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Splurge Meal in Beaune or Paris?

My wife and I will begin our 15 day trip in Nice and visit Monaco, Villefranche, Antibes, Arles, Beaune, Paris and Versailles/Chartres and Reims.

We will not be packing formal attire, but would enjoy one relative splurge meal in the $100-125 per person range. Would you say Beaune has a better value for this experience than Paris? Or does Paris have a magical edge over Beaune?

Posted by
4125 posts

If I understand your question, "better value" means better meal & dining experience for the money. I think on general principles Paris is probably the most expensive of the two. But you could have a memorable meal in either town.

If you mean, Where are the most choices in that price range, it's certainly Paris.

Posted by
63 posts

Kent: when you travel to France, do you bring one carry-on bag like Rick, or do you check a bag also? My wife and I are planning to carry on one bag each and I'm wondering how a jacket might fit into that equation. Especially if I bring a backpack rather than a hard shell bag.

Posted by
10344 posts

Here's one way to look at it (only one way to, this is partly a matter of fact and partly of opinion, opinion = personal preference): Beaune does not have a Michelin ** restaurant within 15km of town, whereas Paris has about 15 ** restaurants (I'm using the * system here to refer specifically to the Michelin rating system). However, your price range, though impressive to me, probably won't get you into any Michelin ** restaurant in Paris, anyway--so that issue (** vs *) becomes a non-issue in your decision. Therefore, it's going to be a * restaurant (for that kind of money you owe it to yourself to make sure you get a * restaurant) whether you pick Paris or Beaune. Paris has about 50 *s to pick from, Beaune has 4 *s within 6 km of Beaune town center. You mentioned clothing, you won't need "formal attire" to get into most Michelin restaurants but will want to have a dinner jacket of some type (surprisingly, tie generally not required and suit not required), reasonable shirt with collar, trousers other than jeans, and leather shoes--what we might call resort casual here (on the mainland, not in Hawaii). People may reply that you don't need a dinner jacket, but we're talking a Michelin * and IMO you're pushing it without one, even if they let you in, you may have that pauper in a palace feeling without one. This is not about a personal preference decision to blend in or not blend in, the French prefer dressing up for dinner and in these restaurants a lot of the patrons will be Parisians. It would be a shame for you to go all that way and be turned away at the door.

Posted by
2 posts

My very very very favorite splurge - and I've done Ducasse and Bocuse, etc. - is La Reserve in Beaulieu. If you're in the Monaco-
Villefranche area, you're there. Also, don't miss Chez Grandmere in the port in Villefranche.

Posted by
3551 posts

Beaune is no Paris.
I was in Beaune last summer. Memorable (magical)is Paris, look at RS guidebk for suggestions with in your budget. Then stroll or take a boat rise down the Seine after dinner.

Posted by
66 posts

Nick, you might consider lunch at one of your desired "splurge" restaurants. The cost is about 2/3 of the dinner menu and the attire is more relaxed.

Posted by
63 posts

Hi Jim,

You know that might not be a bad idea. I'm having trouble justifying the idea of bringing a jacket and other clothing just for one meal on a 15 day trip. I like to pack light and the majority of our time will be spent in very casual environments.

Posted by
273 posts

I wasn't that fond of the food in Paris. I would recommend L'Atlier which is owned by chef Jon Luc Rabenel (sp.) in Arles. It is an experience not to be missed!!!

Posted by
4125 posts

Here's a thought for a non-splurge splurge, a tasting lunch. I ate at one in Aloxe-Corton and it was one of my most memorable meals of that trip. And I was dressed in cycling gear.

In case you don't know, the thing you are tasting at a tasting lunch in Burgundy is wines, along with a menu of traditional dishes like jambon persilee and coq au vin.

I enjoyed the food a lot, though that is not the main attraction. The style is more table d'hote than haute cuisine, though.

The food is the same whether you order the 30 euro or 60 euro menu, the higher price buys you better and more wines. (I was pretty happy with the 40-euro menu).

Posted by
632 posts

I normally defer to Kent in all matters gastronomique, however, we had a very nice *** meal at Restaurant Pic in Valence (French countryside much like Beaune), and I went (early fall) with dark tropical weight wool slacks, and a lightweight dark mock turtleneck sweater. I was not underdressed for the occasion. There were other's there without jackets...since I'm a slave to the "travel light" mantra spoken here on the RS site, I thought I would mention it so that you would not miss out on an otherwise wonderful experience...aside from the clothing recommendations, Kent is right on...you will probably have an easier time getting reservations for the splurge meal in Beaune than in Paris, and it will probably be at a better price.

Posted by
10344 posts

Hi Bill: I defer to you on clothing standards for Michelin *** restaurants, your opinion is worth more than mine since you've had the pleasure of dining at one of France's very few *** restaurants, I have not (I'm guessing around $250 to $300/person for dinner, I'm jealous!)I have always been unclear about the exact dress code in the best French restaurants, apparently the French who are the regular customers of these exclusive restaurants know the dress code but I've not found it written out anywhere, at least not in English. My experience has been more influenced by clothing standards in Paris, which may be more formal than country locations such as Valence. I've also been influenced by clothing guidance given by Jona, a Parisian resident who used to be a regular here. I go to France with a light-weight, unlined tweed coat that's not any bulkier than a sweater, which makes it easier to err on the side of dressing up a bit (when in doubt...)

Posted by
63 posts

I've been checking out the * Jardin Des Remparts, which is described in the Guide Rouge as:

"a charming 1930's house and delightful garden terrace along the Beaune remparts. An elegant, contemporary interior, inventive cuisine and excellent wine list."

Rick says it's "a fine Burgundian splurge." And the "service is casual and attentive."

Sounds the like place to go, no?

With menus in the €32-60 range, I think this would be a great meal without the jacket requirement.