My wife and I are going to Paris for the first time in early October, we will be there for a week. We're not going to go for 100+ euro tasting menus every night, but we would like one very nice, classic-to-slightly-modern French dining experience and one meal featuring more modern cooking and atmosphere. The rest of our meals we can figure out with chowhound and lots of other references, but I'm hoping that my detailed description of what we're after for these two meals will point us to a couple of really great experiences.
We live in Chicago; if you're familiar with the dining here, I'd say for the traditional meal we're looking for the quality of experience you would expect at Blackbird, for example. Polished, classy, detailed. If it turns out there's something more like an Alinea experience that fits the criteria below, well, then fan-freaking-tastic! The more modern meal can be funkier; degustation in NYC is one of our favorite places, Schwa and Avec in Chicago, flour+water in San Francisco, etc.
Courses/Timing: Prefer a multi-course tasting menu
Setting we imagine for the traditional meal: Romantic, memorable; something that sultrily whispers "Paris" in your ear; maybe something with opulence like L'Tour de Argent, or maybe something like the caves at La Truffiere (based only on pics, obviously). Setting might be all over the map for the modern meal. 12 seats at a bar around an open kitchen; reclaimed wood furniture, funky, stark...we're wide open.
Price: There's no hard budget, but we're thinking, including wine, less than 200 euros/person, and preferably more like 150 euros or less/pp.
And, of course, The Food: Nothing short of spectacular! That's why I'm here! :-)
We're in our 30's, staying in the Marais but we plan on being all over the city and are quite used to busses, trains and lots of walking.
Thanks, and sante'!