[Paris] Layover Recommendations?

Hi! I am doing a 20 hour layover in Paris on my way to Spain to see the city a little bit and want to eat something for lunch perhaps. My scheduled arrival to CDG is at 11:25am and I do not know if I can make it to lunch at restaurants in the city if a lot of them close at 2pm. Any recommendations for lunch near Champ Elysees or Vendome area? I want to be in this area to visit an LV store so whatever is convenient for me. I know of Au Pied du Cochon and Le Colbert but wanted to hear your thoughts for lunch. For dinner I was thinking of L’ami Jean, Chantoiseau, or Jeanne-Aimée?

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Do you have to go through customs? Most restaurants are not full at lunch, so once you find a place that’s accessible you could call them as soon as you come out of the airport and know your time better. A brasserie or a café may be your best bet.

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Yep, have to go through customs as flying from US. I heard CDG can be a nightmare so that is why I doubt I can get out of airport before places close at 2pm. Have to get through customs, get sim card, drop off luggage at storage, and take train to city center.

Heh. The last time I went to Paris, in 2000, CDG was chaotic. I retrieved my luggage, looked everywhere for the customs line, couldn’t find it, but did find a wide open door to the outside. I guess it’s a good thing I wasn’t stopped by police during my visit because I didn’t have an entry stamp on the passport. Things are probably different, post 9/11.

You may miss lunch, but why not a good dinner?

Was thinking that too. Maybe get a simple baguette sandwich or croissant from a bakery. Any recommendations?

After a long flight, and then the hassle of traveling into a city, I would just want to sit down some place proper, with my own table, order some wine, some foods, even after normal lunch service, and be surrounded by a few locals.

In the case of Paris I’d probably pick Cafe Varenne, with the bonus that you can go shopping in nearby Le Bon Marche, that includes a Louis Vuitton shop. And just a short uber ride away from Place Vendome.


In Europe, it’s passport control, not customs where the hold-ups occur. Customs is a rather perfunctory affair… you just walk through the customs hall, a few spot checks but most people are not checked. I know Americans often refer to the entire process as “customs” but very confusing for us Euro-trash.

I’d just go to a continuous-hours brasserie for a very parisian platter of oysters for a late lunch. Unfortunately, the very touristy Champs Elysées and rarified Vendôme areas are difficult areas for finding good and enjoyable restaurants.

If going to Louis Vuitton flagship store on the Champs Elysees to join the LV lemmings, Brasserie L’Alsace on the Champs Elysees is your best bet for a good platter of oysters/ fruits de mer and maybe some cheese/ charcuterie. It’s ultra-touristy, overpriced but great décor and excellent shellfish even if the other items on the menu aren’t as good. And just a 5-min walk (in the direction of the descending numbers) from Louis Vuitton Champs Elysées. https://www.restaurantalsace.com/

If you prefer the Louis Vuitton shop on the much more chic avenue Montaigne (just off the lower Champs-Elysées), Le Savy on rue Bayard is a very good option for a late lunch. No oysters but excellent fish or steak tartare. https://lcep.fr/savy/

For dinner, an embarrassment of riches. Eeny meeny miney moe. But not American hours (before 7), parisian hours 8 to 10, ok ?


Thank you for the response. I am considering going to Le Savy on rue Bayard then. Now for dinner, it is a difficult choice. Considering L’ami Jean, Chantoiseau, or Jeanne-Aimée as some options but there is an embarrassment of riches to be had for dinner. Of course, I am trying to make my dinner reservation as late as possible to account for a heavier late lunch. Recs for dinner?

For dinner, it really depends on how travel weary you are. Where are you coming from ? If I’m jet-lagged, the last thing I want is a long 2-hour dinner on my first evening. And where are you staying ? Convenience becomes much more important when travel weary.

BTW, check that Savy still has continuous hours. Even if they are open all day, they probably serve an abbreviated menu and a light lunch after 2pm.

Thanks for the tip Parn, I’ve added this place to my Paris google maps. While checking said map, I see nearby Le Griffonnier, with unusual opening hours, i.e. lots of weekdays open until 7PM. What’s the deal there, is the kitchen open from lunch up until 7PM?

I ask because I’ll be probably be in the area in February (separate thread following soon).

I was thinking along the same lines as Parn… If I were planning to come from the U.S. to CDG, arriving around 11:30 am and leaving around 7:30 am, one of the first things on my checklist would be where I was going to sleep that night. With your early flight the airport would be the most convenient location. After I were through (ahem) passport control, I would check into the hotel, shower, change, and maybe even nap if I didn’t sleep well on the plane. Then I would take the train into the city, walk or Uber to the places I wanted to see, stop at a café for a break and have a nice dinner at 8 or 9pm. Will you be traveling alone? That might make a difference in where you choose to dine. Then there’s the whole question of what day of the week you’re traveling and what type of cuisine appeals to you…

Le Griffonnier is one of the most non-touristy and best trad restaurants in Paris. For me, I know it as a place for power lunches and a restaurant popular with the upper echelons of politics and business. I have the impression that it is only open for dinner one day a week and for lunch only on the other days. I see that google says it’s open until 7pm on the lunch-only days but I cannot confirm. If they are indeed open until 7, I doubt if it is fully staffed or offers a full menu after 3pm.

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Well, in case you don’t want to leave CDG and you want a decent meal and a place for a quick shut eye, you can do a lot worse than the La Premiere Lounge at CDG in Terminal 2E

I flew into CDG with a (short) layover on my way to Rome in November early afternoon and noted that CDG nightmare was more of a dream because many (most?) flights from the U.S. have early morning arrivals that gum up the works for foreign passport control. Wouldn’t want to promise that you will have a similar experience, but might not be as bad as anticipated.

Of your choices, I’ve dined solo at Jeanne-Aimée and enjoyed the experience, but really, I find Parisian restaurants almost universally welcoming to solo this solo traveler at either lunch or dinner. One of the things I really like about Paris!

That all said, I couldn’t understand whether you were booking a hotel for the overnight, or were just planning to hang out overnight in the airport…If you have a hotel, I’m with @sfcarole and would grab a snack, if I were hungry after checking-in, take a nap and plan to shower and dine after 8. (You may want to do your shopping too before a nap.)

P.S. Flew Business on that flight with layover to Rome on AF, and only had access after passport control to Terminal 2F departure lounge which was almost comically awful. Uncomfortably warm, no coffee maker working, no seat except for four roped off seats for (I guess) first class passengers that sat empty. Truly awful.