Reservations for restaurants in Paris?

Jul 4th, 2000, 11:40 AM
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Reservations for restaurants in Paris?

I hope this isn't a dumb question, but do you have to have reservations way in advance for alot of the restaurants in Paris? Never been, and I don't know where I will want to eat until I get there. Me and my friend are going in the beginning of October and I don't feel as prepared as some of you other posters! Any suggestions or advice? Thank you in advance, Deena
Jul 4th, 2000, 12:18 PM
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If you want to go to the biggies, like Tour d'Argent or Jules Verne, you will need reservations way in advance. Other top-tier and very popular hot spots also will require a reservation.

There are soooo many restaurants in Paris that you'll always find a place to eat (and you don't have to 'settle' for so-so food to find one) without a reservation.

If you've heard of restaurants you'd like to visit, check out guidebooks (trip to the library here, unless you want to spend a gazillion dollars on a ton of guidebooks) to see if they list those restaurants, and if a reservation is recommended or necessary.

In my experience, I've not been disappointed when an intended restaurant was full, and had to find someplace else (usually within a few yards of the original destination).

I once went to Jules Verne on a whim for lunch, got the heave-ho because I was sans reservation, walked across the Champs de Marche and found a neighborhood restaurant full of businessmen and Parisian women shoppers - not an American in sight - and got all sorts of attention because *I* was (best boeuf bourgignan I ever ate).

Starving in Paris is out of the question.
Jul 4th, 2000, 02:27 PM
Bob Brown
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I am of the opinion that you can eat better walking down the street in Paris with a sandwich from a local bakery than you can at any and all of the so-called fast food joints in the US of A.
Over eating is the big danger in Paris!!
Jul 5th, 2000, 04:04 AM
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What we did was to check with the hotel on where to eat. We then checked the menu posted outside the restaurant to see prices etc. Later in the day we would stop by and make reservations for dinner.
Jul 5th, 2000, 07:35 AM
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Unlike many big cities (e.g. London, New York, Chicago), it's still quite rare for a Paris restaurant to be "complet" (fully booked) more than a day in advance. Unless you have your heart set on a particular restaurant -- and it doesn't sound like you do -- I would just wing it when I get there. You won't be disappointed.
Jul 5th, 2000, 09:44 AM
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We were in Paris in May and were unable to get reservations at a couple of restaurants that had been recommended to us--L'ami Louis was one. Turns out that they were quite popular. We had a couple nights to play with but couldn't get in. That said, we had wonderful meals regardless. So if you have a particular spot you absolutely have to eat at, you might want to have your hotel make reservations well in advance depending upon how popular the restaurant is.
Jul 5th, 2000, 04:58 PM
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We were in Paris in May for a week (6th or 7th trip to Paris). I would recommend getting the Paris Access guide. It has very accurate descriptions and recommendations for restaurants, as well as hotels, cultural and historical sites, etc. We have never been disappointed by a restaurant that the Access guide rated 2 stars or higher (they list restaurants in all price ranges). Regarding reservations, on the whole, we didn't have any trouble getting reservations a day ahead or often even only 4-6 hours ahead.
Jul 5th, 2000, 06:04 PM
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I just returned from Paris. I ate myself silly there. I found the most wonderful thing for dinner was the "fixed price" menus. You can eat for a relatively low price and get an amazing amount of delectable food! Over near the Pantheon there are several good restaurants with these menus. If you go earlier (6-8:30), there won't be many people. Past 8:30pm, you might have to wait a bit, but I don't think you need reservations.
Jul 6th, 2000, 09:10 AM
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We were in Paris in mid-June. Tried to make reservations at Le Jules Verne to celebrate our 30th anniversary. I tried reserving via the net in March or early April. No response to that or subsequent messages, even tho I used French and English. Later found another website and eventually received a reply late April early May that they were booked for dinner to September and lunch to July.

I panicked and then started looking for alternatives. Screwing up my courage and my 30 year old high school French, I called Le Tour d'Argent and easily made a reservation. The restaurant was almost full, maybe one or two tables unused. It was definitely not cheap, 2100 francs for two without wine, but the food was marvellous. And I think there were more wait staff than diners! I highly recommend it. The one thing you have to remember is, smoking is a national pasttime in France so if you're asthmaticlike my wife, you need to plan where you sit for best ventilation.

Don't forget to leave enough time to browse the museum downstairs or the gift shop across the street.
Jul 6th, 2000, 02:31 PM
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Just got back last night from 2 1/2 weeks in France and still euphoric. We found that almost any restaurant listed in a guidebook needed advance booking, sometimes just a day, sometimes more. For our one night in Paris, we stopped by a little restaurant in a more obscure area, but listed in Rick sTeve's book. Most of the tables had "Reservee" signs, but since we were there early (around 7:30), we managed to get one of the remaining tables, but we heard them tell another diner that they were "Complet" for the next two nights. A sidelight we found interesting is that they don't ordinarily turn over tables like in American restaurants. They're usually open from 7:30-9:30, and if someone books a table, it's their's for the night and not open for another later or earlier party. Is this making sense, I'm still jetlagged.
Jul 6th, 2000, 04:17 PM
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Hi Deena,
I went to Paris last month and I really enjoyed eating at Le Fermette Marbeuf. You cant beat the place for atmosphere (belle epoque). Eat in the jardin d'hiver if you get a chance. The food is delicious and reasonably priced. Have a great trip!
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