[Paris] Few days in town for a conference - some random questions

So, my prayers have been answered - there will be a relevant work conference in town next February!

I know Paris a bit already as I tend to visit annually - last time was in April 2022 for holidays. Usually I stay around the Luxembourg Gardens, but this time I want to stay in a hotel near the conference venue (The Westin Hotel), so near Place Vendome and Place de la Concorde.

I don’t have to plan a lot as many lunches and dinners will be taken care off. I also speak and read a bit of French, especially things related to food and drinks. As I don’t know the area well, here are some random questions.

Good restaurants for lunch and dinner
No particular desires, i.e. may be trad or modern. Food should be excellent of course, but I also care about ambiance and see restaurants as a good way to be entertained. Should not be stuffy, but I do like a place for powerlunch with some business/government people. Happy to walk say max 15 minutes from The Westin.

My google maps already has the following places saved: Le Griffonnier, Le Grand Vefour, Le Comptoir et les caves Legrand, Pantagruel, Chez Chartier, Aux Lyonnais, Jeanne-Aimee, Au Petit Tonneau, David Toutain.

Any stand outs? Which ones would be good for a solo lunch? And which ones would be good for dinner with say max 4 people?

Afternoon cocktails
Say from 3PM to 8PM, a bar with good drinks and buzzing with people, should be a bit classy ideally, or at least a place where I won’t feel out of place wearing my navy chalk stripe suit, so maybe in a hotel?

After dinner drinks and dance
I follow some local influencers, and I’ve seen for example that people go out in places like Matignon (Av. Matignon, in the 8th). So, definitely want to try that out. Any other places I should consider? It’s no problem to take a cab after dinner. In April I visited Prescription Cocktail Club in the 6th, which was also nice, but more of a bar. Any other places like this?


A lot of interesting questions here, but let me dive in with just a couple of suggestions. Granite restaurant in the 1st arrondissement is only a 17 minute walk from the Westin, according to Google maps, which is considerably shortened (if it’s raining) by getting on Metro line 1 from Tuileries to Louvre-Rivoli. Another suggestion is the Palais Royal Restaurant which is even closer. Both would be fine for a solo lunch (I saw solo diners at both) or a dinner with four (but reserve early for dinner!). I wouldn’t think February would be that busy, so really the whole of Paris is open to you.

1 Like

I have no great fondness for the rather preserved-in-aspic Vendôme quartier. Life is dominated by high-end tourism with a little sprinkling of fashionistas here and there, too many examples of the triumph of plutocratic style over substance, and not much of appeal to my Parisian style tribe.

I used to like trendy Balagan for after-work cocktails and rendezvous-ing with friends before heading off to somewhere else but it just closed so bad timing for you. The rather rarified hotel bar of the Meurice used to be fun during one of the fashion weeks but very hit-and-miss at other times and I haven’t been since its owner, the Sultan of Brunei, introduced the death penalty for homosexuality. (I suffer from bouts of liberal sensitivities). The Ritz Bar is way too old farty and mega-bucks touristy for me. Which leaves the usually sparkling and rather dressy bar of the Hotel Costes as one of the few places in this immediate area that I actually enjoy. The door policy for non-guests not known to the house can, however, be a little whimsical. Since my retired ex-boss and mentor is such a dedicated bon viveur and it’s his favourite hangout spot, I’ll also add the bar of the Le Bristol Hotel on rue du Faubourg St Honoré… maybe a 20-minute walk from the Westin Vendôme.

Le Matignon, hmmmm. I’m a bit ambiguous about it after a very bad meal made even worse by a neighbouring table of excessively annoying upper-class British twits worthy of a Monty Python skit. Since these assertively chic and self-consciously “exclusive” supper clubs like Le Matignon (Arc, Raspoutine, etc) are strangely cookie-cutter in terms of style and clientele and I’d be hard pressed to choose which is better. Silencio near the Bourse is more my style even if it is much less enjoyable than it used to be.

For restaurants, I am at bit of loss because I and my friends rarely prowl around the Vendôme quartier looking for a restaurant. Given your penchant for trad, Flottes on rue Cambon is probably a good option foodwise and good for breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack, or dinner but I haven’t been for years. And a reluctant recommendation for the restaurants (Café Lapérousse and Jean-François Piège’s Mimosa inside the Hôtel de la Marine/ old Admiralty on the place de la Concorde… the setting is sensational but the food and vibe can be hit and miss. Yet, definitely worth a try when too tired to wander far from your hotel. The food is not exactly memorable but good enough, Le Rubis wine bar on rue Marché-St-Honoré is stubbornly old-fashioned and has a great lunch vibe… it’s the sort of atmospheric, authentically olde-worlde place that many tourists look for but rarely find and the lunch clientele is mostly Parisians and suburbanites working in the area.

Outside the Vendôme quartier but close enough. For the power lunch vibe that you are looking for , Le Griffonnier on rue Saussaies is the obvious choice… however, it’s much more of a “tout-Paris” resto and I’m not sure how well interloping tourists are treated or if they would enjoy the “insider” vibe. I should also note that I have never been to the once-a-week dinner and don’t know if the dinner vibe/ clientele is different from lunch. A tip for what to order: bone marrow for starters and the boeuf tartare or andouillette sauce moutarde.

With the caveat that it is a not a one-size-fits-all place, I’m a huge fan of Le Grand Véfour in the arcades of the Palais Royal. Because of its history, vibe, and associations with Colette and Cocteau (admittedly, this has greater pull for us French), I like it better than sfcarole’s also very good Restaurant du Palais Royal (which, for me, is much more of a summer restaurant because of the glorious outdoor dining overlooking the gardens of the Palais Royal). Even though it serves modern French rather than the trad cuisine that you prefer, Le G V is still an excellent, very civilized choice for a foursome… and a surprisingly good price/quality ratio now that Chef Martin has given away his Michelin stars.

For very authentic time-warp trad that rises above the usual tourist-fodder standard, Le Bougainville on rue Banque @ Galerie Vivienne. More fun for lunch than dinner. More up-market but a shorter walk for you, Chez Monsieur on rue du Chevalier de Saint-George (and why oh why do short streets have the longest names ?.. but living in the Netherlands, you are probably used to that). Impeccable trad standards, especially the exemplary blanquette de veau. For lunch, lots of suits discussing deals and more diverse for dinner.


Parn, I have to thank you for this on point description of some of our worst evenings. Should include or modify it to include similarly annoying tables from The Golden Girls and/or Friends.


Thanks! Granite is a good suggestion, and especially hearing that you’ve seen solo ‘lunchers’ there. I already saw your positive comments on Granite before.

Yes, these may be a bit odd compared to the usual Paris threads on HO. I think what’s different is that perhaps because I’m there for a conference, with this one typically focusing a lot on informal wining and dining moments. Leaving me little time to explore the city on my own. Hence also my preference for staying local - although I can always get a taxi if I know I have some time.

I’ll let you know if I end up choosing Granite! :slight_smile:

Thanks a lot Parn, your comments are always much appreciated! Yes, I agree re the area. But I just want to stay near the conference venue. Last thing I want - especially in February - is needing to walk a lot in the morning, or take the metro (dirty, crowded), or taxi (uncertain waiting times). Better to just have a 3 minute walk, freshly showered and shaven. Would also give me more leeway if I have to actually do some work from my hotel room… :slight_smile: I’m staying in the Rue Cambon.

Thanks! Already know both, but never been. The same influencer actually visited Le Bristol After Dark last Saturday… :slight_smile:

I’m not planning on having dinner there, just popping in say after 11PM after having had dinner someplace else. It’s just people watching, and enjoying seeing annoying upper-class Brits…

Wouldn’t necessarily call it like that, it’s just that I’m more of an Italian-style quality of ingredients person. Plus here in the Netherlands there are already a lot of modern French-influenced restaurants. But happy to check out Granite and Le Grand Vefour. Adding Le Griffonnier, and these are then the three restaurants high on my to-do list.

And as mentioned, if I have time, I can just take a taxi and go to other areas in Paris. I may end up staying the weekend, so then I can venture out as much as I want.

Thanks again!

1 Like

At Granite we saw solos at dinner and lunch, often at the bar overlooking the kitchen, but at tables too.

That’s interesting. If you go to their website, it isn’t possible to make a reservation for just one person. The minimum you can select is two.

I know there’s some restaurants that aren’t very fond of solo’s, because they feel a table for one is costing them money: that table can usually be used for two as well, doubling their revenue. I was thinking Granite might be one of those places, but apparently not.

The bar facing the kitchen is an ideal set up for a solo and it also looks across to one of the dining areas. But at dinner I also saw a single diner at a table. With the reservation set up as it is, you may have to telephone, text or email your request.

David Toutain is excellent, but they don’t take solo customers.
I liked Granite when I went last April.
Juveniles at rue Richelieu is good.
La Bourse et la Vie is excellent, at rue Vivienne.
Bars: I like Little Red Door and Le Mary Celeste (food is good at this one), but they are at Le Marais 4th arr.


FWIW, I made a (legit) reservation for two at Granite a couple months ago, but when my wife was not feeling well, I went by myself. They sat me without hesitancy or (pun intended) reservation, and I was treated well.