Saving $370 at Tour d’Argent

Paris, the beautiful Eiffel Tower.I took my daughter and granddaughter to Paris. I have always wanted to eat at the Tour d’Argent – a famous Michelin-rated restaurant, albeit only one star. But it’s the place to see and be seen and I wanted my granddaughter to experience culture in its finest sense.

I told my offspring that we would eat at cheap cafés, buy bread and cheese, have the free breakfast at the hotel so we could afford the $200+ drinks at Tour d’Argent. So, I’m thinking it’s going to be about $750 for the evening.

I was concerned that my granddaughter’s dress was not quite nice enough so I bought her a new one at Galleries Lafayette. And, since I bought her one I thought I deserved a new one too. But they were “solde” (on sale).

We came back from sightseeing early and showered, did our hair, makeup, and all around made ourselves beautiful. We came downstairs and got in our cab. The driver had never heard of the restaurant! Really, where is he from, Tunisia? Actually, yes, he was.

Traffic was terrible and we were going to be late. So I finally called the restaurant to tell them that we would be there but were stuck in traffic.

They could not find our reservation. I gave them the reservation number and while I waited for her to find it, I looked at the email again. It started Dear Madame, we are so pleased to be of service to you but – OMG – they did NOT have room for us on that night, not that they did have space.

I begged and pleaded – could we just come in for a cocktail? Non, non, non. We regret that we are completely full.

Just at this moment, we are pulling up at the front. I ask the Tunisian taxi driver if he knows of another restaurant. Sure lady, maybe in Tunisia. He sees the starch-suited bellman who opens the door, takes my money, and gets out of “Le Dodge”

The bellman takes me in and explains to the gatekeeper who says, no food at the inn. However, he will run across the street to their “sister restaurant” and see if by any possible chance they can seat us.

Amazingly, they could. We were squeezed into a table in the middle of the empty restaurant where we ate for $185. We had a great laugh and had a fun dinner. I figure we saved about $370 ($750 expected cost of dinner minus $200 (dresses) and $180 (cost of the real dinner).

You always have to look on the bright side. This restaurant even had a cat!

Lynn Freer is a successful California business woman, who recently went to Paris with her daughter and granddaughter. Her adventures can be found at her blog  

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