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Paris- -the very best hotels, restaurants, day tours?

Paris- -the very best hotels, restaurants, day tours?

Old Jul 25th, 2007, 12:24 PM
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Paris- -the very best hotels, restaurants, day tours?

We're planning four days in Paris with another couple to celebrate big anniversaries and birthdays in the group. We've all been to Paris at least a few times, most recently with our kids. This time, we'd like to stay in a top five hotel and dine at really great restaurants. Also, we'd be interested in hearing about any unique or lovely private tours or day trips anyone can recommend. The other couple had a wonderful experience at the Ritz once, and would like to go back. However, some say the Crillon, Meurice, Bristol, or Plaza Athenee may be even better. What do you think?
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Old Jul 25th, 2007, 12:32 PM
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You'd best give us a budget...The hotels you mentioned (add on George V) are acknowledged to be...the priciest and probably the best, but some people prefer the boutique style of accomodation.

For restos, budget/needs would also be good. You may want to eat at the Eiffel tower, for example, which is good food, but it is more for the view...
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Old Jul 25th, 2007, 06:43 PM
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As I found out the hard way, most people on Fodors do not stay at palace hotels and eat at Michelin star restaurants. You would be more likely to get more responses from flyertalk.com and go to their Luxury Hotel section and/or France section and post your question. Someone responded to my initial post herewith that information and has proved invaluable. Also, you may want to try Concierge.com, another good source. Enjoy your stay in Paris.
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Old Jul 25th, 2007, 07:05 PM
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If you want to book a Michelin-starred restaurant in Paris for lunch or dinner and you have your heart set on a particular restaurant, be sure to book at least a few weeks in advance. Lunch likely will be easier than dinner. Keep in mind that a number of these restaurants are closed on Sundays and sometimes even on Saturdays. (I ran into this problem a few months ago when a friend visiting us in Paris offered to treat us to dinner in a 3* restaurant - but the only night that worked for us was a Saturday. The only available restaurants were fully booked up.)

I can suggest a few restaurants that, while not absolutely top tier, are worth a visit for other nights. Les Bouquinistes has great views and good food, including a good value tasting menu. It's rather popular with tourists (because of the views) but also frequented by locals. I booked for a Thursday evening on about 2 days' notice in early June without any difficulty.

Another restaurant I've really enjoyed is Pomze. No stars, but inventive (but not gimmicky) food at a great price (about 35 euros for the prix fixe 3 course menu). All of the dishes involve apples in some way, and you can order a flight of 3 glasses of alcoholic cider matched to your courses. The restaurant is located in a pretty, modern converted Haussmanian apartment in the 8th, with some nice streetscape views through leafy trees - very French.

Our all-time favourite restaurant, though, is our neighbourhood wine bar, Le Vin dans les voiles. It's in the southern end of the 16th arrondissement, near the Seine. It is almost a hole in the wall: a small, box of a room with simple, pleasant decor. The reason we love it is because the food is wonderful - everything we've eaten there has been excellent - and the affable host offers great, relaxed and charming service. There is a very short menu and an interesting list of wines by the glass (it's primarily a wine bar). We just let the owner choose the wines for us. The price is great - the prix fixe is less than 30 euros. It was listed in the last Time Out Guide to Paris Restaurants. If you'd like to experience great food in a neighbourhood setting, this is it. And you'll save some money for the splurge you're planning.
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Old Jul 25th, 2007, 08:18 PM
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The OP is looking for top places not wine bars. Budget is not a problem or issue they have stated that.
Hotels to consider
Ritz
Four Seasons
Hotel de Vendome - Boutique hotel
Hotel Plaza Athenee
all of which are excellent IMHO

Restauraunts to consider
L’Ambroisie
Arpege
Le Cinq
Taillevent
Lucas Carton
Ledoyen
Plaza Athenee
Guy Savoy
Pierre Gagnaire

Good luck and interested to hear where you do go.
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Old Jul 25th, 2007, 08:38 PM
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I don't think that you can go wrong with the Ritz. I recently stayed there and was surprised that it lived up to the hype. Before booking, check out the special offers on the Ritz's web site. The free breakfasts, airport transfers, room upgrades, and VIP treatment bundled into some packages make a stay at the Ritz much more affordable.

For a detailed review of my stay, check out http://www.parisescapes.com/paris_sleep_hotel_ritz.html

I have also heard that dinner at L’Ambroisie (3 star) is incredible. This is on my "wish list" for future trips.

I also agree with Pariswoman - check out concierge.com for more info.

Have a wonderful trip - C
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Old Jul 25th, 2007, 08:51 PM
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We enjoyed Alain Ducasse for lunch very much; given the state of the dollar I would probably not do it again, but definitely worth it once for a special occasion.

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Old Jul 25th, 2007, 09:06 PM
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The newest palace in Paris is the Fouquet's Barrière on avenue George V.
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Old Jul 26th, 2007, 02:07 AM
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Add Le Grand Vefour to the resto list...
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Old Jul 26th, 2007, 03:40 AM
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Rileypenny-

You may want to consider booking the hotel with a Virtuoso travel
agent, as they can get you a better rate/upgrade/amenities than you could on your own.
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Old Jul 26th, 2007, 06:00 AM
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Hi blightyboy:

Thanks for the snarky comment. I know the OP is looking for top-tier restaurants. They will be in Paris for 4 days. I made it very clear that the other recommendations I made were for nights other than their splurge nights. Even the most dedicated foodies with unlimited budgets are likely to take a night off in their restaurant tour of Paris (e.g. night of arrival, when they're jetlagged).

I gave the other recommendations (especially for the Le Vin dans les voiles) because the "wine bar" (as you so disparagingly dismissed it) consistently delivered the best dining experience (taking into account the quality/creativity of the food and wine and quality of the service) we had during the two years we lived in Paris (and we ate there about once a month for a year). I think it would be interesting for the OP and her friends to contrast the very different experiences one can have at a top-tier, starred Michelin restaurant and an excellent (very adult), unstarred bistro (or in this case something that calls itself a wine bar but is actually a small but fully fledged restaurant).

rileypenny: If four days is all you can afford in terms of time (or if you've already booked your flights), then you should pass on my next suggestion. But if you can spare an overnight visit, I'd strongly recommend a trip to the champagne region. It's actually possible to do this as a day trip (because it's only about an hour or so by train to Reims), but it would be more fun to splurge on an overnight stay where you could find a country chateau, rent a car to see the landscape and fit in a few more champagne tours. If you search under my name from around August of 2006, you'll find a trip report of our weekend in champagne. We stayed at budget hotels, and I think you'd want something fancier (look for Relais & Chateau listings).
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Old Jul 26th, 2007, 06:30 AM
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Thanks for all of these great suggestions! Yes, we would love to dine at all the best restaurants for all four days but I doubt that will happen. We enjoy a good wine bar or secret bistro, too. Our last dinner in Paris consisted of a hot dog and pommes frites with our 11 year old son, so any wine bar will be a step up!! (We loved staying in the 6th on that trip, at the Hotel d'Aubusson, and walking around in the neighborhood. I need to post a trip report.)
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Old Jul 26th, 2007, 06:35 AM
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blightly,

Also Lucas Carton is now Senderens and it is not at all fancy like Lucas Carton was, but still pretty top tier.

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Old Jul 26th, 2007, 06:46 AM
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Rileypenny:

We are staying at D'Aubusson for 4 nights in November and would like to know if you would share your experience with me? I have heard nothing but good about the hotel (including from my travel agent). We are also staying two nights at Crillon (for our 10th anniversary) and I have to say, so far my experience with the D"Aubusson concierge has far been better than the Crillon.
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Old Jul 26th, 2007, 06:59 AM
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Also, if you can't make it to Champagne for an overnight trip, you might try out the Champagne Bar at the Sofitel (Trocadero, I think) before dinner one evening. We meant to do this before we moved away from Paris but never managed it, so I'd like to hear what others think.
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Old Jul 26th, 2007, 08:45 AM
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Don't forget the Bristol...we stayed there last year and it was great. Perfect location, great service and their breakfast which was included, can't get any better.
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Old Jul 26th, 2007, 01:57 PM
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OOPS, Sorry Kate W, didnt mean to ruffle your feathers, just responding to the OP question
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Old Jul 28th, 2007, 06:07 AM
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We loved the Hotel d'Aubusson last month. However, we were only there one night. We had one standard room and one superior room. They were next door to each other and on the second floor, front of building, with a view down to the street as had been recommended by someone on this site or on tripadvisor. Both rooms were lovely. The superior room was slightly larger and I believe it had a king bed whereas the standard had a queen. The bathroom in the superior had more shelf space for storage. It was about 50 EUR more than the standard room. If I were to return, and stay for more than a couple of days, I would choose the superior room. In the lobby, there is a nice bar, and they serve breakfast in the morning but do not serve any dinner. However, you may order room service dinner. We did not have breakfast at the hotel. The only thing that was the slightest negative was that, standing there at the desk with my husband and two sons, I requested a recommendation for a family friendly restaurant nearby. They sent us several blocks away to a restaurant with an odd menu and where they did not (or did not choose to) speak English. To get there, we must have walked past 25 other restaurants. I can't remember the name of the recommended restaurant because we did not stay (I trust the food is very good). We went back to the hotel, where DS1 ordered room service and took DS2 across the street from the hotel to a little place where he enjoyed a huge hot dog and pommes frites and we watched Roddick get killed by Gasquet at Wimbledon on the TV.
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Old Jul 28th, 2007, 07:27 AM
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Re: the restaurant recommendation from D'Aubusson.

No idea if this is true in their case, but I've often noticed a hotel employee will send you to a restaurant (and I end up with the feeling it's because a boy friend or relative works there).

P.S. I'm looking for comments on the hotel as I'm considering it too. It would be a splurge for me!
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Old Jul 28th, 2007, 08:30 AM
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DH and I stay at the George V and I highly recommend it. I can't say anything negative about it. Especially wonderful is the anti-jet lag 2 hour massage upon arrival. After staying here we simply will not stay anywhere else in Paris. The location is perfect.
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