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Cafe St. Regis + On Dining Solo

3.09.2015
Paris Cafe St. Regis
Paris Cafe St. Regis
Paris Cafe St. Regis
Paris Cafe St. Regis
Paris Cafe St. Regis
Paris Cafe St. Regis

I met a lovely lady the other day that mentioned how she's slowly eating her way through Paris, indulging in two-three-sometimes four course meals at restaurants on her days off, always with a glass of wine and sometimes a flute of champagne. Commonplace in Paris perhaps, but what surprised me about her rather extravagant lunchtime ritual is she's enjoying it as a solo diner... which made me wonder, can dining alone be as pleasurable and rich an experience as when there's company? Does it paint a lonely picture or a romantic one? Does it matter what anyone thinks when it gives you great pleasure? And when company is simply unavailable, is there a choice?

The other morning I stopped at Cafe St. Regis on the Ile Saint-Louis and had a full breakfast, which I counted as progress from my going to a café alone for just a coffee or hot chocolate and viennoiserie. It was a perfect place to try and dine solo, mainly because it was familiar and this lovely bistro has great food (the meal above was from lunch with my family a few months back), the service is friendly and the atmosphere is warm and welcoming. As a first go, I found the experience enriching...   

How about you, do/would you enjoy going out and having a meal solo? 

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26 comments

  1. I learned to dine solo in Paris. Especially enjoyed dining outside by myself. People watching. Journal. Often times a good, long, complicated crossword puzzle. Or a book. Those were the years of young children....and this time to myself was precious.

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  2. I don't mind in certain small cafe type restaurants if I have something to read. I'm make notes on my iPhone, which I'll have with me in Paris, on some of the eateries and interesting places that you're telling us about here. The photos of your lunch at Cafe St. Regis looks wonderful!

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  3. I don't think I ever did dinner alone during my single years, but I definitely did lunch.

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  4. For me, I don't mind taking a coffee or something small alone and people watching. However, there are certain restaurants, maybe certain nights of the week where I would feel odd alone... it's normal to see people dining solo here in Rome because people who have families are already at home eating with them (on the weekend that is)

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  5. Ah Paris you are a temptress. I wanna succumb to your invite :)

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  6. Oh, how lovely to savour a meal by yourself! Nice shots.

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  7. We are a noisy family of five ! For me it is a treat to go out and dine on my own . But I have to admit that it took some getting used to it - especially telling arrogant waiters that I don`t want to sit in the darkest corner next to the toilet.
    Enjoy many more wonderful meals on your own .
    Stunning and wonderful pictures!

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  8. Looks so good, especially the bread!

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  9. Dining solo is a different experience altogether: the very few times I had a solitary meal in a restaurant, I have noticed that I do pay more attention to my surroundings and possibly every detail... before inevitably following my own thoughts... Truth be told, I do prefer a lively conversation at the table though ;-)

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    1. Until now, I always preferred company (and a huge part of me probably always will), but I also love the fly-on-the-wall experience that dining solo allows - being the ultimate observer at so close a spectacle.

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  10. Those are great images - I'm so glad you shared at http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2015/03/flying-high.html

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  11. I would gladly dine at the St. Regis alone or with company! What a delightful restaurant! I've dined alone (mostly on business trips) and I'm fine with it as long as I know I'll soon be with family / friends. If I were lonely in life and had no choice about the matter, I might not enjoy it. And I think if you have your camera along and get busy taking photos between courses, you could thoroughly enjoy the experience!

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  12. Dining solo at a special place like this is always perfect. I think one can really immerse oneself in the moment and the place. Loved seeing your photos on Instagram.

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  13. I actually find it a very peaceful and enriching experience. I think it helps if you enjoy people watching and have a rich imagination because then the world around you is just one great big story.

    mollyxxx

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    1. Well said and totally agree Molly... it's like having a meal *and* a show ;)

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  14. Dining solo is different from dining alone as strange as that may sound, but it's all in how one looks at the situation. I have dined solo and enjoyed reading a newspaper or mostly watching other people. It is an experience that should be enjoyed and not rushed.

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    1. Good point Beatrice... in this case, the words aren't really interchangeable then. The difference between not only choice but confidence and demeanor and attitude. Like seeing that perspective on the two situations, thank you.

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  15. your pictures are just beautiful!

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  16. These pictures are simply, stunning. Wow.
    I've dined alone I fine it's a time for reflection and I can focus on the meal - but nothing beats dining with friends.

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  17. I (we) don't usually go out to eat, but I would not have an issue eating alone. Lovely images Catherine. xo

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  18. Wonderful photography ! As for dining solo ~ is not one of my favorite things to do ~ maybe in Paris!

    Happy Weekend to you,
    artmusedog and carol

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  19. I tried solo dining for the first time right out of college for the simple fact that my friends were still in college and I had yet to make new friends in my new stage of life. I had two options, stay cooped up or get out. I chose to go dine alone one day and at first it felt awkward and like I needed an explanation. Even my mother was aghast that I would do such an embarrassing thing. It was freeing though, and now I often dine alone if need be. There are times it is very needed when I dine with monkeys most nights. :)

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    1. Hahahahaha! I'm with you about the meals with monkeys Kim ;)

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  20. I say more power to her, but I wouldn't enjoy eating alone. Great photography, btw! Thanks for linking up at Thursday Favorite Things, can't wait to see what you'll share next week! XO

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  21. Thank you all so much for your very kind comments and sharing your experiences and wisdom. xo

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  22. Your photos set a sophisticated atmosphere - ahhh, Paris! I rarely dine alone, though I do often go to coffee shops by myself and sit a while, people-watching or reading. I have a friend in her 80's who recently moved into an urban high-rise senior community. She tells me when she tires of the meals in the dining room with other "old people," she walks to bistros or restaurants nearby and dines alone. She's a still-beautiful, confident woman who dresses impeccably - I think she would fit right in whether alone or with company. PS Catherine, I don't think a fox would come after a human unless it was rabid. However, as a small child, perhaps it could sense your vulnerability. I am so accustomed to seeing them around my house. However, I wouldn't allow one to approach a grandchild too closely. They are wild animals and unpredictable.

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