Such an active chowhound board! So much information (here, at “Paris by Mouth” and on John Talbot’s blog) that I’m finding myself reading in circles, but I think I’ve started to come up with an outline.
Using this board I've determined accommodations (8 Boulevard de la Madeleine in the 9th) to the days of my stay (changed everything around to avoid the weekend closures, now Tuesday-Saturday - August 5-10, if that means summer closures?).
My question is partially addressed in John Talbot’s October 27, 2009 post “The Spring/Table d’Eugene/Frenchie Problem” (places worthy of advance planning, but needs updating), combined with the current thread “What are your favorite restaurants in Paris that don’t cost a fortune or take months to get a reservation” (at: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/968415). Since my dates are 4 months away, I think all options are open.
My research focused on casual (casual enough to bring a quiet 8 & 10 year old) and value. I also tried to have “splurges” at lunch, so proximity to attractions would be a plus. An early dinner near our place in the 9th might also be an option.
With those many parameters in mind, here’s what I concluded:
Bones – probably too “adventurous” and also not that nearby. Duck heart wouldn’t go over well with the kiddos.
Chez L’ami Jean – makes sense because of a combination of price, location (tie in with Eiffel Tower day), and food, though if my kids ever saw a veal head on a plate, I don’t think they would immediately convert to vegetarianism. They’d love that rice pudding though.
Spring – If I understand the seating correctly, you can dine on the 2nd floor overlooking the kitchen? That would entertain the kids, and it's near our apartment (making it a good dinner option), but I think this would have to be a lunch option because of cost. I got an email reply saying they only book “3 months in advance” or earlier, so I have time still.
Would love to try Frenchie, but that would have to be a dinner since closed at lunch. From the website it LOOKS casual enough to have kids there, but correct me if I'm wrong.
For lunches "while touring" (each on a separate day):
Sacre-Coeur – lunch at Le Pantruche or Jeanne B?
Eiffel Tower – lunch at David Toutain or Chez L’Ami Jean?
Catacombes – lunch at "Dans Les Landes" or Montparnasse’s “Le Ciel de Paris” for a 30E lunch with a view). Or "Le Comptoir du Relais" - a place to book WAY in advance with great food and value?
For dinners (near 9th):
Chez Denise – will be close and inexpensive (and open all the time means it will fit into any schedule we end up with), and gets no shortage of love here on the Board (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/328004). Veal head again though? Yikes.
Chez Clovis (discussed in the Chez Denise thread at length). Good prospect for all the same reasons.
Something that never even occurred to me is smoking – is that still common? I’ve almost forgotten what it’s like to encounter smoking in a restaurant. In fact the last time WAS in Paris, many years ago, at Jules Verne in the Eiffel Tower (made us ill).