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Do you need rservations for cheaper restaurants in Paris?

Do you need rservations for cheaper restaurants in Paris?

Feb 10th, 2002, 08:58 AM
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Do you need rservations for cheaper restaurants in Paris?

We'll be in paris in 2 weeks (Fri., Sat., & Sun. nights) and I keep reading about the need for restaurant reservations. We definitely don't travel high end--Rick Steves is more like it. Do we really need reserations if our choices would be smaller, informal and inexpensive restaurants? I also read that if you want good French food that is less expensive you should get out of the tourist center and go to some of the outlying arrondisements where they cater to locals. Does anyone know of any restaurants that would fit the bill and that would have easy access to the Metro so that someone with no experience in the area wouldn't get lost? Reading Fodor's recommendations we always go with the least expensive places.
Feb 10th, 2002, 10:35 AM
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Oh, there are tons of local restaurants in the central area, and plenty of French go to them. You may or may not need reservations - depends if a whole bunch of people decide to go there at that time. Since you won't know the situation, it pays to make a reservation if you know where you want to be. We've been locked out of various small, local cafes at times, even for lunch. If you find a place you like, make the reservation - certainly can't hurt. For more Paris information e-mail me: [email protected]
Feb 10th, 2002, 12:07 PM
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I have never made a restaurant reservation in Paris (I've been there in total about 18 days of my life) and there are doubtless millions of other people who have the same experience, sticking to a "Rick Steves" budget, which even some very cultured people have no choice but to do if they want to see Paris before they're 50. In areas like Montparnasse there are sometimes 5 restaurants to a block; some place will have room for you, and unless you are an absolute gourmet the food/wine/coffee will usually be more than adequate to have a good Parisian experience. Just use your instincts, if a place looks too touristy to you, there are plenty of more authentic places that other tourists will be too intimidated to try to go to. Of course try to get a recommendation from a local if you can, but not everybody is naturally gregarious or comfortable approaching strnagers this way.
Feb 10th, 2002, 12:18 PM
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If you want to go to a specific restaurant, it's better to have a reservation. Ask hotel reception desk to make it for you or pass by a or two earlier. Parisians love to eat out, esp. on the weekends. You will always find a place to eat, but if you want to be sure, better to make a reservation. Ask hotel concierge. They often know of nice places around the corner. A lot of popular places are small and fill quickly. This is especially true for good food for little money. Also, the French like to sit for hours at table, esp. for dinner (8-11 pm).
Feb 10th, 2002, 12:20 PM
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The 10th around Place du Republique is neighborhoody and loaded with restaurants filled with locals. Metro stops right there. While doing business around in that area I ate at Restaurant Maya(Boulevard Magenta,not positive of street name). Very local and very good. But there are so many everywhere, that I don't think you will have any problems sans reservations. Except maybe in the haute cuisine type of places or the newer popular ones. You definitely need reservations in those.
Feb 10th, 2002, 02:30 PM
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No matter where we eat in Paris for dinner, we make reservations.There is nothing more annoying than being hungry,and walking around trying to find a place that has a table and they all tell you they are full.If you see a place during the day that looks interesting, book the table then, you don't always have to call, but if you look at the Guide Books, most of them do advise making reservations.Although I must admit, I have not read Rick Steves..but the Access Paris and Fodors,Frommers,Eyewitness, all give numbers so you may make reservations.One last thing, price/formality really are not the only factors, it is the popularity and size of the establishment that can make it hard to get a table.c
Feb 10th, 2002, 03:12 PM
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I have done both in 3 different trips to Paris and can tell you that I eat much better with reservations!

Now we pick out restaurants we want to try before we come and have a list prepared. We usually have our front desk person make the calls for us. Quick, easy, done! We always leave a couple days without reservations so that we are not rushed if we are doing a day trip or something.

I also use fax numbers provided in guide books and have faxed requests for reservations, as well as emails if they are available.

Especially with being in town for the weekend I would make reservations. You can always not show for them if you change your mind.
Feb 10th, 2002, 03:39 PM
Randall Smith
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I agree with all above who make reservations, it is a good idea and very much appreciated by the restauranteurs. You usually get a nicer table and they really seem to be appreciative that you have taken the time and effort to make a reservation. We have also wandered out on a Friday or Saturday night just wanting to follow our nose and land somewhere, and have more often that not been disappointed that every place was packed.

I also think that if you do make reservations and change your mind, I would call and let them know.


Feb 10th, 2002, 05:43 PM
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We've found, where ever we go, that if you make a reservation -- even if it is seeing a place at 2 in the afternoon and walking in and asking for a reservation for dinner at 8 or later that night -- we get a good table, and are treated with the same respect that we've treated the restauranteur!
Mar 10th, 2002, 07:22 PM
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Can anyone tell me what the typical dinner hour is in Paris? (I was in Italy 2 yrs ago and was amazed at how late they ate dinner!) I would hate to make 7 p.m. reservations for a nice Paris restaurant only to find out we're the only people eating that early! Thanks
Mar 10th, 2002, 07:27 PM
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Usually 8:00-8:30
Mar 10th, 2002, 08:23 PM
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I only make reservations in restaurants where I expect to pay more than, say 30 ?. For inexpensive restaurants, it's IMO unecessary.

The typical dinner hour would be 8-9 pm
Mar 11th, 2002, 03:15 AM
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The poster was asking about inexpensive restaurants - also those less touristy. Of course you need reservations at the places in the guide books - all the tourists go there - so that's two strikes against them right away. There are tons of good inexpensive restaurants all over Paris where you can eat great with no reservations. If you want a specific place sure, make a reservation but if not just wander around, look at menus and go in. Especially if you don't mind (or prefer) eating a little early by Paris standards. The only thing I would agree with in the previous responses is that if you see someplace during the day and would really like to return there for dinner, then go on in and ask for a reservation. But to call - especially from the US ahead of time, is a waste of time unless specific eating experiences are what you're after.
Mar 11th, 2002, 05:21 AM
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karen-if a small inexpenisve restaurant is popular with the locals, it will be just as crowded and will require reservations.The cost of a restaurant really does not dictate whether they take reservations.Why waste time walking around looking for something that has a table/is affordable when all you have to do is call ahead? Of course,there is a certain amount of adventure in just walking into a place you find,but that is only fun when you feel like doing that...sometimes you are hungry and just want to sit down and enjoy a good meal.Some advance planning helps .
Mar 11th, 2002, 08:37 AM
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We had Thanksgiving dinner at Crepes a Go Go in 1999 because I'd assured my wife that we'd have no trouble getting into the restaurant that we wanted (picked from Cheap Eats in Paris) without a reservation. After all, Thanksgiving is just another week night in Paris. Since then, I've made reservations if I know where I want to go. Cheap Eats is a good source for low to medium priced restaurants, and I've found that Fodor's starred restaurants in all price categories are reliable. You may have more variety outside of the center, but you can find surpisingly good places with good prices in Arr 1-7. One of my favorites is Trumillou, where you sit at long trestle tables.
Mar 11th, 2002, 09:15 AM
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Nobody travels like Rick - unless you do plan to eat standing up 3 times daily - in which case, no reservations will be necessary. But so suggest you learn to say to go in french, however. Or practice making one of those winged gestures with your hands.

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