Paris in May-Suggestions Please

Any general advice here? What are your “can’t miss” places to go, things to see and where to eat?


John, it should be superb in May.

I would strongly recommend a visit to Chartres. Go to gare montparnasse train station and 1 hr later you’ll be able to see a most magnificent cathedral. Remember that the kings of France were corronated there, not in Paris. Next time I go to France I will spent a few days in Chartres.

Lunch at Le Comptoir du Relais. The organic Sunday market on rue Raspail (especially the potato-onion galettes).

Although the cathedral in Chartres is definitely worth seeing, and one of the jewels of Gothic architecture in the world:

  • French kings were coronated in Reims, not Chartres, except Henri IV
  • depending on how much time John has already spent in Paris I’d still focus on Paris as much as possible (especially since there are no vineyards near Chartres :slight_smile:

As far as can’t miss places are concerned, well it depends on how many months one plans to spend in Paris [whistle.gif]

John, I’m afraid you’ll have to be a bit more specific.

One thing I can add: many “bank holidays” in France (we just call them “non-worked days”). You can bet on pretty much EVERYTHING being closed or with shortened opening hours. You might be lucky insofar as most of them are Saturdays this year but I wouldn’t bet too much on it. And remember that Sundays are also “dead” days (bakeries and other privately-owned shops should be open in the morning, maybe a couple of supermarkets and other large shops in or near major towns, everything should be closed, especially restaurants on Sunday night).


  • 1st (Labour Day), a Saturday
  • 8th (end of WW2), also a Saturday
  • 13th (Ascension Day), a Thursday (which means most people won’t work on Friday the 14th either but at least it shouldn’t affect shop & co too much)
  • 24th (Whit Monday), a Monday

Plan accordingly. Typically, use those days to travel if you need to/can.

I’ve done a ton of research on boards & books re: restaurants & museums, etc… Thinking of a day trip to Champagne. Always looking for places to eat, especially the authentic non-touristy places. We’re going with another couple who have been there a few times. They are also very, very interested in food & wine.


John: Hard to answer your question as posed–give some more info. Have you been there before? How long will you stay? Also, what sort of things do you like? Do you want to travel outside of the city? There is easily enough in Paris (and nearby) to keep you busy/interested/well-fed/well-wined indefinitely!

I would trust most of the recommendations by poster “souphie” on the paris board.

L’Ami Jean is a good place.
Cafe du Marche is a good value also.
For baguettes: try Gosselin, Kayser (many locations), and Pain d’Epis in the 7e

My wife and I will be there in May as well (last week).

We were thinking of dinners at La Villaret, Le Pamphlet, Les Papilles and/or Au Bourguignon du Marais.

Anyone out there have any recent experiences with these places? (As you can probably tell by our selections, we’re looking for good food, good wine and lower prices.)

I’m also escaping for a day to visit some producers in Burgundy and to walk some of my favorite vineyards.

-Chris Newport

A really useful restaurant booking site is (English version is The Fork).

Similar to Open Table in the U.S. and including many top tables. One great Kicker is that restaurants can and often do run promotions:

  • Free Glass of Champagne and Dessert
  • 30% off meal with purchase of a bottle of wine

We used it a few times with great success. Even the discount schemes were well executed (no coupons, need to say anything, other awkwardness etc.)

If you want a less formal place to eat, we love a wine bar near the Opera House called Juveniles.