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7 nights in Paris

We are making a rare foray out of Italy to celebrate our 30th anniversary in March 2015. We will take the TGC from Milan (no negotiating; my husband is a train lover and I have to admit a certain preference for trains over planes). We have booked an apartment in the Marais area.

Here's where I need your advice:

  1. Restaurant for a celebratory dinner. It's not every marriage that makes it to 30. :-) Not Jules Verne. Maximum €200.00 for two with wine. Must have good food, but ambience is desirable as well.
  2. The Louvre: Is an evening tour advisable? Are the crowds more manageable?
  3. Have you taken any special tours? Not Paris highlights, but something unusual: a food and/or wine tour perhaps

Thanks in advance!

Posted by
2393 posts

Since you are going in March the crowds should still be small everywhere - I know when we go in January you can walk right up to the Mona with no one around. Paris is wonderful in the off season!

We have used a private guide several times in Paris - he is well versed in art & art history and Paris. We would usually go to a museum and walk a neighborhood or two & have lunch. We love the one on one and can actually talk about the areas we are seeing, the art we viewing - what was going on in Europe when something was painted that influenced the painting, we pick his brain for little out og the way places - it is a nice way to spend the day.

EDIT: Happy #30! DH & I will celebrate 30 in December - not many make it that long these days.

Posted by
1920 posts

We took a wonderful free tour with "Paris Greeters". We had the great pleasure of taking a gastronomical tour in a non touristy area of Pairs with our local guide. Fabulous!

Posted by
335 posts

Another vote for Paris Greeters! I've done 3 tours with them so far and have another planned for this Fall. Look at their Website ( and review the list of interest areas at the bottom of the Registration form. They offer walks based on YOUR interests (history, food, gardens, shopping, etc.) and they match you up with a local who loves their city and wants you to love it too. They usually need a month to find a volunteer who can meet with you. Even though it's free, I always contribute 10-20 euros/person to help them run this wonderful program.

Posted by
335 posts

AND I also recommend Paris-Walks, which offers tours on many subjects. Chocolate Walk anyone??

Posted by
11455 posts

Thanks everyone! Please keep those ideas coming and I will check out Paris Greeters and Paris-Walks.

Yes, Christi, the off-season travel is wonderful in many many ways!

Posted by
8180 posts

For yowza factor with the Eiffel Tower twinkling above you though the glass roof, Les Ombres would be a good anniversary choice. The menu for dinner is about 70 and then add drinks onto that. We had a good meal there and the view is great.

A cozy wonderful restaurant near the Tuilleries is La Cordonnerie; tiny one chef place. If you go definitley get their grilled foie gras with cocoa.

Another place we love for celebrations is le Cottage Marcadet near the Lamarck Caulaincourt metro; you can see photos of our meal there at:

I would not get a tour of the Louvre unless touring is really your preference for museum visits. Evenings are less crowded but the light is also not great in some galleries and there will be large sections closed; closed sections are listed in the area near the information desk under the pyramid.

We like to do our own walking tours using maps and guides in various walking tour books or on line or just striking out for an interesting sounding church or a local concert (free musical events are listed in each week's Pariscope) and then exploring what is in the area -- or heading to the end of the line of a metro and finding out what is there. We once discovered the Island of Grand Jatte from Seurat's famous painting that way. You can see examples in the photo journal in the 'Paris' category of some of our walks.

Posted by
13 posts

Not certain what you mean when you say ambiance, or rather, what kind of ambiance you are looking for. We really like Astier, 44 Rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud in the 11th Arrondissement. It is a typical Parisian restaurant; checkered tablecloth, good- not too expensive wine list, excellent service. It might bustle a bit sometimes. We had a really nice meal with good wine there last October for under €140. The cheese platter is excellent. We are going to Paris in October (again) and will be having a meal at Astier.

Posted by
4105 posts


My daughters and granddaughter had an absolutely wonderful meal here last September.
Don't let the neighborhood overshadow the restaurant. Beautiful! Fun waitstaff. Watch for the way they carry 20 wine glasses at once.

Also down the street a bit ambiance not as good, but great seafood.

Congrats on 30...We're @47!!!

Posted by
11455 posts

Merci Janet, Stephen and Gerri! I think we not only have candidates for our anniversary dinner, but for all the other nights of our week in Paris!

I tend to agree on walking tours, Janet, we DIY a lot, but now-and-then a tour guide is worth their weight in gold. I always recommend visitors to the Forum, Palatine Hill and Colosseo use one, for example.

Posted by
10344 posts

I'll be the 3rd vote for Paris Greeters. We did a fantastic tour of the Marais 3 years ago. I will be submitting another request for our trip in October. I'm hoping we will get lucky and be able to do the 'walk' that Susan & Monte did.

Posted by
4063 posts

Le Train Bleu, in the Gare de Lyon, is an events restaurant on a grand scale. While the food is solid and competent rather than exciting, the belle-époque setting scores 100 on the Wow! scale. That means memorable, not intimate. It's well within your budget unless you insist on drinking vintages.