I’ve been to Paris many times, and one of the challenges besides trying to survive a jetlag is trying to decide where to eat. That’s because there are so many options you don’t know what to choose, and when you’ve finally decided – usually at the last minute – the restaurant is fully booked, and you end up eating whatever next door.
It can’t be that bad, right?, you ask. After all you are in France, a country renowned for culinary excellence. Of course people have bad meals in every city even in Paris. So why waste an opportunity to have a decent meal at a decent restaurant when all you need to do is a little planning?
I discovered Ralph’s, an American restaurant, a few years ago when I searched for places to eat near the hotel I had just booked in Saint-Germain-des-Prés. After visiting its website and seeing pictures of its gorgeous courtyard, I called from our home in America and made a reservation. I had to call from the U.S. because their website didn’t have a booking system, and back then the restaurant was not available on a restaurant booking app The Fork. It’s good to know it is now!
At this point you may be wondering why I wanted to have American food in France. Well, it was not all about the food. I’m also a courtyard and garden enthusiast, and so I always love an opportunity to dine alfresco surrounded by beautiful flowers and trees. In fact, I always choose to stay at a hotel with a beautiful courtyard or garden where I can wander around.
We got to Paris, but our reservation for lunch wasn’t until a few days later, and I really looked forward to it. But when we got there, I was told they lost my reservation! Good thing we were there early, so we got a table right away.
I quickly forgot the little mix-up when I found myself surrounded by gorgeous wrought iron chairs, white and blue pillows and cushions, whose colors matched the floral dishes on the tables under the enormous canvas market umbrellas. All these beauties against the backdrop of boxwoods, Hydrangea, English Ivy, and other greenery that were carefully positioned to heighten the ambience of this charming little oasis. It was cozy, informal, yet utterly sophisticated.
For a courtyard aficionado like moi, this little romantic place in the middle of Paris was a total delight, which was really something considering the sheer number of chic restaurants in the French capital. It must not have been that easy to come up with something that rivaled the stylish Parisian cafés, but Ralph did it.
If you’re in Paris and have had enough Steak Frites and are so inclined for an American classic like a burger, crab cakes, or lobster salad, Ralph’s is a good option. After downing Croque Monsieurs all week, you’ll feel like an American in Paris after taking a bite into that juicy bacon cheeseburger and crispy Ranch Style fries.
If you prefer to sit inside, the restaurant also has an indoor dining room decorated with leather in Ralph Lauren’s signature equestrian theme. Ralph might have done something right because I heard the Parisians love the food and the vibes, and so the restaurant is full almost every night.
After eating, you can also shop his latest collection of clothes and accessories as this 17th-century townhouse is also home to his boutique.
Next time I’m in Paris, I’m definitely going to try brunch there, but I’m definitely going to book through The Fork app just to be on the safe side.
One response to “Dining Alfresco in One of The Most Beautiful Courtyards in Paris”
[…] The hotel is in the 6th arrondissement on the Left Bank, not far from the gorgeous Luxembourg Garden, which to me is the most romantic garden in Paris. Saint-Germain-des-Prés is a great area to base yourself while exploring Paris. It’s a cultural hub with historical places, shops, and restaurants, including the famous Café de Flore, Les Deux Magots, and Ralph’s, which I wrote about here. […]