Foodie's guide to Paris
Paris is, undoubtedly, one of the food capitals of the world. No matter where in the city of lights and romance you find yourself, the mouthwatering aroma of freshly baking baguettes and sweet and savory crepes will lead you to something wonderful. Whether you're a fancy foodie or just a simple eater, Paris will send your food-loving heart a-fluttering.
To help guide you on your journey to find the best places to eat in Paris, we've mapped out our perfect, food-centric day, complete with recommendations for each meal. In Paris, food is considered an art form and a sport (according to Julia Child), so allow yourself to enjoy every distinct morsel the city has to offer.
Breakfast isn't big in Paris. In fact, Parisians joke that breakfast is "last night's baguette served with orange marmalade." But coffee is a different story. You'd be hard-pressed to find a better cup than that served at Coutume, located at 47 Rue de Babylone. Named "the only place to go for morning coffee [in Paris] by The Stylist, this small, unpretentious cafe serves up unique mixtures of some of the world's finest imported coffee. If you find yourself craving coffee on Saturday, get there early. They have free coffee tastings where you can learn the art of sipping, cupping and smelling the fine brews, so expect a long line.
If you'd rather eat while you're strolling, visit the scenic Montparnasse neighborhood and grab a sweet or savory breakfast crepe. You'll find stand after stand of delectable-smelling crepes, which rarely exceed 6 euros. For a true Parisian favorite, order the nutella et banan crêpe avec de la crème fouettée maison, or the nutella and banana crepe with house-whipped cream.
Still full from your breakfast crepe? Enjoy a light lunch at Barthélemy, one of Paris' finest cheese shops. Located down the road from Rue De Grennelle, this small, fragrant shop has every single kind of cheese your food-loving heart can imagine, from soft, freshly ripening Brie to zesty crusted chevre (goat cheese). After you're filled to the gills in cheese, take a brief stroll down Rue De Grenelle and stop at Rue Cler, which is a beautiful cobblestone street bustling with hip, modern, classic and aromatic cafes, bistros, markets and specialty shops. For a sweet treat, visit Martine Lambert, which serves fresh ice cream from Normandy milk or La Pâtisserie des Rêves, an artisan cake shop with stunning cakes, crepes, custards, tarts and creams.
If you find yourself in the trendy Las Halles district, a visit to Au Pied De Cochon is a must. Located at 6 Rue Coquillere, this traditionally adorned and decorated French restaurant serves the best onion soup (served with hunks of crispy bread and gooey Gruyere) in Paris 24 hours a day. Another house specialty is the crepes flambeed with Grand Marnier. Just a stone's throw from Au Pied De Cochon is another extremely popular restaurant, Le Georges. The reason for the popularity is the jaw-dropping view the rooftop venue provides. The experts at Fodor's recommend the coriander-spiced beef fillet flambeed with cognac and a slice of the Cracker's cheesecake with yogurt sorbet for dessert.
A trip to the market
A foodie's vacation is not complete without a trip to the market. Be sure to visit the Organic Market or Marche Biologique Raspail, which scales from Cherce-Midi to Rue De Rennes in Montparnasse. This market is open on Sundays from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Locals recommend going early to avoid the crowds or later to grab the best bargain. Although the goods are pricey, you can get anything, like heirloom tomatoes, fresh chevre and sheep's milk butter, bundles of herbs and warm roasted chickens.
For a budget-friendly snack, tourists and locals alike rave about the falafels in the Jewish section of town, the renowned Rue des Rosiers. For just shy of 5 euros, you can get a falafel sandwich served in a hot pita slathered with fresh hummus and vegetables. Locals also devour the gyros near Saint Michel. Just a hop and skip from Notre Dame Cathedral, the winding road near the Saint Michel fountain is full of authentic Greek eateries serving up the best gyros around. Order an "Extra Pita Grecque," for just 4 euros. It's a loaded pita filled with chicken shawarma, lettuce, tomato, tzatziki and a heaping handful of French fries.
Dinner is arguably one of the most exciting times to eat in Paris. Fine dining is taken very seriously here and you're bound to find some of the best food in the entire world sitting on your plate. There are a few things to know about dinner in Paris, though. Most places aren't open until 8 p.m. and require reservations. Unlike many American restaurants, the waiters in bustling French bistros and brasseries are doing more than just waiting, like busing and hosting, so don't be surprised if they aren't overly attentive. To save money, order your wine in a carafe. Favorite wines among Parisians are the reds, whites and roses from the Côte du Rhône wine region. For more tips on dining in Paris, check out David Lebovitz's blog.
For a view with your meal, visit Le 39V, located off the trendy Avenue George V. This rooftop restaurant has an open kitchen design and a vegetable garden on the terrace filled with fresh herbs and produce. The experts at Stylist urge you to order the Grand Marnier souffle, which is crisp, soft and incredibly strong. Another highly recommended dinner option is Les Tabblettes, which is a swanky 16th arrondissement restaurant with a hip modern interior. You can expect to find the very best of French cooking, like the squid and artichokes barigoule (cooked with white wine, lemon and herbs) and veal sweetbreads with confetti of lemon.
If you're in the mood for a more quaint and quiet meal with du gueule (or character), head to Le Stella, also in the 16th arrondissement. Here you'll find traditional French fare, like onion soup, escargots, steak tartare and roast lamb. For an incredible take on seafood, visit Chez Michel, located just steps from Gare du Nord in the 10th arrondissement. You can expect to find the freshest seafood, like baby eels and oyster ceviche, paired with gorgeous and vibrant seasonal vegetables. You can't leave without enjoying the doughnut-shaped Paris-Brests, which are filled with praline buttercream.