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Pan

Dress code for Paris restaurants?

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Apologies if this has been covered before.

I have made reservations for lunch at Le Grand Vefour and Arpege for the week I will be in Paris this June. I did not ask the women who took my reservations what the dress codes were.

For that matter, neither did I ask whether they'd be able to steam food for my father. I can always ask that the business day before the reserved date, since I have to confirm anyway, but if I have to bring a suit, I'd better pack it. Frankly, I don't think my father has a real suit, but he can certainly make himself as presentable as an artist usually would, by wearing one of his colorful button-down shirts with or without a tie, etc.  :smile:


Michael aka "Pan

 

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A sport jacket and tie are almost always as acceptable as a suit and tie. I never travel with a suit. I almost always take a blazer or sport jacket and tie. However, French restaurants are becoming less formal every day. Outside of Paris in recent years, I don't think I've been in a restaurant where there hasn't been a good contingent of men without suits or without ties. I've not eaten in le Grand Vefour and it's been some time since I've eaten in Arpege. Someone else will give you more exact answers or better opinions

Paris is still a bit more formal. The night we were at Ducasse, every man in the dining room was wearing a jacket and, if memory serves, a tie. I've been told that you can't count on it though. At Petrossian, which is at least two notches down in luxury according to Michelin, about half the room was not wearing a coat and tie and some of the men were downright sloppily dressed. Lunch is likely to be less formal than dinner, although there may be more businessmen at lunch.

There are two questions here. Is he likely to be the only one without a tie and jacket and will he be treated poorly for that. The first is more likely than the second. I wonder if the food might not be the bigger problem. I know we had a thread here on finding suitable food in France, but I don't think we touched on finding it in a three star restaurant.


Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

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You're right, Bux: We didn't talk about how my father would fare in Michelin 3-stars with his diet, but he seems to think he can probably find something acceptable anyplace. I wonder if he's a bit too confident, but I also am guessing that a 3-star would probably be willing to do something to accomodate him, especially as I will give them a business day to think about it.


Michael aka "Pan

 

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My inclination is to agree, but I've never discussed this with a cook or chef and I really have no grounds to give you confidence or lead you to believe it's a problem. I've traveled and dined with a friend who is allergic to seafood and fish. That wouldn't seem a big problem, but when the tasting menu is over a dozen courses and most are fish or seafood, it could be. Nevertheless with advance warning El Bulli was able to prepare a full menu for our friend with meat and vegetables.


Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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On our recent (mid-Feb) trip to Paris, we went to both Le Grand Vefour and Arpege. Pretty much every one was wearing a suit/formal dress. I did get away with sport jacket and tie though.

have fun...those two were both exceptional.

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About three years ago my wife and I had dinner at the Grand Vefour.  We had come to Paris from the south, where suits and ties were nowhere to be seen.  I arrived in neatly pressed navy trousers and a starched button-down long-sleeved shirt, but no jacket and no tie.  It was a hot summer day and jacket and tie didn't seem necessary.

Wrong.  I was taken into a small room, handed a tie and an ill fitting jacket and told to wear them.  After that we were treated with great respect and care and we had a very good dinner.  But it was clear that jacket and tie were de rigeur.  I think the Grand Vefour still had two stars then.  I am sure that a sport jacket and tie would have been fine.

I don't remember the meal except that at one point a group of Japanese men (black suits, white shirts, dark ties) came through the restaurant and walked up a flight of stairs to what was apparently a private room.  A short time after that a waiter came through bearing an enormous hemispherical bowl, perhaps half a metre wide, filled with black truffles.  The aroma was overpowering, and we couldn't help turning our heads.  Seeing our interest, he then brought the bowl over so that we could view the truffles and inhale their scent, then walked up the stairs carrying the bowl to the Japanese.

I've ever since thought of this as an amuse-nez.


Jonathan Day

"La cuisine, c'est quand les choses ont le go�t de ce qu'elles sont."

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Not to turn this board into an online GQ, I've found that when the inner need is to feel less formal, a nice blue blazer with a tie and button down shirt worn with rumpled corduroy slacks will get me a lot further than starched shirt and pressed pants without tie and jacket. It's often the jacket and sometimes the tie that's required. That only works for those who don't have a real aversion to wearing a tie under any circumstances. I have such friends. Corduroys in Paris will usually mark you as a professor or artist and allow you a little satorial leeway with respect.

:biggrin:


Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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Thanks for your replies, everyone. I figure I'll bring my suit, but then I'm a musician, and musicians need suits.  :smile:

As for my father, he'll have to decide what to do. I think the tie is doubtful for him, but he has such nice, colorful ties...

Thanks for the reassurance on the quality of these restaurants, vivin.


Michael aka "Pan

 

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Corduroys in Paris will usually mark you as a professor or artist and allow you a little satorial leeway with respect.

:biggrin:

Even with a checked, gingham shirt.  (My husband calls this outfit, "un Bernard."  Add a knitted tie, and it becomes "un full Bernard."  He is always treated with great respect.

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We are leaving tomorrow afternoon for two weeks in Paris. I hope that someone happens to see this in time to respond to my question. We have booked only two fancy restaurants - we are going to Le Bristol and Le Pre Catalan (each for lunch). Are these places jacket required? My husband would rather not pack his suit if we don't have to. Would he be too out of place in nice slacks and a sweater?

Thanks for your help!

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Becuase it is lunch, smart casual will be fine, but there will be folks in suits. If possible pack a casual blazer and pair with a nice white shirt. If you cant pack a jacket a sweater will do, but make sure the collar is fine and stands out and the sweater is light and elegant. You will be fine no matter what he wears, but to feel most comfortable stick to simple, stark, elegant clothes. Above all else enjoy, you are going to love what you eat and have a wonderful experinece.

Nate

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If you scroll down to Molto e's post here you will see that jackets are required at the Bristol for lunch.


www.parisnotebook.wordpress.com

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At the Bristol, they'll supply your husband with a jacket. They don't turn away customers on account of a jacket. Personally of all the palace hotel restaurants, I liked Le Meurice best for food (compared to Ritz, Crillon, Bristol,Four Seasons). I like the Ritz dining room (L'Espadon) best for style (Bristol infinitesmally close second).. Not as elegant as the aforementioned, it's more like a very high-end bistro, but I like the Art Deco decor and ambience, is the Relais Plaza at the Plaza-Athenee.


Edited by pirate (log)

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Direct link to Molto E's post great pics and text. Molto E, thanks for reloading the pictures. Heres the Jacket info

He immediately made

one feel welcome [even if one did not know that jacket was required  ] and he sized my jacket size up with his hands causing my group to laugh as he ordered one up for me on the phone. Raphael was great,

oh yeah Merry Christmas.

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Direct link to Molto E's post great pics and text. Molto E, thanks for reloading the pictures.

Matt,

Your welcome, I will get the rest back up over time.

Happy Holidays,

Molto E


Eliot Wexler aka "Molto E"

MoltoE@restaurantnoca.com

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Thanks all, for your input. Molto e, those pictures are amazing. We're in Paris now and are having a great time. Our reservation at Le Bristol is Saturday and Le Pre Catalan is not until next Friday Jan 5th. But we did pack the suit!

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I find a navy blue blazer more practical for travel than a suit. It's usually formal enough for any event not requiring formal ware and I can relax in my choice of trousers. The truth is that there are fewer and fewer restaurants that require a jacket, let alone a tie.


Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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I find a navy blue blazer more practical for travel than a suit. It's usually formal enough for any event not requiring formal ware and I can relax in my choice of trousers. The truth is that there are fewer and fewer restaurants that require a jacket, let alone a tie.

Yeah a blue blazer is the travelers best friend not only is it formal enough, but it offers a variety of pockets for various things and if your like me and prefer english styles there is that neat little third ticket pocket. As to restaurants not requiring jackets I see it as one of the signs of the impending end of civilized society. :sad:

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I'll add a third voice in support of the navy blazer.

I have a nice Zegna "traveller" blazer for this purpose. It's wrinkle-proof enough to be wadded up into a duffel bag and pretty much straightens out if you just hang it in the bathroom and take a steamy shower, plus it has a load of pockets, and the wallet pocket has a difficult-to-open zipper that seems to be pretty effective (my pocket has not yet been picked).

It was fairly pricey, but it's like a dependable friend. Paired with a white shirt and some smart slacks, I can go from a hot dog stand to a starred restaurant without seeming out of place.


Don Moore

Nashville, TN

Peace on Earth

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The best fabric I have found is escorial you can roll it in a ball and it will come out unwrinkled it has been my favored dining companion for a while now.

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I find a navy blue blazer more practical for travel than a suit. It's usually formal enough for any event not requiring formal ware and I can relax in my choice of trousers. The truth is that there are fewer and fewer restaurants that require a jacket, let alone a tie.

Of course you're correct about the "requirement," but oh, my dear friend Bux et al; not that any of us can "pass" as French or European but a Brooks Bros Navy blue blazer, chinos/khakis and "baskets" (except on rappeurs) do mark us. Lately, I've noted many of our compatriots are "passing" quite well with turtles, pressed designer jeans, shirts/sweaters and Euro-jackets. If you're really young and buff, a black tee works; for the 3rd generation, though, a suit still makes it.


John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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....not that any of us can "pass" as French or European but a Brooks Bros Navy blue blazer, chinos/khakis and "baskets" (except on rappeurs) do mark us.  Lately, I've noted many of our compatriots are "passing" quite well with turtles, pressed designer jeans, shirts/sweaters and Euro-jackets.  If you're really young and buff, a black tee works; for the 3rd generation, though, a suit still makes it.

Of course this is true. But I read the original question as needing to know the basic requirements for being (comfortably) seated in a 3star. Passing is the grand prize; being admitted qualifies as a legitimate blue ribbon! :biggrin:


eGullet member #80.

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Agree that a blazer/jacket much more flexible than a suit, but I'd go with a tweed or houndstooth check rather than a plain navy blazer: more forgiving of those inevitable scuffs and drips along the way, and easier to dress up or down.


Can you pee in the ocean?

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John, I know this is bordering on off topic chat but what is this "Euro-jacket" you speak of. This born at the wrong time curmudgeon would like to know.

Cheers, Matt

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