Paris, the city of love, lights and FOOD. And the food truly was amazing. All that butter and bread, oh my! Every block had brasseries, cafe’s, bakers, etc. On top of that there were so many culinary “tour” options including dinners at Michelin restaurants, picnics by the Eiffel Tower, wine tastings at the Louvre and so many others. All of these options are pricey. Matt and I took part in a few of them and overall some were definitely worth the money and some were not. Let’s take a look at our experiences.
- Lunch at the Eiffel Tower
I am not going to lie I had absolutely no intention of visiting the Eifel Tower on this trip. When I was in high school I went and it was fine. It is a tower. The view of the tower is lovely, but obviously you cannot see the tower if you are on it! I am also deathly afraid of heights, and honestly if you go to the top level then you are too high to see anything in Paris. Also I hate crowds. So anyway Matt whined that he wanted to see it. Based on my prior visit to Paris I knew we needed to buy tickets ahead of time so that the line into the tower would “only” be an hour instead of many hours. I was looking online and saw on the first level there was a restaurant and there was a “tour” where you get free tickets to the first level of the tower and lunch. I compared the price of the lunch vs. “skip the line” elevator tickets and honestly it was not substantial. So I decided for Valentines Day to surprise Matt with lunch on the Eiffel Tower. I honestly had extremely low expectations. After all this is the epidemy of a tourist trap.
Verdict: Decent, if you have never been to the Eiffel Tower this is a good option.
Overall the food was good at Restaurant 58 inside the Eiffel Tower. I am not going to say it was amazing, but it was better then we thought and quite enjoyable. Matt actually liked it better then I did. We had a 3 course meal with lots of wine included. The views of course were great because we were still high up, but low enough that you could see all of Paris. A fun piece of trivia is that we sat at the same table as Donald Trump and Emanuel Macron when they had dinner together a few years ago. I would do this if it was your first time visiting the Eiffel Tower and you did not want to go to the very top because this meal did not include lift tickets to the summit. However if going fairly high up on the tower, skip the lines to the elevator, have a decent lunch and have an amazing view then I would highly recommend this. We probably would not do this again now that we have both seen the tower, but we definitely do not regret doing this.
2. Evening Dinner Cruise on the Seine
Ever since we first booked our trip to Paris in October, Matt wanted to go on a cruise at night along the Seine river to see the beautiful Paris lights. I did some research since there are many different dinner cruises and I wanted to do something special for Matt’s birthday. These cruises are not cheap and I feared the food would be mediocre at best due to the tourist nature of it. I chose the “premier dinner” on the Bateaux Parisiens dinner cruise which you can view here https://www.pariscityvision.com/en/vip-dinner-cruise-minibus. While this was not cheap, I am not going to lie this was one of the highlights of our vacation. First of all by purchasing the premier package we sat at one of the best tables in front of a large window in the front of the boat. The views of Paris at night were breathtaking. The food was excellent and easily surpassed most tourist traps as I would have been happy to eat this food at any restaurant. Finally the package included all the wine you could drink. We would highly recommend the Seine Dinner Cruise.
Verdict: Yes absolutely, but if you are not a big drinker save your money and don’t purchase the premier option. But you will have a terrific dinner and see Paris at its best at night.
3. Choosing Restaurants based on celebrity recommendations.
We decided to reserve a table at Chez Georges in Paris because Ina Garten told us to. Actually not quite, but we did go to this restaurant because she did recommend it in her book, Barefoot in Paris. We also saw that the restaurant had also been reviewed by Michelin so we figured this place was a safe bet. We noticed online that the prices were high compared to other Paris restaurants, but as our blog readers know we love Ina Garten and we wanted to go to a restaurant she frequently visits in Paris. Ina has Champagne taste so we were not shocked at the cost and were sure dinner would be fabulous.
Honestly we were underwhelmed. The food and service were fine, but not memorable. It was by far our least favorite dinner in Paris, and also our most expensive. I don’t want our readers to think the food was inedible because it wasn’t, it was just fine. They did have some interesting things on their menu that other restaurants did not, but Matt and I were not feeling adventurous that night.
Verdict: Based on our visit to Paris you do not need to go bankrupt to have an amazing dinner. Celebrities don’t know you or your preferences. I would talk to friends and family who know your food preferences and choose restaurants based on their recommendations since they know you. And honestly we ate at so many Brasseries and cafe’s that were economical and fabulous.
In my next post I will post some of our favorite restaurants in Paris. If you have experiences with any of these “tourist traps” above or others, please comment!
Sous Chef Andrew