Dining alone in Paris

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Sep 24th, 2000, 01:40 PM
  #1
Alma
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Dining alone in Paris

Will I stick out like a sore thumb eating alone in a Cafe/Resturant during the evening in Paris? I'm in my mid 50's and my husband is not going on this trip. It's my first time in Europe and I do like good food. I'm not used to eating alone, but I want to go to Paris and if that's the only way then...!
Has anyone had a problem dining alone in resturants?
 
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Sep 24th, 2000, 02:39 PM
  #2
Bob Brown
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I don't think a woman dining alone would have any problems at a Paris restaurant.
My general finding is that the Parisians tend to leave you alone. I asked my wife for her "take" on the situation.
She agrees with me. She says she has seen more than one solo diner in our trips to Paris. I would stick to the nicer areas of town, however. I don't think you should go wandering around Montmarte at night, period.
Our hotels the past two years have been in the 6th and 14th Arrondissements.
Boulevard Montparnasse is well lighted at night and tends to be crowded. There are quite a few good restaurants between the Tower and the end of the avenue somewhere on the east side of the crossing with Boulevard Raspail.
 
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Sep 25th, 2000, 01:48 PM
  #3
Christina
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I dine alone in Paris a lot and find it easier than in the US, at least in cafes. It is quite common for a woman to sit down alone in a cafe, regardless of the hour, don't worry. I don't go to fancy restaurants much so can't speak too much for them, but I think it may be more "difficult" there, not that they wouldn't serve you but I was treated extremely rudely in a St-Germain restaurant because I was a woman alone. The food was good, but the service people completely ignored me and I am pretty sure that was the reason as there was no other explanation (I speak French and was dressed nicely)--they attended to and waited on couples who came in after me long before taking my order, etc. That was the Relais St-Germain right on bd St Germain which is too bad as it is a very good restaurant with some of the best profiterolles in Paris, which is why I went there. If you can get over being snubbed (it just took me forever to get my meal, etc), they didn't do anything else unusual to me. I have eaten in modestly-priced restaurants also with no problem and was not treated rudely, so my advice is no problem with bistros, brasseries, and cafes; more expensive restaurants may ignore you and treat you poorly. But, for nice sidewalk cafes (and many serve decent meals like grilled liver, steaks, etc), I feel more comfortable in Paris dining alone than in the US--you will see many women of all ages seated alone in cafes.
 
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Sep 25th, 2000, 04:57 PM
  #4
Lesli
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Alma -

I took my last trip to Paris alone, and was quite comfortable dining solo at the moderately priced restaurants at which I dined. Many were recommended here on the forum and/or by Cheap Eats, and were for the most part smaller places on the left bank. I was able to find half bottles or small carafes of wine nearly everywhere, and one restaurant which did not have half bottles allowed me to open a full-sized one and pay only for what I drank. (Much more accomodating than most U.S. establishments!)

I usually bring my travel journal along with me, and write notes about my day (and my meal!) while waiting between courses. The people-watching is also fun. Enjoy your trip!
 
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Sep 25th, 2000, 04:57 PM
  #5
Jayelle
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I would agree with Christina's comments about dining alone. I also find it is much more comfortable to dine alone as a woman in Paris as opposed to the U.S. I think that this may be because of the abundance of cafes and brasseries, which offer a very casual and convenient dining environment. You'll see plenty of other people sitting alone, so you don't have to worry about standing out.
 
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Sep 25th, 2000, 04:59 PM
  #6
Lesli
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Alma -

I took my last trip to Paris alone, and was quite comfortable dining solo at the moderately priced restaurants at which I dined. Many were recommended here on the forum and/or by Cheap Eats, and were for the most part smaller places on the left bank. I was able to find half bottles or small carafes of wine nearly everywhere, and one restaurant which did not have half bottles allowed me to open a full-sized one and pay only for what I drank. (Much more accomodating than most U.S. establishments!)

I usually bring my travel journal along with me, and write notes about my day (and my meal!) while waiting between courses. The people-watching is also fun, and I've often struck up a conversation with those sitting next to me, or even my waiter! (I speak some French, but am far from fluent.) Enjoy your trip!
 
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Sep 25th, 2000, 06:25 PM
  #7
cherie
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I had a problem only once in the Loire Valley. My husband had depostied me at a restaurant along the Cher while he ran up a hill to get a quick photo of a castle before dusk. The photograph won a prize at our local fair, but dinner did not! I think the waiters thought I must be of ill repute because I could not get even so much as a glass of wine until he re-appeared. They let me sit. I could not make eye contact, let alone parlez vous. Perhaps I should have brought a poodle to sit below the table and they might have mistaken me for a local, eh?
 
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Sep 27th, 2000, 12:14 PM
  #8
Christina
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As a humorous (maybe not) sidenote to this topic, I have read that one expensive, snooty cafe in Paris will not allow women in who are unaccompanied as I think they are presuming you are a hooker or something. This is Fouquet's on the Champs-Elysees, which I would not go to anyway as I don't like hanging out on the Champs-Elysees and it's very expensive. I would also boycott a restaurant who had such a policy, out of principle, anyway. I doubt if there is a real problem with hookers in that location at Fouquet's but who knows; I suspect they just don't like the idea of women alone, think it's tacky or something not up to their standards.
 
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Sep 28th, 2000, 03:37 PM
  #9
bob
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I have had diner alone 2x before and had no problem. It is similar to eating alone anywhere. Bring a book...

I will be in Paris the 1st week of Oct and plan to dine alone 2 nights. Here is an idea. lets plan diner together so neither one of us is alone, email me.
 
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Sep 29th, 2000, 04:15 PM
  #10
Jeanne
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Hi Alma:

I just got back from spending 3 months alone in Paris-my husband and I are moving back there (he is French) but he is still living here while I was job hunting, househunting, etc. So the point is, that I dined out a lot by myself. I am a middle-aged businesswoman and also dine out in the US alone and I don't see too much difference-maybe I just notice the food more than the service

I did notice that the table seating is usually somewhat obscure back by the kitchens, etc. which I also find to be true in the US. You can try making reservations to get a sense of how you will be treated if you want-but I mostly just showed up a bit early-like 7:45 instead of 8. I ate in lots of ethnic restaurants or mid-range restaurants in central neighborhoods like the latin quarter, montparnasse and around the Louvre. I think the journal idea is a good one-French dinners tend to be long and sometimes too long if you are alone...another good reason for Thai and other ethnic choices.

In general, I got good service wasn't hassled and had good food-so in general, it wasn't a bad experience. I used the time out restaurant guide a fair amount if I was wanting to try new choices because they are mid-range, the guide is in English and available all over Paris and via the web and they categorize the restaurants nicely.

Have fun and eat well

Jeanne
 
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Oct 1st, 2000, 06:05 PM
  #11
Austin
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Dining alone--male or female==is not at all unusual in europe especially in France

I have seen women dining alone in every category of restaurant in France and unlike here in the US they do not require a book to sink their nose in.

Really you shouldnt give it a second thought===this is one of the last few good things that makes the difference between here and there

Have some escargots for me
AH
 
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