French cuisine is famous all over the world and is considered one of the most exquisite. And in Paris you can get acquainted with its best traditions, because the Parisian cuisine contains all the best from different regions of the country. What to try in Paris for a tourist to take with him the most pleasant memories and impressions? What food in Paris is worth your attention? Where to eat in Paris, tasty and beautiful? To help you understand the local cuisine, we have prepared a small culinary guide to Paris. This review will help you decide on the choice of establishments according to your taste and budget, and at the same time understand the many nuances of local gastronomy.
Where to eat in Paris
The best restaurants in Paris
How to save money on food in Paris
What to try in Paris
Food in Paris: Good Tips
Food in Paris is very diverse. The French capital offers many options to eat deliciously and indulge in culinary delights. Depending on your budget and preferences, these can be either expensive restaurants or relatively budget cafes.
The most famous restaurants in Paris
Paris restaurants are the dream of gourmets and connoisseurs of fine cuisine. If your budget allows you to visit Parisian restaurants, in them you can find not only a variety of culinary delights, but also exquisite interiors, often – a rich and interesting history, and sometimes magnificent panoramic views. True, the portions can be quite small, in contrast to the amount of the bill. But many are willing to shell out for a unique gastronomic or even cultural experience. So which restaurants in Paris deserve special attention?
La Tour d’Argent
15 Quai de la Tournelle
Legendary restaurant, one of the oldest in Europe. It is believed that it was opened back in 1582 as a wine tavern, and at one time King Henri IV himself came here. Famous for its beautiful views of Notre Dame Cathedral, as well as a collection of wines.
One of the most famous restaurants in Paris. It was originally a bistro opened by Maxime Gaillard in 1893. In 1981, the establishment became the property of Pierre Cardin, who created the Art Nouveau Museum on the upper floors. At various times, John Travolta, Brigitte Bordeaux, Edith Piaf, Maria Callas, Aristotle Onassis, Coco Chanel, Vladimir Vysotsky visited Maxim to try haute cuisine.
13 Rue de l’Ancienne Comedie
Prokop is considered one of the oldest cafes in Paris. It was opened in 1686 at a time when coffee, recently imported to France, was just gaining popularity. The restaurant tables remember Voltaire and Rousseau, Diderot, Danton, Robespierre, Balzac and many others. They say that it was here that the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen of 1789 was drawn up.
The history of this place is so rich that we have included it in the itinerary of the free “Gourmet Saint-Germain” audio tour.
Le Jules Verne
2nd floor Eiffel Tower
Jules Verne is a view restaurant on the second floor of the Eiffel Tower.
58 Tour Eiffel
1 er é tage de la Tour Eiffel
Another restaurant located inside the Eiffel Tower, only on the ground floor – 58 meters above the ground. Visitors to this restaurant in Paris can skip the long line to the tower.
27 quai Branly
A restaurant on the roof of the museum on Quai Branly. The main advantage is an excellent view of the Eiffel Tower.
102, Boulevard du Montparnasse
The La Coupole brasserie on Boulevard Montparnasse opened in December 1927 and quickly fell in love with Parisian bohemians, including Marc Chagall, Picasso, Ava Gardner, Marlene Dietrich, Jean-Paul Sartre, Hemingway.
Where to Eat Inexpensively in Paris: Budget Seats
Inexpensive establishments in Paris should be looked for a bit outside the popular tourist routes. Turn off the legendary avenues into quiet streets, walk a few blocks inland, and you will certainly find small and relatively budget restaurants, where you will find not only affordable prices, but often excellent service.
La Petite Rose des Sables ( 6 rue de Lancry ) is a tiny and extraordinarily cozy restaurant with home cooking not far from Boulevard Saint-Martin.
Le Vent d’Armor ( 25 quai de la Tournelle ) is another pleasant “home” place with excellent cuisine, on the Seine River.
La Reserve de Quasimodo ( 4 Rue de la Colombe ) – a small cozy tavern near Notre Dame, with a good selection of wines, delicious hearty food and reasonable prices. The old wine restaurant Resto Cave a Vin is part of this establishment – it has been working here for about 800 years!
In addition to the restaurants themselves, large or small, in Paris you will find many other budget establishments where you can eat deliciously: cafes, bistros, brasseries, boulangerie, creperie …. Yes, the range of French catering establishments is very wide! If you are already confused about these names, let’s try to figure out how they differ and what to try in Paris in each of them.
Caf é (Café)
In numerous cafes in Paris you can taste traditional French cuisine, but at more affordable prices than in restaurants. Parisian cafes often work intermittently, serving visitors only during breakfast, lunch and dinner hours. Exceptions are the tourist areas of Paris. You can eat there any time of the day.
- If the menu is in multiple languages, then the cafe is geared towards tourists. Locals prefer authentic places where menus are only available in French (sometimes also in English) and food quality requirements are often higher.
- If you just stopped by for a coffee, then at the bar it usually costs two times cheaper than at the table. Well, the most expensive price is on the terrace. For the opportunity to sit in the famous wicker chairs and experience the style of Parisian life.
Among the many Parisian cafes, establishments with history stand out. The prices in them cannot be called affordable – these are elite places that carefully preserve traditions and keep their brand. For example, the legendary cafes of Saint-Germain are Café de Flore (172 boulevard Saint Germain) and Les Deux Magots (6 Place Saint-Germain des Prés). These are expensive and world famous bohemian places that are remembered by visitors such as Exupery, Picasso, Faulkner, Appoliner, Hemingway, Sartre and many others.
And here are some more not-so-famous, but more budget-friendly cafes in the center of Paris:
Au Vieux Paris ( 24 rue Chanoinesse ) is a charming café near Notre Dame.
Café des Musé es ( 49 Rue de Turenne ) – not the cheapest cafe in Paris, but with good food. You can save money by taking the dish of the day. Located in the Marais area.
Strada Café ( 94 rue du Temple ) – a cozy place with good coffee, not far from the Pompidou Center.
Aux Cerises ( 47 avenue de Suffren ) is a nice café near Champs de Mars and the Eiffel Tower.
The discreet charm of Parisian bistros (Bistro t )
In Parisian bistros, everything is simple, no frills – a modest design, a simple menu, sometimes a little crowded. But on the other hand, it is inexpensive, tasty and cozy at home.
Russian-speaking tourists like to tell the story that the name “bistro” comes from the Russian “fast”, which the Cossacks used to urge French waiters during the occupation of Paris by Russian troops in 1814. We remember this Parisian legend (and many others too!) On an audio tour of Montmartre.
Some good bistros in Paris:
Le Bon Georges ( 45 Rue Saint-Georges )
Le Vieux Bistrot ( 54 rue Mouffetard )
Bistrot Richelieu ( 45 rue de Richelieu )
Bistro V ( 56 boulevard de Port Royal )
Brasserie (Brasserie) – beer restaurants in Paris
This name translates as “brewery”, but French brasseries are already something more, they are a style of local life. In these establishments, visitors are offered about the same set of French cuisine, you can often take the “dish of the day”). It is pleasant to sit in them, have a glass of beer, eat onion soup and stewed duck.
Among the Parisian brasseries there are establishments with a rich history, widely known outside of France. For example, Brasserie Lipp ( 151 Boulevard Saint-Germain ) – we talk about it separately in our free audio tour of Saint-Germain).
And here are a couple of budget brasseries that locals visit:
Bar Brasserie ( rue Lepic, 3) – a modest budget establishment in Montmartre, where you can eat tasty and inexpensive
Le Relais Fac Brasserie ( 13 boulevard Saint Germain ) – inexpensive but good establishment in the Saint-Germain area that locals like it.
Crêperies ( Creperies ) – Crepes in Paris
You can have a quick and inexpensive snack in Paris at local pancakes – creperi (from “crepes” – pancakes). These modest establishments, often just kiosks, are scattered throughout the city. They offer traditional French crepes with fillings.
Some of the best crepes in Paris:
Midi 12 ( 12 Rue la Fayette ) – a cozy pancake shop near Galeries Lafayette in the 8th arrondissement.
Breizh Café (there are several addresses, for example, in the Marais area: 109 Rue Vieille du Temple ) is a famous pancake chain in Paris.
La Crêperie bretonne fleurie de l’épouse du marin ( 67 Rue de Charonne ) is a cozy and colorful place in the Roquette area.
Boulangerie (Boulangerie) – famous bakeries in Paris
Traditional bakery with a huge range of baked goods. As a rule, they can be used for breakfast with a fresh sandwich, which includes the famous baguette. Often, Parisian boulangeries are combined with the Patiserie pastry shop, and then the sign says Boulangerie – Pattiserie.
Several locations to enjoy fresh and delicious pastries in Paris:
Boulangerie Pâtisserie La Parisienne ( 28 rue Monge )
Jean Noel Julien Boulangerie ( 75 rue Saint Honore )
Chambelland Boulangerie ( 14 rue Ternaux )
Boulangerie Alexine ( 40 rue Lepic )
Boulangerie Poilane ( 8 rue du Cherche Midi )
Chocolatier ( Chocolatier )
Chocolate boutique is a place for those with a sweet tooth. Chocolate in France is as iconic as cheese and wine. Sweets with all sorts of, sometimes very exotic, fillings, pralines, glazed chestnuts, truffles and other delights can be found, for example, in the Patrick Roger chain of boutiques ( Patrick Roger ) or at the Alain Ducasse Chocolate Factory ( Alain Ducasse – 40 Rue de la Roquette).
And by the way – a box from a French chocolatier will be an excellent souvenir from Paris!
Business Lunches and Dish of the Day
Many cafes and restaurants offer business lunches at reasonable prices. To save money, look for a set menu ( formule ) and check if your chosen restaurant offers a meal of the day ( plat de jour ).
Supermarkets and shopping malls
In supermarkets, you can always buy yourself a salad, cheese, baguette and a bottle of wine and eat it all on one of the many lawns or in your room (if allowed by the rules). And in large shopping centers, for example, in the Carrousel du Louvre shopping center near the Louvre, there are many fast food restaurants.
Diner chains and fast food restaurants
PommedePain is a chain of eateries where you can eat densely, tasty and inexpensively in Paris.
Paul is a bakery chain that dates back to the 19th century.
BriocheDoree – chain bakeries, where a variety of aromatic pastries and sandwiches are always on sale, to which you can immediately buy a cup of aromatic coffee.
McDonald’s is a well-known American chain.
Quick is the French equivalent of McDonald’s, and prices are slightly lower here.
Flunch is a French low-cost, self-service food chain with reasonable prices depending on the size of the plate you choose.
Cuisine of different nations
Paris is an international city. The most diverse cuisines of the world are presented here, and you should not miss them. Establishments of Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, Greek, Middle Eastern, Mexican cuisines are found at every turn. Kebabs are popular in the Latin Quarter, don’t forget about Japanese restaurants serving sushi and rolls.
Several budget places to eat in Paris for an inexpensive price:
Pizza Julia ( 43 rue de Charenton ) is a very small budget pizzeria with incredibly delicious Italian takeaway pizzas, close to Place de la Bastille.
Joe Burger ( 49 Rue Descartes ) – Burger in the Latin Quarter with delicious, judging by the reviews, hamburgers. Average bill (burger, fries and drink) – 8-9 euros.
Happy Caffé ( 214 rue de Rivoli ) – a cafe with delicious pancakes near the Louvre and Tuileries Gardens.
Paris is inexpensive: how to save money and what to visit for free
Paris is the world capital of gastronomy, a city of gourmets and gourmet cuisine. And at the same time, a huge metropolis in which a variety of culinary traditions meet and combine. Among the huge selection of dishes that Parisian cuisine offers, pay attention to the most famous ones.
Typical French breakfast
The French breakfast is very modest and it is no coincidence that it is called “little breakfast” (le petit déjeuner). This usually includes a cup of coffee and of course a croissant . It can also be a bun or a sandwich. For breakfast in Paris, a baguette with jam / marmalade and butter can be served. If you need to eat more densely, then add a boiled egg, sometimes an omelet and orange juice.
Famous French cuisine: what to try in Paris
La soupe à l’oignon is a dish of white sweet onions, broth and garlic. It is believed to have been invented by Louis XIV.
A popular French delicacy, which, however, does not give up so easily to a beginner – you still need to be able to eat it.
Rooster in wine
Coq au vin is a traditional Burgundy dish in the capital.
The price for them varies from 12 to 20 euros. And, in order to dispel the prevailing stereotype, it is worth adding that the French rarely eat this delicacy, mainly on holidays.
No festive table in France can do without this dish made from fatty liver of a duck or goose.
Truffles and dishes from them
This pleasure is not cheap and is considered a very refined delicacy. One of the cheapest options is truffle lasagna.
A package with ready-made chestnuts in season (from October to the end of winter) can be bought right on the street for 3-5 euros. They can also be found in a wide variety of dishes.
According to official data, there are more varieties of cheese than there are days a year. It can be difficult even for a gourmet to understand all these brie with figs, royal roquefort with quince, soft cheese based on goat milk with champignons. It’s easy for beginners to get confused.
Experts recommend starting to get acquainted with varieties that do not have bright aromas, and only then move on to mold of all shades and other piquancies. Among the most famous and popular are Camembert, Beaufort, Brie, Roquefort Xavier, Valance.
The best way to get closer to the French tradition of raw food is to head to a cheese boutique (fromagerie, from fromage – cheese) for a cheese tasting. There, in any case, they will help you navigate the huge assortment of products and choose incomparable cheeses for your cheese plate (as well as take a glass of wine). For example, at Fromagerie Danard at rue du Colonel Driant, 5, very close to the Louvre.
In Fromagerie you can also buy a cheese souvenir home. Don’t forget to just ask to vacuum it.
And remember – in a cafe in Paris, a cheese plate is served as a separate dish before dessert.
Popular French desserts in Paris
Desserts are another pride of Parisian cuisine. There are a lot of them:
croissants and all kinds of pastries,
mousses (mousse – “foam”),
blanc-manger cold jelly dessert,
meringue (meringue), or meringue (baiser – from the word “on”)
crème brûlée – literally “burnt cream”,
profiterole from choux pastry,
petit four – “small oven” – assorted small cookies or cakes,
Tarte Tatin – the famous French apple pie “inside out”,
and other pastries and cakes ….
The delicate French dessert macarons – biscuits made from almonds, sugar and proteins with a layer of cream and an unforgettable taste – has gained immense popularity all over the world.
The origins of these light almond cakes are legendary. One of them says that they were not invented in France, but in Italy. And the French learned the recipe for this almond delicacy after the Italian Catherine de ‘Medici married Henry IX, becoming the French queen. But the French tell a more patriotic legend about the sisters named Macaron, who were nuns in Nancy and invented such cakes to feast on without violating the strict fasting rules of the monastery. According to legend, it was already in the 8th century!
As it was in reality, no one knows for sure. And even the origin of the name remains a mystery. By the way, there was a general confusion with the name. Someone calls them macaroni, and someone – macarons. The first option is still more correct, although it is strange for a Russian-speaking person to call French multi-colored sweets pasta. But the French “macarons” is read this way, albeit with a characteristic pronouncing. And “macaroons” are more often called American coconut cakes, and this is a completely different dessert.
Wine in France is not a luxury, but an integral part of everyday life. It is almost impossible to buy bad wine in Paris – already in the range from 4 to 20 euros per bottle, quite high-quality wines are sold.
In order not to wander between the bottles for a long time, focus on the French when choosing a wine. And they usually prefer prices from 5-6 euros, a deep bottom and a green label on the cork. It’s good if the label also says “Mis en bouteille en propiété” – this means that the wine was bottled in the same place where it was produced.
And remember – as a rule, the more modest the label, the better the wine. A good manufacturer will not sculpt something lurid on his masterpiece.
Paris even has a special museum dedicated to wine, the history of French viticulture and winemaking. We can read about him in the article on the best museums in Paris.
Observe the operating mode
Many Parisian catering establishments (especially cafes and restaurants) work strictly by the hour. Breakfasts (if any) are served until 12:00, lunches – from 12:00 to 14:30, dinners – from 19:00 to 21:30. Many establishments are closed on Sundays and sometimes on Mondays.
In places with a large concentration of tourists, the schedule may differ, as well as the opening hours are extended until 23, and sometimes even later.
Book in advance
Especially if you are planning to visit some famous popular place, and even with a panoramic view. Keep in mind – there are not enough panoramic views for everyone, and it may well happen that you are seated in the part of the restaurant where there is no view. To avoid such a situation, indicate and specify all your wishes in advance when booking.
Online booking often allows you to save up to 20% on visiting an institution. For example, if you book a table through the popular travel portal Trip Advisor. Or on the La fourchette website.
The meanings of the “menu” in Russian and French are different. The menu in our understanding, that is, the list of dishes that can be ordered, is called by the French “ la carte “(la kart). And the words “menu” or “ formule ” (formula) refer to a ready-made set of several dishes. For example, “Entrée ou Dessert + Plat” (appetizer or dessert + hot) and “Entrée + Plat + Dessert” (appetizer, hot and dessert). You can choose from a selection of dishes.
The more solid the establishment, the more complex and refined the dishes that you can choose from the list. But in any case, such an order “according to the formula” will always be more profitable than according to the general menu “a la carte”.
Waiters and tips
Waiters in Paris are a separate caste. They earn good money, are proud of their profession and behave with enviable dignity. Some people think they are arrogant and sometimes not very nice. Others are slow. Connoisseurs advise not to find fault, accept waiters as part of Parisian cuisine and enjoy the process of eating.
Tips are usually already included in the price, so it is not customary to leave anything else. But if you decide to thank the waiter, it is unlikely that anyone will be offended by you.
August is the month when the entire Parisian population leaves to rest. Please be aware that many shops and small cafes may be closed during this time.
Paris on its own: tips and secrets
A week in Paris: detailed itineraries for 7 days
Attractions of Paris on the map
The most beautiful streets and squares in Paris
Unknown Paris: unusual sights and places of interest
Paris districts: where to stay and how to choose a hotel
Have you decided where to stay in Paris? If you haven’t decided yet, check out the hotel specials: