I'll be spending 2 weeks in Paris in late October/early November, then a few days again in mid-late November. Will be staying in an apartment in Montparnasse near Rue Daguerre for the first 2 weeks. I'm spending the first week with my little sister who has never been to Paris (or France or Europe) before, but she loves French food and culture (and speaks much better French than I do). I would like to give her a nice well-rounded experience, and at the same time she's on more of a budget so aside from our 2 splurge lunches, looking at more affordable options. My second week will be spent with a couple of friends who have been to France multiple times before, so the itinerary will be less packed, and there's less of a budget restriction. After that will tour other parts of France for 2 weeks with my husband (separate threads for those, as I've learned on these boards), and spend our last 3 days back in Paris, with an apartment in the 5th for the last 3 days.
Here's my plan for the first week (last week of October):
- Sunday: Our flight from SFO comes in at 9am. Figure we would probably get to our apartment by around 10:30am, check out the Raspail market to get some breakfast and supplies for the week. Want to get some stereotypical French food starting with crepes for lunch at La Crêperie de Josselin. Dinner at La Coupole, which has been highly recommended by some of the locals I've talked to (including the person we're renting the apartment from) but seems to have mixed reviews on this board (should we go to La Rotonde instead?). Looking for atmosphere as well as a good representation of classic French food. Go to the Eiffel tower.
- Monday: We have lunch reservations at Ledoyen (I emailed and their lunch menu is now 105 euros). I had hoped to do this later in the week but this was the day they had it available (I hope it doesn't ruin me for the rest of the trip!) I figure this will be a long and filling lunch so planning on just having some bread and cheese for dinner (is it better to get cheese at Raspail the day before, or should we go to a specialty cheese shop?). We'll probably walk along Champs Elysées after lunch since it's right by Ledoyen all the way to Arc de Triomphe.
- Tuesday: Go to Montmarte and check out Sacre Coeur, have croque-monsieur for lunch at Coquelicot. Dinner at Sens Uniques in Montmartre, or if we decide to go back to our apartment earlier, at Le Cornichon.
- Wednesday: Day trip to Champagne region. Still a bit torn whether I should go to Epernay or Reims. Would want to visit Pommery if I go to Reims and Moet if I go to Epernay, and would like to see some smaller producers as well. Is it possible to do that without a car in either city, which city is better for visiting without a car? Still need to find a restaurant for lunch once I decide on which city to visit. Will probably have more bread/cheese/market food for dinner, along with any champagne we may buy.
- Thursday: Going to the Louvre in the morning (my sis isn't much of a museum person so we'll probably only spend a couple of hours here). I would like to do afternoon tea at Laduree, but I can't tell from the website if they take reservations over email/online. Do I have to call to reserve a spot? Dinner at La Cerisaie.
- Friday: No plans for lunch, we are right next to Rue Daguerre so will probably get a sandwich/snack from that market. Dinner at La Regalade.
- Saturday: We have lunch reservations at L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon Etoile (get their "cheap" 37-euro prix-fixe menu), dinner at Cafe Constant (is it impossible to get in on a Saturday, since they don't take reservations?)
Also looking to cram in a patisserie/macaron crawl at the 6th one of these days (Laduree, Pierre Herme, Gerard Mulot) since my sis loves sweets, and macarons are her favorite.
Second week plans (First week of November, a little less firm since I still need to consult with my friends on what they want to do):
- Sunday: Go around the local markets (Rue Daguerre & Raspail), dinner at Les Cocottes
- Monday: No firm plans for lunch, dinner at Le 122
- Tuesday: Have reservations for lunch at Le Cinq, will probably have a light dinner of just bread/cheese or go to a wine bar for snacky food
- Wednesday: Might go to a day trip so will probably have a late dinner close to the apartment...looking at La Rotonde or La Closerie des Lilas
- Thursday: No firm plans for lunch, Chez L'Ami Jean for dinner
- Friday: No firm plans for lunch or dinner, looking at maybe Bistrot du Dôme.
- Saturday: No firm plans for lunch, Dinner reservations at L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon St. Germain. I would have already been to lunch at the Etoile location by this time, but my friend really wants to try this place. I figure this will be a different experience though since we have less restriction on budget, and with 3 people can order a bunch of dishes a la carte. Is it too much to go to both restaurants within a week of each other?
Any recommendations for good cafes in Montparnasse for coffee/snacks? My buddy is kind of a coffee snob so looking for places with excellent coffee.
Last 3 days (Late November w/ the hubby)
- Sunday: Arrive in Paris in early afternoon (will probably eat our lunch on the train from Bordeaux), hang out at a cafe for coffee/snacks (any recommendations in the 5th/6th for good coffee, snacking and people-watching?). Drinks and light dinner at L'Avant Comptoir.
- Monday: Lunch at La Tour D'Argent (68-euro prix fixe lunch)...is this place worth going to? I've always been interested in checking this place out and soaking up the history/ambiance, and maybe getting a tour of their wine cellars, but the reviews have been pretty mixed. As long as the food is decent (doesn't have to be spectacular), I think I'll be happy. Dinner at A La Biche Au Bois (hubby wants some game meats).
- Tuesday: Lunch at Pierre Gagnaire...initially wanted to do dinner but that got vetoed by the hubby due to the cost. How's their lunch menu? Will probably just want something light for dinner but with a lively atmosphere, thinking about checking out Frenchie's wine bar.
I have reservations for all the Michelin-star places (except for Pierre Gagnaire which only takes reservations 30 days ahead), do I need to make reservations at the brasseries/bistros as well or can I just show up for those? What are good times to show up to maximize our chances of getting a table without a reservation?
Really appreciate any comments/suggestions from everyone.