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Paris food guide

Paris food guide

by Simon Wilder 06 November 2015

The sprawling capital of France can be a bit daunting for any intrepid foodie, especially when there are tourist traps hiding on every corner. Seasoned traveller Simon Wilder spills the beans on his favourite haunts to give you a better idea of what's on offer.

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Mathurin Roze de Chantoiseau is credited with inventing the restaurant when he opened his first establishment in the Rue Saint Honoré in Paris in 1766; 250 years later, there is no city in the world where it is easier to find something good to eat. The excellence of food you find in the city is breathtaking. Its citizens want the best and mostly they get it too. Whether you are eating in a restaurant, buying for a picnic or looking for some delicious edible souvenirs to take home, the quality will be superb.

You will find everything you could want in every neighbourhood, from chocolate to cheese and sometimes, experimentally, chocolate-covered cheese, but it will almost always be French. This may sound obvious, but other cuisines haven’t been absorbed into French food culture the way they have been in Britain. You may find African and South-East Asian restaurants and shops, but not in every district.

There are so many good places to eat in Paris it is impossible to give a definitive list. Sit down at the nearest table when you feel hungry. You will likely be pleasantly surprised; if not, your next meal isn’t far away. Beware, people smoke heavily, if not as heavily as they once did.

The choice in Paris is enormous. This list is only the beginning of your food adventure.

Casual eats

With two Michelin stars, this is as haute as it gets

Le Cinq

L’Etoile Manquant – Busy cafe with a modern, arty feel. Perfect for people-watching the fashionistas of the Marais district.

34 Rue Vieille du Temple, 75004

Café de Flore – Just a few doors along from the Deux Magots (see below), this is one of the oldest coffee houses in the city and a destination for the literary. Jean Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir were regulars.

172 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75006

La Palette– Left bank bar and bistro with a 1940s interior. Great for lunch after browsing the galleries and shops in the Latin Quarter.

43 Rue de Seine, 75006

Dining destinations

 
Paris tart
Fantastic patisserie can be found throughout Paris

Le Cinq – Traditional French haute cuisine, and with two Michelin stars, this is as haute as it gets. Very smart and expensive, but a truly memorable meal.

Four Seasons Georges Cinq Hotel, 31 Avenue George V, 75008

Camille – Traditional, service coninuée (all-day dining) and very good. I know this isn’t why you’ll go here, but you will often see well-known personalities from the media or fashion industry.

24 Rue des Francs Bourgeois, 75003

Les Deux Magots – A tourist destination, but that doesn’t stop Parisians enjoying such a prime spot. If you can get a seat on the terrace then do, or head inside under the two wise men this restaurant is named after.

6 Place Saint-Germain des Prés, 75006

Bofinger – Sensational seafood brasserie with beautiful decoration. It's regularly named the most beautiful brasserie in Paris.

5–7 Rue de la Bastille, 75004

Georges – Modernist designed, glass-walled restaurant at the top of the Pompidou Centre. Sensational views across the whole of the city.

Place Georges Pompidou, 75004

Bistrot Paul Bert – Much-loved bistro. Some call it perfect, and it's definitely one of the most well-known in the world. Be sure to book in advance.

18 Rue Paul Bert, 75011

 
Izrael
Izraël, one of Simon's favourite shops
Paris bistro menu
The day's menu at Camille, one of the city's many bistros
The most colourful, vibrant and perfectly formed macarons in the city.

Gérard Mulot

Stocking up

Markets

Marché Boulevard Raspail – On Tuesdays and Fridays it's the perfect place to pick up French cheeses and sausages, as well as all the colourful fruit and vegetables you could want. On Sunday mornings it become an organic market.

Between Rue du Cherche-Midi and Rue de Rennes, 75006

Marché d'Aligre – Open every day except Monday. You can buy the very best produce from the various stalls, or eat at one of the many small restaurants.

Place d’Aligre, 75012

Bread and patisserie

Boulangerie 140– Won the coveted title of Best Baguette in Paris in 2001, which meant they supplied the presidential home for a year.

140 Rue de Belleville, 75020

Gérard Mulot – Sandwiches, tarts and mountains of the most colourful, vibrant and perfectly formed macarons in the city.

76 Rue de Seine, 75006

Pain de Sucre – An exceptionally wide range of bread and patisserie, both sweet and savoury, which are of the highest quality.

14 Rue Rambuteau, 75003

Comme à Lisbonne – This shop only sells one thing – the best custard tarts outside Lisbon – which you can enjoy with some Portugese coffee. Be prepared to queue.

37 Rue du Roi de Sicile, 75004

Cheese

Pascal Beillevaire – There are a few of these shops scattered throughout Paris, all of which are stuffed full cheeses in all shapes and sizes.

140, rue de Belleville

Chez Virginie – A family-run cheesemongers where you'll be met with a warm welcome, bags of enthusiasm and plenty of gorgeous cheese.

54 Rue Damrémont, 75018

Chocolate

Patrick Roger – A very famous chocolatier who uses the ingredient to create true works of art.

2–4 Place Saint Sulpice, 75006

Debauves et Gallais – A more traditional chocolate shop with a 200 year history that specialises in classics truffles.

30 Rue des Saints-Peres 75007

Pierre Hermé – Fascinating chocolates, often with experimental flavour combinations such as orange, passion fruit and cream cheese.

18 Rue Sainte-Croix de la Bretonnerie, 75004

Maison de la Prasline Mazet – Famous for its caramelised almonds, which are made to a recipe from 1636.

37 Rue des Archives, 75004

Food halls

Le Bon Marché – Enormous, over two floors and very beautiful inside and out. Haute Paris shops here.

24 Rue de Sèvres, 75007

Galleries Lafayette – Another incredibly large food hall full of every treat imaginable. You could easily spend an afternoon wandering around the shelves.

40 Boulevard Haussmann, 75009

General

Izraël – Tiny, has more in it than its size would suggest. Glacé fruit, beans, nuts, dried herbs and spices, you will always be surprised by something you find here. Not the sort of a place to have a website.

30 Rue François Miron, 75004

Rue Rambuteau – A street very close to the Pompidou Centre, with too many excellent food shops to list by name.

Central Paris, 75001

Equipment

E. Dehillerin – Dusty shelves packed with equipment for the food trade and domestic cook. They sell the biggest frying pans you’ll ever see, and you won't want to leave before buying everything on the shelves.

18 et 20 Rue Coquilliere, 75001

 
markets
The food hall at Le Bon Marché is one of Europe's finest
produce on offer
A selection of candied fruits

Don't miss

The most symmetrical (and arguably most beautiful) square in the world, the Place des Vosges.

The view from the café on the top floor of the Musée d’Orsay. The beautiful Catholic church Sacre Coeur is perfectly framed through the clock window. The museum’s collection is worth an hour or two’s contemplation as well, as is the rest of the building, a converted station.

The boating pond in the Jardins Luxembourg. It’s a beautiful park, too.

The Memorial for Deported Martyrs of World War Two behind Notre Dame on the Île de la Cité.

The Arts et Métiers Metro Line 11 platform, copper-clad like a Jules Verne submarine. The museum of science above ground is also worth a visit.

 
 
 

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