Any trip to Paris is a treat, but a trip where you make food your focus is an experience that cannot be matched anywhere else. Paris is known for its food and with good reason, they have been a culinary hub for centuries and the standard by which much of the world measures their own cuisine. From Haute French cuisine to bread and cheese, to desserts, and more, there is always something delicious to eat in Paris – the only hard part will be choosing where and what to eat! Fortunately, this guide can help you narrow down your food choices in Paris. Taking you through iconic neighborhoods, local foods, and some top restaurants (for all kinds of budgets) this guide will equip you with what you need to get some great food in your belly while you travel through Paris.
While some foods will be familiar, some might not. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone while traveling in Paris. If there is any city in the world where it’s worth it to explore food options, it’s Paris. Get out there and get eating – your mouth and stomach will thank you!
Some general tips about dining out in Paris:
- Politeness counts in Paris! While the French have a reputation for being a little prickly, much of their ire comes from tourists not obeying French customs. If you are entering a business or a restaurant, it is polite and expected for you to say “hello,” (bonjour during the day), or “good evening” (bonsoir at night). Practice your French and know how to say basic greetings, please (s’il vous plaît) and thank you (merci), and it will go a long way toward being accepted in Paris.
- Tipping isn’t required in Paris. Most of the restaurants in Paris pay their servers a wage that doesn’t require them to make up the difference for their wages in tips. However, if you are in the city and find that you’ve received exceptional service, it is fine to leave a small tip to show your gratitude (between 5 to 10% of the bill). Your server will certainly appreciate it!
- Speak softly when you’re dining out in Paris! If you’re used to dining in North America, then you know that the volume at some restaurants can get pretty high. In Paris, when you are eating at a restaurant (and not a bar) it is expected that you will speak quietly – otherwise, you might get nasty looks from the other patrons.
- If you are at a café and eating outside, be sure to keep an eye on your things! Pickpockets and thieves work in most major cities and the same can be said for Paris. If you are eating outside, or nearby a walkway where someone could swipe your bag, keep alert. Stow your belongings safely and don’t let them out of your sight, otherwise, you may find yourself the victim of a thief while you’re distracted.
- No substitutions! Unless you have allergies or specific, health-related food restrictions, it’s best not to ask for substitutions in Paris. If you have specific dietary needs, research your restaurant and dining choices beforehand and choose accordingly as many restaurants in Paris aren’t willing to make substitutions (and many consider it rude to ask).
- Leave your hotel early and arrive on time! The French are punctual, so don’t expect your table to be waiting for you if you miss your reservation time. Be respectful and show up on time. This might mean that you have to leave a little earlier, especially if you are taking public transit, but it will ensure that you are able to be seated properly for dinner.
- Enjoy your food and don’t worry too much about the calories. While French food can be high in calories (and fat), their portions are generally smaller than most North American restaurants (indeed, doggie bags aren’t a thing most restaurants in France). Remember, you will likely be getting a lot of exercise by walking around the city, so it might be worth it to not worry and just enjoy your meal.
With these simple rules, you can help to make sure that your dining experience in Paris is as seamless as possible. As a general tip for when you visit Paris, brush up on your basic French, regardless of whether you plan on visiting French-speaking restaurants or not. You may find that not everyone speaks English (and given that their national language is French, this isn’t surprising) and it’s better to not get caught in a lurch when you can’t communicate your needs.
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Parisian Foods – The Best Districts For Food in Paris!
While you are likely to find great French food no matter where you stay in Paris, there are definitely some districts (arrondissements) that are known for food above all else. Take a peek at the following areas and learn a little about each so that you can better tailor your foodie vacation to your specific desires. But don’t worry too much, Paris is very well connected by public transit, and taking taxis is easy, so even if you stay in one neighborhood, getting out and visiting other areas is easy and recommended.
Falafel and Beyond Awaits in Le Marais:
Known for its exceptional falafel restaurants on the Rue des Rosiers, Le Marais offers a bevy of dining options for most tastes and budgets, with Middle Eastern foods taking center stage, but there is a great variety of other foods in the area as well. In addition to restaurants, Le Marais is also home to a great selection of bars, so once you’re done eating, feel free to continue with your night at a bar in the area. Not only are there a lot of great places to eat in Le Marais, but this area also makes for a beautiful visit with quaint streets that are lined with shops and restaurants, it’s a wonderful area to just take a stroll through and get a little lost – and fortunately for you, getting lost in Le Marais means you’ll likely wind up finding a great and unexpected place to eat!
Away From the Throngs of Tourists, Oberkampf Shines:
For the best bars and coffee shops in Paris, as well as plenty of quirky and unique restaurants that are serving up a great meal (or two), look no further than Oberkampf, located in the 11th Arrondissement. Oberkampf is away from the hustle and bustle of touristy areas and that in itself makes it an appealing area to visit in Paris. If you want the best food, it’s always a good idea to do what the locals do and the locals love to eat in Oberkampf. Trendy and thriving is the name of the game in this area, so if you’re looking for avant-garde restaurants (that won’t break the bank) as well as some of the best bars in Paris, and plenty of delicious steak frites (steak and fries) options, then Oberkampf is just the area for you!
Upscale and World Class Dining Sets the Champs-Elysées Apart From the Rest:
If you are looking for Haute French cuisine, then look no further than the Champs-Elysées area. Known for high-class hopping, iconic cafés, and frequented by people who love to live the high life, this area boasts some of the best food in Paris and the restaurants have the price tags to go with that experience. With once in a lifetime dining options (or if you’ve got some cash to burn) in the area, there are also more Michelin starred restaurants in this arrondissement than you can shake a stick at – but not all restaurants are created equal. Some value style over substance, while others offer modern cuisine, while others still serve classic French dishes. Wherever you choose, plan to spend a lot in the Champs-Elysées, but know that you’ll likely carry those dining memories with you for a lifetime.
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Paris Food – The Best Places For a Baguette and Cheese in Paris
The French take their bread and cheeses very seriously and we all get to reap the benefits of their expertise. For bread, each year Paris has a “best baguette” award and the winning bakery gets the honor of being the best in Paris. In order to win the best baguette in Paris, the bread has to meet certain length and weight specifications, in addition to specific baking requirements (it can only be made from wheat flour, yeast, water, and salt – and it cannot be frozen or contain preservatives), and then jury members will judge competing baguettes to choose a winner – who then get to enjoy increased business and fame throughout the year. Concerning cheese, it doesn’t matter whether you’re looking for some delicious camembert, a Brie de Meaux, some Époisses or Munster, or if you’re looking to experience some fresh, unpasteurized French cheese (which isn’t available in many places in North America), Paris has some of the best. Here are just a few places to choose from:
La PARISIENNE Madame
There are many locations for La PARISIENNE around Paris, which is lucky for you because that means great bread and baguettes are always going to be pretty close at hand. La PARISIENNE was also the 2016 recipient of the Best Baguette in Paris, which means not only have customers been raving about their amazing baguettes, but they also have the distinction of being one of the best in Paris. Though they have more than baguettes and bread, you can’t go wrong with a picnic featuring a great, crunchy piece of bread with some delicious French cheese. If you’re wanting a little more than just bread, they also sell an assortment of pastries and sandwiches, so there is a lot to choose from at La PARISIENNE.
Address: 48 rue Madame, 75006, Paris, France
Transportation nearby La PARISIENNE Madame:
Rennes Metro Station Saint-Placide Metro Station
Fromagerie Laurent Dubois
If you’re looking for great cheese and great bread, then Fromagerie Laurent Dubois is for you! Located in the Saint-Germain area, this fromagerie has a huge assortment of cheese to choose from, in addition to plenty of snacks and other foods. If you are looking for some of the best cheese in Paris, you’ll find it at the Fromagerie Laurent Dubois and they have the awards to prove it as the owner, Laurent Dubois, has been awarded the Meilleur Ouvrier de France (best craftsman of France), which is only awarded to the best of the best in France. Enjoy his expertise and experience the amazing cheeses sold at the Fromagerie Laurent Dubois – you’ll be so glad that you did!
Address: 47 Ter Boulevard Saint-Germain Paris, 75005
Transportation nearby Fromagerie Laurent Dubois:
Cluny-La Sorbonne Metro Station Maubert-Mutualite Bus Station
If you want exceptional cheese in Paris, then Barthélémy is just the stop for you! The cheese at Barthélémy is so exceptional that it’s also served at many restaurants around the city, but you don’t have to eat out to be able to enjoy the cheese at Barthélémy, you just need to visit their storefront. A bit of a tip concerning Barthélémy, if they recommend something to go with your cheese (like jam, or a baguette, or honey), trust them. These people are masters and they know exactly how to highlight the individualistic nature of the cheese you are buying with a complimentary food – so grab what they’re offering and get ready to have a quintessentially French experience as you eat your cheese. You’re going to be dreaming about this place once you leave, so stock up and eat as much as you can while you’re in Paris!
Address: 51 Rue de Grenelle, 75007 Paris, France
Transportation nearby Barthélémy:
Rue du Bac Metro Station Rue du Bac – René CharBus Station
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From Chocolate to Ice Cream, Deserts Are Exceptional in Paris!
There’s more than a good chance that you’ve enjoyed some French desserts or pastries in your life, considering how delicious and popular they are. France is known for their delectable desserts and when you’re in Paris, you really should skip the diet and indulge in a treat or two. From crème brûlée to madeleines, to tartes, macrons, and more, there are so many French desserts to indulge in and, as Paris also has some of the best restaurants, bakeries, and patisserie in the world, pick a shop from below and sample all the sweetness that Paris has to offer!
With its beautiful, bright décor, Jacques Genin is ready to welcome you into its exceptional world. With chocolates, pastries, and desserts of all kinds, if you’re coming to Paris, you have to stop at Jacques Genin to experience the hand-crafted foods! Jacques Genin actually supplies chocolates, petit fours, and caramels to more than 200 of Paris‘s top restaurants and hotels, but you can just go to their store and grab whatever you’d like to eat. Jacques Genin is sought out by dessert connoisseurs from all over the world, so join their ranks and discover what all the fuss is about at this amazing shop.
Address: 133 Rue de Turenne, 75003 Paris, France
Transportation nearby Jacques Genin:
Filles du Calvaire Metro Station République Metro Station
Jean Paul Hévin – Chocolatier Pâtissier
Known for their exceptional chocolates, Jean Paul Hévin – Chocolatier Pâtissier is the place to visit if you love chocolates, or are looking for an out of this world amazing hot chocolate to drink. Jean Paul Hévin is a world-famous creator of chocolate and operates several stores in Paris, as well as multiple locations in Japan, and one in Hong Kong, but if you’re already in the city, it’s more than worth a trip. While the specialty of the house is chocolate, they also offer a variety of other delicious pastries to choose from, so whether you’re in the mood for chocolate or something else, there’s plenty to enjoy at Jean Paul Hévin – Chocolatier Pâtissier.
Address: 231 Rue Saint Honoré – Côté Cour, 75001 Paris, France
Transportation nearby Jean Paul Hévin – Chocolatier Pâtissier:
Tuileries Metro Station Concorde Metro Station
La Maison du Chocolat – Carrousel du Louvre
Located very close to the Louvre Museum, La Maison du Chocolat – Carrousel du Louvre is a fantastic chocolatier to visit if you are looking for gifts to bring back with you from Paris. Beautifully wrapped boxes of chocolates and treats offer a taste experience like no other – and one you may not want to share! Indulge and grab a box or, if you prefer, make a selection of individual chocolates and desserts from inside the shop and enjoy a treat as you make your way through the Parisian landscape. Consider trying an éclair – they are truly marvelous! Paris is a city that’s made for indulging, so treat yourself with some fine chocolates from La Maison du Chocolat – Carrousel du Louvre!
Address: Carrousel du Louvre, 99 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France
Transportation nearby La Maison du Chocolat – Carrousel du Louvre:
Palais Royal Musée du Louvre Metro Station Tuileries Metro Station
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Paris Restaurants: Delicious Dining For Every Budget
While Paris is known for having some of the most delicious (and pricey) restaurants in the world, there is a great assortment of restaurants throughout the city that cater to a variety of budgets. Here are a few of the top restaurants for individuals who are looking for something delicious and cheap, for individuals who are looking for something mid-range, and for those who are looking for an exceptional dining experience in Paris. Paris has so many great restaurants to choose from, so don’t be afraid to deviate from the list if you want to, just make sure to research your restaurant choices prior to making a reservation (for some restaurants, making a reservation will be necessary to get in) to ensure you get the dining experience you’re looking for.
Best Cheap Eats in Paris:
Casual and delicious, if you are looking for a great place to eat in Paris that won’t be hard on your wallet, then Chez Gladines is a great fit! A little off the beaten path, it’s worth it to travel by metro to Chez Gladines to experience their wonderful hospitality and great Basque-style cooking. Hearty plates, great portions, and even better prices, Chez Gladines will make you feel like you’re being welcomed to a treasured neighborhood restaurant – even if you’re from far away. Don’t skip Chez Gladines when you’re in Paris as you just might find yourself coming back here, again and again!
Address: 30 Rue des cinq Diamants, 75013 Paris, France
Transportation nearby Chez Gladines:
Glacière Metro Station Corvisart Metro Station
Best Mid-Priced Eats in Paris:
La Bécane à Gaston
If you’re looking for family-friendly, delicious food with an Italian flair, then be sure to add La Bécane à Gaston to your list of restaurants to visit in Paris. Between the inviting atmosphere, the gorgeous, hardy food, and the quality, fresh ingredients that are used during preparation, there’s a lot to love about La Bécane à Gaston. If you’re interested in enjoying brunch while in Paris, they also offer brunch, though it would be best to check ahead as it may not be available during the week (brunch menus are generally only offered during specific times on the weekend). Open for lunch and dinner, it might be worth it to book ahead as you’re competing with locals for this delicious spot, otherwise, expect to wait for a table.
Address: 24 Rue Lucien Sampaix, 75010 Paris, France
Transportation nearby La Bécane à Gaston:
Jacques Bonsergent Metro Station Jacques Bonsergent Bus Station
Best Fine Dining Experience in Paris:
Pur’ – Jean-François Rouquette
This is it, the best of the best. One of the most exquisite dining experiences in Paris awaits you at Pur’. Though it only has a single Michelin star to its name (which many people cannot fathom), Pur’ – Jean-François Rouquette offers food, service, and ambiance that rival many three-starred restaurants, and surely it’s on its way to that designation as well. With tasting menus that offer either six or eight courses that prioritize fresh ingredients, an excellent wine selection, and a beautiful, contemporary décor, this restaurant elevates food to an art form. Reservations are required, so plan ahead if you know you will be in Paris, otherwise you may miss out on this wonderful experience.
Address: Park Hyatt Paris Vendôme, 5 Rue de la Paix, 75002 Paris, France
Transportation nearby Pur’:
Madeleine Metro Station Opéra Metro Station
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Budgeting Tips For Dining Out in Paris:
Paris is an exceptional city and with so many restaurants and other establishments to choose from, it can be hard to keep to a budget when you’re in the city. However, there are some handy tips that you can use to help you save some money as you travel and eat your way through Paris:
- Don’t spend money eating out if you’re only going to eat fast food. Yes, Paris has fast food chains, and yes they can be more inexpensive than some restaurants, but you’d get a better experience (and save some money) if you skipped the fast food and opted for a grocery or bakery instead. Do as the French do and buy some foods for a picnic (baguette, cheese, cold cut meats or fruits and vegetables), and eat some great French food instead of the same things you can get at home.
- Eat out at restaurants at lunchtime instead of dinner. In Paris, the lunch menus are often cheaper than the dinner (especially so for fancy restaurants). Save some money by opting to eat out during lunch instead of dinner. You may find that making reservations for lunch is easier than at dinnertime as well.
- Choose wine over water! In Paris, water and soda are often as expensive (or more expensive) than a glass of wine or beer. If you drink alcoholic drinks, grab one instead – or opt for a café to keep costs down.
- Order your coffee at the bar instead of taking a table. If all you want is a coffee (or an espresso), then order and drink at the bar instead of getting a table. There’s often a surcharge for table service while there isn’t one for ordering at the bar.
- Eat breakfast as the French do! Heavy morning meals aren’t common in France, so if you’d like to experience the culture a little more thoroughly, and save some money at the same time, skip the heavy, North American-style breakfast and opt for a café au lait with some pain au chocolate (coffee with steamed cream and a chocolate sweet roll).