughter has been experiencing Paris since age 6, and her culinary knowledge and predilections are admirable.

                        1. re: Nancy S.

                          Isn't Paris one of the few cities in the world which still has a residential core with just about every area having housing. Unlike lots of cities that hollowed out with just offices and shops - although that is changing. So obviously the place is full of kids, there are schools everywhere, and restaurants are very kid friendly as a result.

                          Its also wise to remember having kids is well supported by the government as they encourage families to have more kids via allowances etc. Being a Mum with lots of kids is a symbol of pride in France.....so it is a kid friendly country.

                            1. re: Nancy S.

                              I wasn't replying directly to your post.

                              Also I don't think that's irony. Irony would be: there are no schools, no apartment has kids, and your daughter's culinary knowledge etc is worse because she lives in Paris.

                    2. re: Parnassien

                      Quite agree. Our son, at 8-9-10, loved Paris. And Berlin. I *generally* trust parents to know what their own can appreciate and handle, and of course you can take advantage of many kid-friendly activities also available in Paris.

                      On your A/B issue, as already said both would be good, and we enjoyed both restos just a few weeks ago, but I'd break the tie by opting for Gevrey, just for change of scene. -- Jake

                      1. re: Jake Dear

                        "On your A/B issue ... I'd break the tie by opting for Gevrey, just for change of scene."

                        Chez Guy it is then! Thanks J.D.

                      2. re: Parnassien

                        Allow me to take exception to this critique. I've seen just about every sight of merit in Paris, and there isn't that much for children of 8 and 10 years old. If you're creative, you can do it. But you must think of them first. OP's adult itinerary isn't such.

                        Who knows? Maybe the kids will be let loose in a Paris amusement park instead of being dragged to Versailles, Notre Dame and the Arc de Triomphe.

                        You know, somehow I perceive that the likes of Lake Annecy, the Aiguille du Midi, Mt Blanc, the Mer de Glace, the Cirque de Baume et al just might capture their attention more easily and permanently.

                        1. re: collioure

                          Collioure,
                          I was dealing with your unambiguous and very untrue declaration that Paris is not suitable for 8- and 10-year olds. Of course the standard tourist trail favored by you and your favourite guide book author can lead to a very passive glassy-eyed experience for both adults and children... but that's a totally different topic. And whether or not the OP is willing to take advantage of the huge number of excellent options that will allow his kids a very enjoyable less-than-adult experience is also another topic.

                          I'd be interested to know how well you know Paris. When exactly and for how long was your last stay in Paris ? 30 years ago doesn't count nor does changing planes or trains or an overnight at a hotel in Orly or Roissy.

                          1. re: Parnassien

                            Thanks but no thanks. BTW I don't follow Rick Steves in Paris. Anyway there's nothing left for me to see there except Dejeuner sur l'Herbe a fith time which I always enjoy.

                            Off the top of my head I could list at least ten excellent destinations for kids in Paris. Unfortunately I don't see any of them above.

                            Take your kids to the countryside of France (and that's not wine-tasting in Burgundy!). Let them come to Paris on their own when they mature.

                            1. re: collioure

                              "Off the top of my head I could list at least ten excellent destinations for kids in Paris"

                              Really ? Do share.

                              And I'm fascinated by your statement "there's nothing left for me to see there". I've lived most of my 36 years in Paris and am still discovering amazing things about her.

                              1. re: Parnassien

                                I would, but you don't deserve it.

                                I tried - already at 15.

                                1. re: collioure

                                  It's not for me ... It's for other Chowhounders with kids who might benefit from your undoubtedly vast knowledge. Or maybe not.

                                  And already at 15 suggestions off the top of your head ?! Sounds like even you think that your declaration that Paris is not for kids is wrong.

                                  1. re: Parnassien

                                    When the question comes up again. This OP is not interested.

                                    1. re: collioure

                                      Maybe because this board is for food & wine - for adults (although some people often don't act like adults, but that's neither here nor there.)

                                      The OP came here for advice on food, restaurants & wine, not to ask what activities to do with children. He either has plans for that already (which he is not obligated to list on Chowhound of all places) or he's using another source for ideas.

                                      He does not list every minute of every day, so how could you possibly judge his parenting skills, which is what this sounds like to me?

                                      To the OP, I agree with whomever said Saturne is a bit more "serious" so might rethink that one.

                                      1. re: VaPaula

                                        Quite right VaPaula: I didn't list all the NON-food activities planned, (Seine by boat, sewers, catacombs, gardens and parks).

                                        Chowhound (for me at least) is about food, not tourism generally - I think it would be an abuse of the board and its contributors to even ASK about anything non-food. For this reason I'm kind of overlooking the discussion on whether Paris is for kids, which wasn't solicited and off-topic.

                                        So there is more planned than eating to be sure, but food is a significant element of the trip too: my kids are more interested in food than staring at the endless paintings in the Louvre.

                                2. re: Parnassien

                                  Yes, I also found that statement fascinating.
                                  I was born just a few steps West of the pont de Suresnes, grew up Here until age 6, then came back at age 10 and grew to love Paris with a passion. I don't even think I've seen or experienced one tenth of what it has to offer.

                                  Children before 10 are just as sensitive to beauty as any grown person, if not much more for some individuals. Paris is a wonder for kids, whether they live there or not.

                                  I find most of Collioure's answers beyond mind-boggling. They seem to relate to some weird, twisted parallel reality somewhere in outer space.

                                  Rediscovering my native city at age 10 after a three-year stay in the South was a total dazzle, and remained so for ever since.

                                  1. re: Ptipois

                                    "Children before 10 are just as sensitive to beauty as any grown person." So true. I have to elaborate on my comments upthread about my 8 year old's reluctance to visit Ste Chapelle and his reaction once we did.

                                    It had been a long day and it was our last planned stop. There was a line, of course, but not very long and it was moving fast. He was very insistent that he did not want to visit another church (we were coming from ND). He got overruled. As millions of visitors before, we entered on the lower level. After after a few minutes there, we went upstairs and he was blown away. We were lucky that it was a sunny day. We did what every tourist does, walking from window to window and then sitting for a while to take it all in. We got up to go and I asked him if he wanted to buy a postcard. He did, so we stopped at the shop in the lower level. As I was paying for the card, he looked up at me and asked: "Mommy, can we go back upstairs?" Of course we did.

                                    There are country vacations and city vacations that you can do with children. We did both and I'd never have it any other way.

                                    1. re: masha

                                      Ste Chapelle? of course! near the end of the day
                                      Notre Dame ?

                            2. re: collioure

                              I don't know I still remember standing in St Mark's Sq in Venice at age 7 and marvelling at every castle and old house we passed. I am certain any kid would love the fountains of Versailles and it would be an odd kid not to get excited by Parisienne chocolate shops and patisseries.

                          2. Take the kids everywhere. We have taken our children (8 and 6) to Aupres de Clocher several times. This year they went to Lameloise and loved it. In Paris they have been to plenty of places over the years without incident. The only problem we have ever had was at La Ferme de la Ruchotte where Madame was really quite rude.

                            We always take plenty of things along for them to do (sticker and colouring in books) and our iphones are good baby sitting devices when the going gets tough.

                            10 Replies
                            1. re: jeremyholmes

                              Jeremy: your 2012 post (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/845675) was very encouraging to read in this regard, and sold me on it!

                              1. re: non sequitur

                                I was just advised today that Aupres du Clocher has extended their summer closure until August 6. A bit of a bummer for me given that I had (I thought) a reservation for tomorrow (August 2). Now I have to scramble for something on a peak Saturday night in peak travel season. Will try for last minute at Ch. de Pommard, but any other thoughts.

                                1. re: non sequitur

                                  Le Vendangerot in Rully, just south of Chagny might be a possibility. Checkout their website and opinions on other boards.
                                  http://www.vendangerot.fr/ElementsSou...

                                  1. re: non sequitur

                                    Don't know whether La Part des Anges wine bar is open, but you could check. 24 B Rue Alsace, 21200 Beaune, +33 3 80 22 07 68

                                    We stumbled onto it last visit and had a really lovely dinner there. It's right in the middle of Beaune.

                                    1. re: non sequitur

                                      From memory, Meursault has the liveliest town centre around those parts short of heading back into Beaune. There are a couple of inexpensive cafe/ bistro type places around the main square, and a more ambitious place 'Le Chevreuil' which should be google-able.

                                      But why not just ask your hotel for suggestions and leave it to them to ring around in search of a dinner table, while you head out to enjoy the day ?

                                      1. re: shakti2

                                        Good point - They did call around and I may have a spot at ch d pommard (more expensive and formal, but under the circumstances totally ok with me).
                                        I'll keep the wine bar tucked away just in case Chef June!

                                        1. re: non sequitur

                                          We really enjoyed tasting at Chateau de Pommard, but didn't dine there.

                                  2. re: jeremyholmes

                                    "The only problem we have ever had was at La Ferme de la Ruchotte where Madame was really quite rude."
                                    I remember you said that Madame told your son not to put his shoes on the chair. The best is for parents to tell their children so. It is indeed more humiliating when the rest of the world teaches them manners.

                                    1. re: Parigi

                                      Just to clarify, that JH quote was for another place on my Burgundy itinerary (properly identified by Parigi, just not in the link referenced in my post). Like his review of Aupres du Clocher (my link), it was equally informative, and I will educate on footwear placement accordingly.

                                      1. re: non sequitur

                                        Travel is an exceptionally good vehicle for teaching about cultural difference, values and life styles. I remember our son noticing that the sheets were "old" at our auberge in Rome. Yes, they were indeed, More accurately called vintage or antique, huge lace borders, meticulously ironed. The house actually hired a minion who sat in a dimly lit closet and mended them. Our son had never seen a mended sheet. But here we had the wonderful opportunity to teach him about appreciating and preserving beauty. At other times, settings seemed very simple by our standards, resulting in conversations about how something ordinary to one person may be very special to another.