Adding on to my NY Favs, and fast on the heels of a trip to The City of Light, below are some of my go to spots in Paris – an eclectic mixture of cafés, bars and restaurants, plus a a few great food shops and streets. Please also share some of your favorites in the comments below!
Le Flore en l’Ile (Café)
My favorite place for breakfast, which they serve until noon on weekdays, including eggs in addition to the usual selection of pâtisseries. I go for a table at the back with a view of Notre Dame across the Seine and order a hot chocolate “à l’ancienne” which arrives with a small silver pot of melted dark chocolate and a larger carafe of hot milk, followed by a croissant and two soft boiled eggs. Unfortunately, being right across from Notre Dame has its minuses as well, and the cafe can be taken over by tourists, but I still think it’s worth the trip.
Location: 42 Quai d’Orléans, Ile St Louis 4eme arrondissement
Metro: 7 to Pont Marie or 4 to Cité
Le Loir dans la Théière (Café/Tearoom)
This excellent spot for afternoon tea in the Marais (the 3rd-4th arrondissement), whose name means “the dormouse in the teapot” after Alice in Wonderland, is not far from the Place des Vosges. The best seats in the house are at one of the low tables up front with big comfy and somewhat falling apart leather armchairs. The afternoon “goûter” prix fixe for 10€ includes a pot of loose tea and one of their delicious cakes. The cakes change daily and there can be up to 15-20 different kinds such as pear almond tart, ricotta cheese cake with red berries, lemon meringue pie and flourless chocolate. The savory tart selection is also very good, and they do a nice brunch. Be prepared to wait at peak hours.
Location: 3 Rue des Rosiers, 3eme arrondissement
Metro: 1 to St Paul
Rue des Martyrs (Food street)
Ascending steeply into Montmartre, the narrow street in the 9th is lined with all manner of bakers, butchers, fruit sellers, cheese mongers and everything in between. It is also graced by Rose Bakery, the eponymous cafe owned by Brit Rose Carrarini whose cookbook is also a joy. They serve up yummy sweet and savory tarts as well as salads and breakfast eggs.
Location: Rue des Martyrs 9eme arrondissement
Metro: 12 to Notre Dame de Lorette
Cuisine de Bar (Lunch)
My favorite lunch in Paris, hands down. They serve open face “tartine” sandwiches on the bread from famed bakery next door Poîlane. I always have the same thing: prix fixe lunch with a glass of wine and the tartine for’bon with St Marcellin cheese, ham and marjoram, followed by coffee for about 14€. Other sandwich flavors include tomato and mozzarella, foie gras and avocado with baby shrimp. They also have fabulous sweet tarts.
Location: 8 Rue de Cherche-Midi 6eme arrondissement
Metro: 10 or 12 to Sèvres-Babylone
La Palette (Bar)
Historic bar behind St Germain des Près in the Bobo (that would be Bohemian-Bourgeois) 6ème arrondissement, it’s a great spot for a bottle of rosé in summer, New Year’s eve or a night cap anytime. Self-described as a bar for the international jet set, Hemingway used to be a regular.
Legrand Filles et Fils (Winebar)
Located in the beautiful Galerie Vivienne behind the Palais Royal, this dark wine bar is perfect for a little afternoon pick me up or evening aperitif. I stopped in recently for late lunch for choucroute (the Alsatian dish of sausage and cabbage) and a glass or two of red. During the course of the meal the bartender got out three vintages of a – wait for it – Napa Valley Cabernet for the patrons to taste. It was indeed delicious if utterly unexpected. They also have a nice selection of charcuterie and cheeses for snacking.
Location: 1 Rue de la Banque, Galerie Vivienne, 2eme arrondissement
Metro: 1 to Palais Royal or 3 to Bourse
Le Fumoir (Café/Tearoom)
This cafe is a great place for afternoon tea, and also for weekend brunch according to Foursquare. The dark interior gets lots of afternoon sun streaming through the large windows that afford a generous view of the Louvre across the street and la Rive Gauche (Left Bank) beyond. Try to snag one of the comfy leather armchairs. Added bonus, they have wifi.
Par Ici les Fromages (Cheese shop)
A great little cheese shop in Montmartre, Nancy Dupouy serves up a prodigious range of dairy products in varying degrees of stinkyness. They are all French – okay perhaps a few Swiss but French Swiss, please! And she is delighted to guide you through the selection. She can also vacuum pack her wares for easier traveling. I recently brought back an entire Vacherin Mont d’Or this way in my checked bag, which kept the cheese chilled and my clothes scent-free.
Location: 47 Rue Caulaincourt 18eme arrondissement
Metro: 12 to Lamarck-Caulaincourt
Debauve et Gallais (Chocolate)
Official chocolatiers to the kings of France, their small boutique near St Germain has a beautiful selection of truffles, chocolate bars, chocolate balls and a wide variety of chocolate covered things. I usually go for a box of the pure chocolate bonbons, but it’s hard to go wrong.
Pierre Hermé (Bakery)
You can get macarons – those delicate French sandwich cookies made from an almond based dough and filled with all different kinds of flavored pastes – at just about any corner pâtisserie in Paris these days. But for the real deal check out Pierre Hermé’s bakeries. He boasts the standard flavors of chocolate, salted caramel, pistachio, perhaps cassis, but also does a “collection” each season. This spring for example features the “Jardin Enchanté” (Enchanted Garden) with lime, raspberry and Espelette chili pepper; the Ispahan, with rose, lichee and raspberry; and one flavored with olive oil and mandarin.
Le Grand Pan (Brasserie)
A brasserie “comme autrefois” (like olden times, roughly translated), I wrote in depth about it here. It’s a bit of a trek, but it’s excellent.
Location: 20 rue Rosenwald 15eme arrondissement
Metro: 12 to Convention or 13 to Plaisance
Ryst Dupeyron (Armagnac)
A wonderful shop on Rue du Bac, they make their own Armagnac which you can buy from any year dating back to 1905. I took a particular shine to the 1982, and the friendly staff is happy to let you taste a range of years in the front room of what feels like an old, rambling family home, with all the walls lined with alcohol.
La Petite Périgourdine for dinner; Ladurée at St Germain for afternoon tea; Atelier de Joël Robuchon for a splurge dinner; Josephine Vannier for chocolate; Cafés Verlet for tea and coffee; Le Voltaire for a splurge lunch; Le Dauphin – maybe when it is not so cold, only because the food is so good – you can read more about what I think about it here; Harry’s New York Bar, but only for the downstairs piano bar late night