Our Girl Scout group will be in Paris for several days, and we would like to have one typical French meal together. We are looking for a place with typical cuisine at reasonable prices (i.e. not high end), that has space for a group of 24, that we can reserve in advance. We've heard eating out for lunch is more cost effective, and would appreciate lunch or dinner suggestions.
You might get more answers if you post this in the France forum rather than in Reviews.
I can't think of anyplace other than a large corporate hotel that could seat 24 people all at the same time, but hopefully others can be more helpful...
I have always liked Bouillon Chartier in the 9th arr. It is a large restaurant opened for both lunch and dinner. Check out their web site www.bouillon-chartier.com and you can see the menu and the size of the place (click on the tour and use the arrows in the upper left to get the 360 view). One drawback is they do not accept reservations but if you go at opening for lunch or around 5 pm for dinner, I think they can accomodate you. Basic French but a lively place to eat with a lot of history and reasonable prices. Click on "Access" at the web site for a map. I agree with Susan, post this question in the "France" country section of the Travel Forum for more responses. Bonne chance!
I was going to suggest Chartier also, but if they don't accept reservations, not good. Try the Polidor, a very old restaurant. They have a back room they can set up for you. Not only will the girls remember the toilet forever (one of the rare squat toilets still found in Paris), but Woody Allen shot the scene where the character meets Hemmingway in the Polidor.
BTW, no restaurant opens at 5p.m. for dinner, except a brasserie or a place next to a train station that might serve continuously. Dinner service begins at 7. The Chartier staff eats at around 5:30. If you go in there before 7, someone will jump up from the staff table and tell you to sit down, but you'll be nearly alone and a few staff will be sacrificing their own dinner to serve you. Not a good idea.
A group that size will have better luck if you make a dinner reservation for 7:00. It does have to be a larger restaurant, but there are more that are not attached to hotels.
I was going by their website. It says they serve from 11:30 am - 10 pm "without interruption". I have not been there recently to verify that but a call there from the hotel should do the trick. I still think Chartier is a good restaurant for a group such as the Girl Scouts because of the size, it has a real French atmosphere but picky eaters can still get chicken and fries (do they still write the bill on the paper tablecloths?).
It does indeed say that Tom and I assumed it was non-stop too having had many 2pm lunches over the years. However, about ten years ago I was trying to send one of my kids off to the movies with a hot plate of food in his belly at 6 p.m. I took him into Chartier thinking it was open all the time but the staff was eating. They offered to accommodate us but the situation was clear. The restaurant was empty. A Japanese couple with a baby in a stroller came in at the same time and were told to park the baby sleeping in the stroller near the wall and they'd be served quite a ways away from where they were told to park the baby. Being bilingual I understood the situation, left and got my kid a crepe or sandwich to tie him over. The Japanese spoke a bit of English and decided to come back at seven when I explained that the staff was eating.
It would be worth seeing if Chartier would make an exception for this group and allow a reservation.
Chartier looks really good to me. Love their menu and the prices. Thanks for the tip Tom and Bets, and for the link Tom!
Wendy, your girls might love Little Breizh. It is a creperie where they can enjoy deciding what they want on their French crepes (savory ones and sweet ones) and nothing is too weird! The address is 11, rue Gregoire de Tours and their phone is 01 43 54 60 74. They do accept reservations and do have tables that seat up to 8 people. Three tables would do it for your group. The crepes are oh so French and extremely tasty. Prices are inexpensive and portions are huge.
Wendy, Rick Steves tours in Paris often have at least 24 people and eat at places with typical cuisine at reasonable prices. You should be able to get some suggestions from the office or PM Laura.