Whenever I visit Paris, I try to pack in all my favourite foods. The problem is, I have a lot of favourite places, making it so that my trips revolve around food, which I’m totally fine with. In this guide, you’ll find the best places in Paris to eat, whether it’s a full on meal, a quick pastry stop, or sampling some of France’s wonderful bread. These selections have been sourced from me and my friends who have all lived like locals in Paris.
Helpful tips and tricks
Parisians are known for having slow (and rude) service. I don’t really think it’s rude—Americans are used to fast service with waiters constantly checking on us; the French prefer to enjoy their meals in peace! Some of these things you can’t help but these tips will help you live like a local in Parisian restaurants:
- If you walk into a café and want a table, they will say either pour manger (to eat) or pour boire (to drink). Say whichever one you’re there for.
- To ask for the check, say l’addition s’il vous plaît
- To save €€€, ask for un carafe d’eau for tap water instead of having to pay for bottled water
- If you’re feeling ambitious and want to order in French, begin your order with je vais prendre… followed by what you want
- If you’re visiting a boulangerie during the lunch rush, be sure to know what you want and how much it is—those lines move fast and the people want their food!
The best crêpes
There are so many characteristically French foods, but crêpes are one of my favourite. You can get crêpes either at crêperies or takeaway stands in Paris. You certainly can’t go wrong with either! While most go for the Nutella, you can’t go wrong with a classic butter sugar (beurre sucre) crêpe—a crêpe order, I was once told by a French crêpe-maker, that makes me French.
Crêperie Breton: This was my last dinner out in Paris when I lived there and it was great! I went here with friends and we were in the mood for something we couldn’t get in America. This restaurant did not disappoint. The service was a little spotty but the prices were cheap for Paris. Be sure to get there either early or late when it comes to dinner because we had to wait around 20 minutes as the restaurant has very few tables [it was worth it]. It is located at 67 Rue de Charonne at Metro stop République.
Crêpes d’Or: Located at 27 Rue de Four close to metro stop Mabillon, these crêpes come highly recommended. My close friend has said that their chicken and cheese crêpe is her favourite food in the world!
Le Cap Breton: Le Cap Breton is located on 12 rue Monsigny off of Metro 4 séptembre near Opéra. I got cider, a main dish crêpe and a dessert crêpe for €12. There were NO tourists in this restaurant which was great and the service was fast and very good! There were a lot of crêpes on the menu and everyone in my group loved theirs. Be sure make the trip to it if you’re near Opera Garnier!
La Droguerie: I may or may not have enjoyed one of these crêpes twice a week when I lived in Paris, if that’s any indication for their deliciousness. This is a takeaway crêperie at its finest. Order at the window and they make your crêpe right before your eyes. Located at 56 Rue des Rosiers in Le Marais, this place will leave you wanting more. Head here after you try the falafel at l’As du Falafel (more on that below)
Nadia: I discovered this gem on my last day in Paris. This is another perfect (and cheap!) takeaway place located at 94 Boulevard Saint-Germain, right next to metro Cluny – La Sorbonne. Get a crepe or two and enjoy them in the Jardin médiéval right across the street.
The best pastries
I live for pastries. I’ve said many times before that I would survive off them if I could. In fact, I considered doing that in Paris, which is probably why I gained like 10 pounds in six weeks. #worthit
Pralus: Located on 35 Rue Rambuteau (close to Centre Pompidou) and 44 Rue Cler (close to the Eiffel Tower), Pralus houses probably my favourite pastry of ALL TIME: the praluline, a pink candied praline brioche loaf. You will never ingest something as good ever again. While a little pricey (I think a small loaf is €6), it is completely worth it and tastes like heaven!
Pierre Hermé: If you want the best macarons, head here. Ladurée is overrated in my opinion and the macarons here are delicious with inventive and fresh flavours. I dream about these babies. Find stores at 185 Rue Vaugirard and 4 Rue Cambon.
La Petite Marquise: If you want a great croissant, visit 3 Place Victor Hugo. There are few things I wouldn’t do for a good croissant.
Stohrer: For great eclairs, head to this slightly touristy spot on 51 Rue Montorgueil!
La Pâtisserie Cyril Lignac: For those of you who like chocolate (aka just about everyone but me), head here for a great pain au chocolat.
Korcarz: If you’re craving baklava, this bakery is a must. They also have amazing apple tarts, beautiful breads, and other delicious foods. Bonus: It’s almost right across the street from La Droguerie so you can get two treats in one spot! Located at 29 Rue des Rosiers, this place made the first kosher bread after the Second World War.
Le Quartier du Pain: The last time I visited Paris, I stayed right next to this wonderful bakery. Their chaussons aux pommes (pastries filled with apple compote) are to die for! Not to mention, the sweetest and most cheerful French ladies worked there. Located at 270 Rue de Vaugirard, 93 Rue Raymond Losserand and 74 Rue Saint-Charles.
Le Petit Lux: Steps away from le Jardin du Luxembourg on the corner of Rue Vaugirard and Rue Cassette, right next to an Asian restaurant, this boulangerie has the best sandwiches I’ve ever eaten. You’ll know you’ve made it if you get there between 12 and 1 and there is a long line outside the door (don’t worry, it moves fast). I could usually get a sandwich and a dessert pastry (try the millefeuille or the macaronade) for about 7 or 8 euros and take them to the park for a picnic. I recommend the ham and cheese or the chicken, but they have several varieties and the workers are all really nice! Definitely a place for locals so remember to point to what you want or learn your sandwich vocab before you go.
The best restaurants
Obviously, I can’t even begin to go into all the amazing restaurants in Paris. There is something to cater to every taste, budget, and diet. These are my favourites, and in my opinion, the best for a traveller who isn’t super adventurous when it comes to food, and who is on a budget but is still willing to buy nice meals.
*note* the crêperies are also restaurants but for brevity, I have not listed them here!
Au Petit Suisse: A very cute restaurant right by le Jardin du Luxembourg, this place is full of locals eating croques (open-faced sandwiches) and planches (platters of meats and cheeses). I’ve been twice and wouldn’t hesitate to go again!
Les Philosophes: On Rue Vieille du Temple in Le Marais, Les Philosophes is a nice French restaurant with decent prix fixe menus. While I have to say that this wasn’t my favourite dining experience (the service was horrible and the food took forever), it was still fun to eat good food where all the bougie Parisians were eating!
Semilla: My friend raves about this restaurant on Rue de Seine. It features a super up-and-coming chef and you can see into the kitchen!
Cafés: I obviously can’t go through this post without mentioning cafés. Café culture is a very big deal in France, and nothing is better than sitting outside at a café when the weather is nice sipping something delicious and chatting with friends. I ate at way too many cafés in Paris to remember which ones were the best. A good rule of thumb: if the outdoor seating area is crowded, it is a good café.
*be careful not to leave your mobile phone on the table—it will get pickpocketed!*
Angelina: Now, I’m not a fan of this place because its famous beverage, hot chocolate, is not my cup of tea. However, my friends couldn’t love its thick, creamy chocolat chaud more!
Paris isn’t only home to French food. It has vibrant North African and Jewish communities that lend nicely to its food culture.
For the BEST FALAFEL of your life, head to l’As du Falafel. I ate here at least twice a week when I lived there. You can wait to eat inside but I prefer to get my falafel at the window (it’s €2 cheaper) and find a stoop to sit on and eat! Don’t go on Saturday because it’s Sabbath so it’ll be closed; but, if you just can’t kick that falafel craving on a Saturday, head across the street to Mi Va Mi, which is the second best falafel in Paris! Both are located on Rue des Rosiers in Le Marais.
For North African cuisine, head to Saint Denis (a perfect stop if you’re visiting Basilique Saint-Denis).
For the best ice cream, head to Berthillon. There are so many delicious flavours! I prefer Amorino gelato, though, as they make your gelato into the shape of a flower :) Both can be found on Ile Saint-Louis.
For Indian food, head to Passage Brady, closest to Strasbourg Saint-Denis and Château d’Eau. You’ll have your fair pick of spicy cuisine (unusual for France) with a covered hall of different Indian restaurants.
For American food, (yes, sometimes I craved it), head to Berko on Rue Rambuteau (close to Pralus) for delicious mini cupcakes. They have really yummy flavours if you’re craving this American dessert. If you want a hot dog, head to Pat’s US Hot Dog on 56 rue du Roi de Sicile in le Marais. I’m not a huge hot dog fan but they were very good!
If you’re on a major budget, you can’t go wrong with buying food at a market or grocery store and creating a little picnic in one of Paris’s many parks. It’s hard to beat a baguette, cheese and fruit in a park on a nice day!
What’s your favourite food in Paris?