should you make reservations for restaurants in paris


Paris is known for its delectable cuisine. From traditional French dishes to international flavors, the city offers a wide array of dining options. While strolling through the romantic streets of Paris, you might find yourself wondering whether you should make reservations for restaurants. In this article, I’ll discuss the pros and cons of making reservations in Paris, as well as provide some tips for finding the perfect dining experience.

The Benefits of Making Reservations

Skip the Wait

One of the main benefits of making reservations at restaurants in Paris is the ability to skip the wait. Paris is a bustling city with tourists and locals alike, and popular restaurants can have long wait times. By having a reservation, you can avoid the frustration of waiting for a table.

Guaranteed Seating

Additionally, making a reservation guarantees you a seat at the restaurant. There’s nothing worse than arriving at a restaurant only to find out that there are no available tables. With a reservation, you can relax knowing that you have secured a spot.

Special Occasions

If you’re celebrating a special occasion, such as an anniversary or birthday, making a reservation can ensure that you have a memorable dining experience. Many restaurants in Paris offer special menus or services for those celebrating a milestone, and having a reservation allows you to make the most of your special day.

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The Drawbacks of Making Reservations


One of the drawbacks of making reservations for restaurants in Paris is that it limits your flexibility. You may not always know exactly where you want to dine or what time you’ll be hungry. Having a reservation locks you into a specific time and place, which can be restrictive.

Last-Minute Changes

If your plans change or you’re running late, having a reservation can be a hassle. Some restaurants have strict policies regarding late arrivals or changes to the party size, which can add stress to your dining experience. Without a reservation, you have the freedom to adapt to unexpected circumstances.


Paris is a city that thrives on spontaneity. Some of the best dining experiences can come from stumbling upon a charming bistro or cafe without any prior plans. Making reservations can limit your ability to embrace the serendipity of Parisian dining.

How to Decide Whether to Make Reservations

Consider the Type of Restaurant

When deciding whether to make a reservation, consider the type of restaurant you plan to visit. High-end, Michelin-starred establishments often require reservations, while casual cafes and bistros may be more accommodating to walk-in guests. Researching the restaurant ahead of time can help you determine whether a reservation is necessary.

Evaluate the Time of Day

The time of day can also impact the necessity of making reservations. Dinner service in Paris tends to be crowded, especially on weekends, making reservations more valuable during those peak hours. For breakfast, brunch, or lunch, you may have more flexibility to dine without a reservation.

Consider the Day of the Week

Similarly, the day of the week can influence your decision. Weekends are typically busier than weekdays, and special occasions or events may heighten the demand for reservations. If you plan to dine out on a popular night, it’s wise to secure a reservation in advance.

Tips for Making Reservations in Paris

Plan Ahead

If you know when and where you want to dine, it’s best to make a reservation as far in advance as possible. Some of the most sought-after restaurants in Paris have limited availability, so booking ahead can guarantee you a table.

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Use Concierge Services

If you’re staying at a hotel or utilizing other concierge services, take advantage of their expertise in securing restaurant reservations. Many concierges have relationships with local restaurants and can assist you in making arrangements for your dining experience.

Be Flexible

If you’re open to dining at a variety of restaurants, you can increase your chances of finding a table without a reservation. Being flexible with your choices and willing to explore different options can lead to delightful culinary discoveries.


In conclusion, the decision to make reservations for restaurants in Paris ultimately depends on your personal preferences and circumstances. While reservations offer the convenience of guaranteed seating and special arrangements for celebrations, they can also limit your spontaneity and flexibility. By considering the type of restaurant, time of day, and day of the week, you can make an informed decision about whether to make a reservation. Whether you choose to plan ahead or embrace the serendipity of dining in Paris, the city’s culinary delights are sure to leave a lasting impression.

FAQs About Making Reservations in Paris

1. Are reservations necessary for all restaurants in Paris?

Reservations are not always necessary, but they are recommended for popular and high-end restaurants, especially during peak dining hours and on weekends.

2. What is the best way to make reservations in Paris?

You can make reservations directly with the restaurant, through online booking platforms, or with the assistance of hotel concierge services.

3. Can I walk in without a reservation and still find a table?

While some restaurants may accommodate walk-in guests, especially during off-peak hours, it’s advisable to have a reservation to ensure a seamless dining experience.

4. How far in advance should I make reservations in Paris?

For popular restaurants, it’s recommended to make reservations as far in advance as possible, especially for special occasions or during peak tourist seasons.

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5. Can I cancel or modify my reservation if my plans change?

Many restaurants have policies regarding cancellations and modifications, so it’s important to review the reservation terms and communicate any changes as soon as possible.