Food in Paris

As one of the most food-loving cities in the world, it’s easy to understand why many visitors to Paris go for food-inspired holidays. Whether travellers go for the opportunity to munch on fresh French favourites like the buttery pain au chocolat, garlic-infused snails or the more sophisticated take on a sandwich, the Croque Monsieur, Paris is deliciously tempting.

Many restaurants in Paris don’t open every day of the week, so check opening times of restaurants on your must-visit list to avoid disappointment.

French food products and snacks

mm stuff by roboppyThere are plenty of artisan food shops in Paris worth a look without even having to go for a sit-down meal.

For freshly baked goods, Maison Kayser is a favourite Parisian boulangerie. Serving baguettes and other freshly baked breads, sandwiches, cupcakes and petit fours, it’s too tempting not to stop for a snack. The colourful, modern and totally indulgent La Pâtisserie des Rêves is for the sweet-toothed only, overflowing with everything from macaroons to seasonal gateaux.

Chocolate-lovers must make a stop at Debauve & Gallais, which has been around since 1800. The founder Debauve designed the disc-shaped chocolates called ‘Pistoles de Marie Antoinette’, to administer the Queen more palatable medicine disguised in chocolate. You can still buy them to this day, minus the medicine, of course.

Le Rustique cheese fondue - sherry soaking by cookiepediachefWine-lovers will have a ball in Paris, roving from one wine bar to another. If you’re looking to buy some to take home, the traditional Ryst-Dupeyron has been in operation since 1905. The shop has almost 100 vintages of Armagnac alone, with some dating back to the 1800s.

Wine’s not quite the same without cheese, and the House of Cheese at Androuet will sate your appetite, selling an impressive selection of handcrafted and farm cheeses. There are plenty of butchers across the city too, who sell their own pâtés and other potted meats. Maison Guyard is an especially popular charcuterie located on rue de Verneuil.


A more time-effective way to sample France’s favourite foods is to do so all under one roof. Galeries Lafayette sells a range of gourmet and traditional French foods, complete with tasting bars and deli counters. Le Marche d'Aligre operates every day except Monday and can be found near Bastille. As well as French food products, there’s a strong influence from north Africa foods too.

Café culture

Paris is famous for its café culture, and there’s no shortage of options for all-day cafés to stop for a petit noir (espresso) or more substantial meal. Le Bonaparte is where all the Parisians go and can be found at Place Saint-Germain-des-Prés, one of the most famous areas for cafés and people watching. The café’s rich brown interior feels very traditional, while the pavement seating is good for watching street musicians.

Croissant et cafe au lait by Christine RondeauLes Deux Magots is found near Le Bonaparte and its famous patrons include Ernest Hemingway and Pablo Picasso. It’s still an institution for café culture today and is increasingly a stop on the tourist trail.

Café des 2 Moulins found fame in the film Amélie, and is located in the Blanche neighbourhood. It’s a typical local café today and a great stop before experiencing the street market outside.

Le Coutume Café is an industrial style space with all the mod-cons of the coffee-making world, as it also supplies restaurants and hotels across the city with freshly roasted beans. It’s popular for breakfast or lunch as well.

La Caféothèque gets rave reviews from coffee buffs, who give high praise to the daily roasted coffee beans imported from small coffee growers from across the world.

Fine dining

Paris is brimming with Michelin-starred restaurants including scores with a hefty 3-star accolade. Many people flock to Paris for a three Michelin star dining experience and if you’re one of them, make sure you budget at least 250€ per head and make a reservation well in advance.

Le Meurice (23) by sunday driverThe three Michelin starred Le Meurice has a menu full of French favourites, such as fricasseed snails with wild garlic, while the interior provides a combination of original 18th-century features and modern Philippe Starck creations.

Ledoyen is one of the oldest restaurants in the city, dating back to the 1700s, and is also the proud owner of three Michelin stars. Cuisine includes classic and more modern favourites, including the infamous spaghetti with white ham and truffles.

L’Astrance on Rue Beethoven is another Paris institution that is Michelin-starred to the hilt and has been featured as one of the world’s top 50 restaurants seven years in a row by San Pellegrino. Chef Pascal Barbot’s signature dish of a galette of raw mushrooms, verjus marinated foie gras with hazelnut oil and lemon confit is globally famous.

There’s also a current wave of more trendy, not yet Michelin-starred fine dining experiences in Paris. Spring, a restaurant by American chef Daniel Rose located in a 17th-century Les Halles house, is bringing internationally inspired flavours to the Paris dining scene, while Les Tablettes has a starched, ultra-modern interior that moves away from the more traditional Parisian glamour found elsewhere.

Intimate dining

Jeanne A (Paris) by Meg ZimbeckEven if a restaurant is not Michelin-starred in Paris, there are plenty of cosy and more wallet-friendly options for excellent cuisine. Huitrerie Regis is a little off the beaten track in the backstreets of Saint Germain des Pres and is especially known for its fresh oysters. Thoumiux is an all-day brasserie on rue Saint-Dominique with soft globe lighting and a la carte prices from 10€.

Ribouldingue is an unassuming-looking restaurant in the Latin Quarter with very traditional French flavours like white kidneys and ewe’s cheese. Also a famous wine bar, Le Rubis, on a backstreet near the Louvre, serves typical bistro meals like beef bourguignon, for reasonable prices.

Brasserie de l’Ile St-Louis is another traditional and charming Parisian favourite, with great views of the Notre Dame from its terrace. Over in the Marais neighbourhood, a slight more quirky bistro option less frequented by tourists is Le Taxi Jaune.

International cuisine

Boqueria - Dish by ZagatBuzzWhile the French have a love affair with their own traditional French flavours, there’s an increasing number of quality restaurants offering international cuisine.

Chez l’Ami Jean is widely cited as the best restaurant for Basque cuisine in Paris and the cosy location on rue Malar makes for an intimate meal. Restaurant Afghani, near Montmartre, is another favourite for local foodies looking for the more exotic flavours of Afghanistan.

404 is a Moroccan restaurant with a stunning interior matched by typical Moroccan flavours on rue des Gravilliers. Le Chari is an African restaurant near Place de la Republique, and the soulful African adornments accompany cuisine that makes you feel far away.

Candelaria is more of a bar than a restaurant, but serves cheap and cheerful tacos and tostadas that patrons rave about. Yam’Tcha has Asian-inspired menus served inside a traditional wooden-beamed Les Halles building. Le Lac de l'Ouest on rue Volta is one of the best Chinese restaurants in the city, a fact reinforced by its stable of regular Chinese patrons.

Proper sushi is hard to find in Paris, making Sushiya a rare discovery. Found on rue Pradier, many regulars bring their own alcohol to accompany their meal – another uncommon practice elsewhere in the city.

Finally, you can’t go far wrong with Italian food, wherever in the world you may be. Caffé del Cioppi is a tiny Italian trattoria on rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine that never disappoints, while Procopio Angelo on rue Juliette Dodu is packed with traditional Tuscan favourites.

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