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Family with tweens headed to Paris for first time for brief stopover

smiles33 | Oct 13, 201810:00 PM

Hello CH'ers! My family of 4 is headed to Paris next year in September for the first time. We will be in Paris for an extended stopover before continuing on to San Sebastian in Spain. I haven’t booked flights or lodging yet as I’m trying to decide how many days to stay in Paris. Our goals are to try as much amazing food as we can cram in while we adjust to the 9 hour time difference from California.

I've learned from past trips that we cannot eat 3 restaurant meals a day, so we'll eat light breakfasts at our apartment rental. On our recent trip to the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, we only ate 1 restaurant meal per day and cooked breakfast and dinner at our apartment rental. Yet if we only have 2 days in Paris, I want more than 2 restaurant meals!

We are a very food-oriented family and pick our vacation spots based on food. By way of background, we live in the San Francisco Bay Area so we often take our kids to casual ethnic restaurants (Afghan, Burmese, Korean, Salvadorean, etc.) and they regularly enjoy unique foods like lengua tacos, nigiri, and Indian chaat. We also take them to more upscale restaurants when we're on vacation since they're well behaved. Thus, my kids have eaten pasta with truffle sauce (their favorite meal on our Montreal trip), escargot, foie gras, grilled octopus, raw oysters, and other unusual fare. So I feel like anything is fair game provided it's not too awkward to bring kids to that venue.

When we go out to eat, we generally favor seafood, ethnic food, and unique ingredients (e.g., items we can't easily source or prepare as home chefs). Since we can enjoy fusion French food in the US (Californian-French and Asian-French are quite common), I want to focus on traditional French food, whether it’s hearty comfort food in a bistro, seafood in a brasserie, or refined fine dining. While we love ethnic food, I want to capitalize on being in France and eating regional French fare that is less available in California.

Budget is not an issue. While we don't plan to rent a car, we don't mind taking a taxi or Metro across town either. We’re willing to travel for a great recommendation.

Our daughters will be 10 and 13 by the time of the trip. The 10 year old has peanut, sesame, and fish allergies. We usually avoid going to any restaurant that uses peanuts (e.g., Thai or Vietnamese) due to cross-contamination concerns. I assume peanuts and sesame are not common French ingredients, but I’ll make sure to memorize how to say her allergies in French.

I saw rrems’ Sept. 2018 trip report and think we would love to eat at Le Radis Beurre, Chez Michel, L’Arcane, and Le Desnoyez. I also read several blogs that mentioned Chez Papa (whose menu sounds great to me), Huitrerie Régis, Ambassade d' Auvergne, and Domaine de Lintillac. Do folks have other recommendations or feedback on some of these choices? What about one fine dining experience that showcases excellent French ingredients and techniques?

We also enjoy "destination" adventures like snacking at the Ferry Building in SF with oysters and clam chowder (plus grilled cheese sandwiches for them) from Hog Island, bread from Acme, more cheese from Cowgirl Creamery, etc. We had a great time at Montreal's Jean-Talon Market and Modena’s Mercato Albinelli, and we loved our street food tour of Mazatlan. So I already plan to visit at least one of Paris’ markets. I also choose one cooking/baking class each vacation and am thinking of signing up for a croissant making class and a walking food tour. Any other food-oriented activities would be appreciated.

Thanks for any tips or feedback!

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