Paris, FRANCE – the city of macaroons..I mean love (which is the same thing, right?) I’ve visited this iconic city a few times and to be honest the first one, I wasn’t head over heels like most. However, this last trip with my four best friends quickly shifted Paris towards the top.
In college, we made a pact to celebrate our 30th birthdays collectively in Paris! We all live in different cities so the aim for the celebration was to eat all the croissants, drink all the wine, and spend the next week catching up in Europe. It was less about the sites and more about making memories together in an amazing city.
We all know about the top attractions: Eiffel Tower, Lourve, Notre Dome, Arc di Triomphe, St. Chapelle, Versailles, and the list goes on…and while, yes, we enjoyed playing tourist, we spent most of our time wandering the streets and tasting everything French cuisine had to offer. This post will highlight some of my top places to eat when in Paris.
8 days / 7 nights
Le Marais (14th arrondissement) – we found a super cute (and affordable!!) Airbnb with 4 beds / 2 baths which is rare in this area. Plus, it’s close to metro and incredibly quiet.
Airbnb Experience: Dinner at Chef’s Table was one of the most memorable things we did together. This private 3 course dinner was in the chef’s personal studio where all ingredients came straight from his garden. We learned about French cuisine, but also got the opportunity to ask questions about their culture from a local. Did you know that in order to increase the birth rate and promote French heritage, the government pays you to have kids?!
Nick’s studio was inside a historical building that is protected by the French government. That means it’s illegal to renovate the structure…which means lots of uneven stairs (it’s on the top floor), but it’s certainly worth the hike!
Le Rotonde – just a block away from Nick’s studio is this famous cafe which was renowned as an intellectual gathering place for notable artists and writers during the interwar period. Pablo Piscasso and Amedeo Modigliani frequented here! Great spot for dinner or just drinks!
But, first…macaroons! Ladurée and Angelina are two of the most popular spots as they have several locations near The Lourve and Champs-Élysées. My personal favorite is Angelina and it’s less crowded. I wouldn’t recommend sitting down for actual lunch at either (overpriced and not the best food), but if you need to rest your feet, for an added fee, you can enjoy pastries and hot chocolate inside. Opt for the take away option and enjoy your treats from a bench at the park! Here is a list of best spots for macaroons in Paris.
Le Temps des Cerises – been coming here for over 5 years now. Cozy, dimly lit, excellent menu and local. The staff doesn’t speak much English, so it may take some effort to explain the daily specials, but you’ll want to order from the blackboard – if in doubt use your translator app. The rabbit and risotto dishes were definitely fan favorites.
Aki Boulangerie – stumbled on this Japanese bakery on the way to the Lourve. It was nice to mix up our traditional French breakfast and try these unique breads and pastries.
Julhès Paris – small, gourmet grocery store where you can pick up everything you need for a picnic or road trip. Fresh bread, wine, coffee, quiche, prepared sides, jams, and more.
For larger gourmet grocery stores, check out La Grande Epicerie which is probably the best supermarket in the world. We didn’t even need anything, but spent over an hour exploring all the food!
BO&MIE – Delicious, modern bakery near our Airbnb. They have several different flavors of croissants – raspberry was my favorite.
Candelaria– Paris’ first authentic taqueria! Enter through the nondescript door and you’ll find the speakeasy in the back. Named of the world’s best bars!
L’Avant Comptoir du Marché– very trendy tapas bar, great atmosphere to have a small plate and bottle of wine. It’s cozy and gets crowded fast so recommended to go on off peak hours.
Le Fumoir – classic Ernest Hemingway style bistro in front of the Louvre. Fixed menu €33 (entrée & plat).
Le Garde Robe – great local wine & French style tapas place, reasonable prices, right near the Louvre.
La Cave Gourmande – delicious bistro with excellent food and large portions near Montmartre. The owner gave us recommendations and paired a bottle of wine (a delicious Merlot!) based on the Beef bourguignon and escargot we ordered. There are many tourist traps around Sacré-Cœur, but this place is a gem!
La Merceria – when in Europe, pizza is a must!!
Places on my list to be discovered next trip:
Ble Sucre– known for having the best croissants!
Stohrer– the oldest patisserie in Paris.
Le Souffle – reasonably priced considering it’s located near the Lourve.
L’Ange 20 – great local French restaurant, reasonably priced. Average dish: €18 plats, €26
menus). Reservation recommended. Closed Saturday and Sunday for lunch, Monday all day and annual vacation takes place in August.
La Laierie Sainte Clotilde – quaint, neo-bistrot with great fresh ingredients. Reservations required.
Derrière– funky, trendy French restaurant. €24/plate. Reservation required.
Gambino– a great Italian and pizza restaurant near Opera, with great food, excellent service and a nice ambiance. In the charming Place Marche Saint Honore with several cute restaurants and cafes.
Le Pantruche – slang for Paris, bistro with retro chic decor.
Pizzeria Popolare – Very popular indeed! This place had a line for 2 blocks. If you can’t afford to wait, Merceria is a 5 minute walk and more of a local feel.
Septime - Ranked #15 on the World’s Best 50 Restaurants in 2019. Extremely popular, haute cuisine extremely difficult to get in. Takes reservations 3 weeks in advance which fill up within the first 30 mins they are released. (11th) Reservations are a must!
Restaurant LE SAUVAGE – upscale, small and creative plates.
Restaurant Le Gaigne – great reviews from Michelin Guide’s Point of View. $$$$
Le Experimental (cocktails), Le Dénicheur, À La Main Le Comptoir, AU LOUP, and Le Barav (charcuterie) for wine bars. Rosa Bonheur sur Seine for something different – a barge on the Seine river with a relaxed vibe.