Paris food guide – How to plan your ultimate foodie trip to Paris

Paris food guide – How to plan your ultimate foodie trip to ParisThis article may contain compensated links. Please read disclaimer for more info

Paris is usually on the top of any self-respecting foodie’s must visit destinations. I thought I would write about the process of choosing what and where we ate on our last trip to Paris instead of focusing on one-off experiences.

The food scene changes quickly and there are many comprehensive resources to help you choose where to eat. I’ll outline those at the end of the post but in the mean time here are my tips on how you can plan your ultimate foodie trip to Paris.

Paris food guide

Paris food culture - try up and coming chefs in Paris

The practicalities of your foodie trip to Paris

The amount of time you have and your budget are going to drive many of your choices of where to eat in Paris. You will pay upwards of €300 per head without wine at some of the top restaurants so make your choices wisely.

Pacing yourself is a good idea too. I typically skip a huge hotel breakfast in favour of a pastry or baguette mid morning so I can stuff more in eat a little bit sensibly.

From there you can set about constructing an eating itinerary that takes in the best the city of light has to offer. From Michelin starred restaurants to street food and bistro fare. Here is a list of must try food experiences in Paris.



Michelin starred restaurants in Paris

Home to over 100 starred restaurants there certainly is no shortage of choice if you love haute cuisine in Paris. The Michelin guide can be contentious and considered a little old fashioned (per Anthony Bourdain’s comments) however they do have a long history and a trusted methodology.

How to plan your ultimate foodie trip to Paris - Michelin starred dining

Where we ate:  L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon Etoile

We arrived on the Eurostar just before lunch time and I wanted to try somewhere fun and fancy for our first meal. Joël Robuchon is a giant of French cooking with a global empire of restaurants. This restaurant has an open kitchen where you can see the chefs very calmly preparing your meal.

My favourite dish was the scallops or Saint Jacques – plump and sweet and cooked to perfection with a lovely buttery sauce. The presentation of the dishes and quality of the produce were as you would expect for a restaurant of this calibre and we very much enjoyed the experience.

Tip – lunching at the top restaurants is great value. Also, make sure to book well in advance

Further reading – Why Some of the World’s Most Famous Chefs Don’t Want a Michelin Star via Vanity Fair


Traditional Parisian bistro or brasserie

You’re in Paris so you definitely want to try traditional French cuisine with no airs and graces. For this experience head to a brasserie or bistrot. In my opinion they are some of the best restaurants in Paris.

My husband loves “french” onion soup with a thick layer of Gruyère (cheese) so we cancelled a reservation at a more upmarket restaurant and took a recommendation for a place that specialised in french classics.

Where we ate: Chez Flottes 

Just across the road from the Tuileries Gardens, Chez Flottes is a little more touristy than our usual choice of restaurant. An art deco brasserie, chefs from this establishment have no doubt been making soup l’oignon for many decades.

I was happy with my soup l’oignon but hubby would have preferred more cheese. I also tried the lobster baguette. Delicious!

Traditional food in Paris - soupe l'oignon


Up and coming chefs in Paris

There is more cooking talent in a square mile of Paris than most places in the world so why not try something new and not necessarily Michelin rated.

Chances are the chef has had impeccable training and is driven by the intense local competition. We chose a restaurant because the chef had trained with our favourite chef – Tetsuya Wakuda – and we had read some excellent reviews.

Paris food culture - fusion cuisine

Where we ate: Oka

In a city full to bursting with food experiences this was our favourite. Tiny Oka seats only 16 people and serves a secret prix fixe menu of 9 courses.

Best described as Brazilian/French fusion cuisine, chef Raphael Rego takes you on a culinary journey of his homeland from the coast to the hills. The standout for me was the coriander/cilantro ice-cream with chocolate crumb.

Tip – choose a chef or cuisine and research their proteges and who is currently hot in Paris – see resources below


Neighbourhood favourites in Paris

Sit back and relax with a lovely bottle of Bordeaux and pretend you live in Paris. Seek out a recommendation for a favourite local restaurant, mix it with the locals. I doubt you will be disappointed.

This time we asked a friend who had done a lot of business travel to Paris over the years for a recommendation and she did not let us down.

Paris food culture - local Paris bistrot

Where we ate: Hôtel du Nord

Steeped in history and the inspiration for the film of the same name, Hôtel du Nord is a favourite of the 10th arrondissement along the pretty Canal Saint-Martin. I would describe the menu as classics with a twist. I had a very tasty salmon tartare with wasabi but you can also try classics such as cassoulet or cuisses de grenouilles/frogs legs.

The atmosphere is great with groups of friends laughing and joking next to couples on a romantic night out. What I love about this type of restaurant is the diversity of clients enjoying each others company and great food.


Markets in Paris

Fresh produce markets are a way of life in France and they are a wonderful source of tastes and experiences. You will find an abundance of in-season fruits and vegetables as well as cakes, seafood, meat and of course cheese and charcuterie.

My favourite is the poulet rôti stall where locals buy roasted chickens and potatoes basted in the chicken fat. So delicious.

Where we ate: Marché Raspail – 6th arrondissement

Stretching along Boulevard Raspail, the market operates threes times a week and on Sundays is focused on organic produce. It is not a large market but you will experience market shopping like a Parisian.

We munched on delicious custard filled canelés while wishing we could somehow take some of the freshest looking seafood back on the train to London.

Tip – There are many markets all over Paris and they operate on their own schedule throughout the week so it’s best to seek out those in the neighbourhood where you are staying or spending the day. 

Visit a Paris food market


Patisserie and chocolate in Paris

Many foodies head straight to Ladurée for their famous macarons. They are undeniably good but seeing as you can now get them in London, Sydney and even little Lucca it is less of a Parisian experience to eat there.

Instead, try some of the smaller or lesser known boutique patisseries and chocolatiers. We were staying around the corner from the jaw-dropping Patrick Roger and Pierre Hermé. Impossible to resist!

What we ate – Paris-Brest

This delicate choux pastry is a delicacy of Paris. The light and fluffy pastry is filled with hazelnut praline cream and topped with powdered sugar and slivered almonds. Difficult to eat just one, you can find a round-up of the best Paris-Brest here.

Paris pastry and chocolate


Paris cooking classes, food tours and more

Here is a list of food-related activities I have been compiling for my next visit – may it be very soon!

✪ Le Cordon Bleu – the ultimate cooking school. Alumni include Julia Child and Mary Berry, two of my cooking heroines. The school offers short courses as well as their year-long programs

✪ Combining a Paris market visit with a cooking class with a chef sounds like the perfect way to discover traditional food in Paris

✪ Croissants, cheese, chocolate and charcuterie – all the major food groups covered in this ultimate food tour of Paris or if that sounds too indulgent join a culinary bike tour

✪ How about spending a few hours discovering the pastry and chocolate secrets of the Marais? Oui please! Check prices and availability of Marais tour

✪ Miss Lunch offers classes and tours around Paris and they all look fascinating

✪ How about a romantic ‘pique-nique’? This company will set up a surprise picnic in the shade of the Eiffel Tower and other classic locations

Paris food market - fruit and vegetables


Coffee in Paris

I hope I am not the one to break this news to you but French coffee is not particularly good. Sorry.

This being the case make sure you have mapped out the nearest Australian/Kiwi style cafe closest to your accommodation. Otherwise, if you are an arabica obsessive like me, you may be in a spot of bother. This resource is useful!


Your Paris food guide planning resources

Paris food culture - Michelin starred dining

✪ Paris by mouth – from the best baguette in Paris to fancy cocktails with a view, this site has some fantastic suggestions

✪  The Fork – can’t speak French, no problem. Book many restaurants online via this app

✪ A list of fresh produce markets in Paris by arrondissement/neighbourhood

✪ An American pastry chef living the good life in Paris – David Lebovitz has amazing suggestions on everything food related

✪ David’s pastry app will guide you to the best places in Paris for chocolate, ice-cream, pastry and other sweet treats

✪ A great collection of Paris food and wine tours you can book online

✪ French menus a little confusing? Read these tips on navigating a French menu

✪ Get your cooking souvenirs at E. Dehillerin – an amazing array of cookware stacked floor to ceiling

✪ Don’t forget your coffee!


I hope this list is useful and a starting point for building your ultimate foodie adventure in Paris. Please do let me know if you have other suggestions – my arm can always be twisted for a return trip to Paris! 


Disclosure: There are some affiliate links in this post. This means that if you choose to make a purchase after clicking on one of the links I may receive a small commission and your purchase will help support this site. Read my full disclosure policy.


 

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Paris food guide - where to find the best Paris restaurants, food markets and Paris food tours
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32 Comments

  1. 12th April 2016 / 3:51 AM

    I love Paris, but I have yet to visit the many more great restaurants the city has to offer. Great post! 🙂 I have a couple of personal favourites, but I’ll have to keep these ones in mind for my next visit!
    Xo,
    Miki
    http://mikialamode.com

    • 12th April 2016 / 8:20 AM

      Thanks Miki! Thanks for dropping by. It’s so hard to choose where to go sometimes as there are so many fabulous places.

  2. 12th April 2016 / 9:01 AM

    Heading there soon – can’t wait, can’t wait!!

    • 28th April 2016 / 9:17 AM

      Yay! I’ll be looking forward to seeing your updates. I just know you’ll find some great eateries ?

    • 12th April 2016 / 2:09 PM

      thanks so much Clare – really appreciate your support!

  3. 13th April 2016 / 9:15 PM

    This is a great post, which I will pin for future reference. I would have loved to see a section on veggie food in Paris as well.

    • 13th April 2016 / 9:21 PM

      Ah thanks Amanda. I think I could definitely include more on vegetarian options and also where to eat if you have allergies etc I appreciate your thoughtful response – cheers! 🙂

    • 13th April 2016 / 9:22 PM

      Thanks Amanda. I think I could definitely include more on vegetarian options and also where to eat if you have allergies etc I appreciate your thoughtful response – cheers! 🙂

  4. 13th April 2016 / 9:53 PM

    Where’s the cheese for that baguette? You made me hungry. I’m going to go and eat lunch now

  5. 13th April 2016 / 11:17 PM

    I love Paris. Whilst I havent specifically gone a foodie quest through the city, I’ve found that my favourite eats have been just outside of Paris in the suburbs (such as Noisy Le Grand). The waiters speak very little English, if any. So it’s kinda like eating as if you were a true local 🙂

    • 14th April 2016 / 9:02 AM

      Yes I agree Kachina, a bit of off piste exploring (as I call it) usually brings excellent finds ?

  6. 14th April 2016 / 12:09 AM

    Great ideas (and resource links ☺)! I like that you pointed out lunching at the ritzier restaurants to keep it a little more budget-minded. With these markets… are they loaded with street food, too? Or is it just shopping with a few odd foo stalls?

    • 28th April 2016 / 10:00 AM

      Thanks for the lovely comment Katie and great question! It really depends on the market so it pays to do some research. You can usually find a few street food stalls but the focus would be mainly on produce. Oh and baked goods. Yum croissants. Usually there is a vietnamese food stall too.

  7. 14th April 2016 / 1:23 AM

    All this food looks amazing! I’ve always wanted to go to France and now I know what to eat while I’m there. I really liked how you gave websites and directions on how to get to these places. I’m totes drooling now! 😀

    • 14th April 2016 / 9:01 AM

      Thanks Gina, I’m sure you will get there soon and discover all the foodie goodness

  8. 14th April 2016 / 3:41 AM

    We were on such a tight budget when we visited Paris that we did not get to enjoy the finer restaurants the city has to offer. We didn’t even try a macaron! Your picture reminded me of how good the baguettes were though.

    • 14th April 2016 / 9:00 AM

      Well Christina just another reason to go back. ? I still can’t eat a ham sandwich after consuming too many as a backpacker but the baguettes did make the difference to that staple diet!

  9. 14th April 2016 / 10:54 AM

    I love Paris, but have felt that finding good food there is a hit or miss game. Usually, TripAdvisor is my fav resource, but it hasn’t been that useful in Paris – maybe because the food scene changes so fast, as you said. Great tips!

  10. 14th April 2016 / 8:38 PM

    I know quite well how paris is costy when it comes to food (not just food) in Paris. I’d rather go with local markets next time I’ll go there and follow you itinerary. The last time I was there, I must be true, it was quite hard for me as a vegetarian but I suppose things have changed a lot in this about 10 years!

    • 15th April 2016 / 9:39 PM

      Hi Sabrina, it is quite expensive to eat in Paris. You are wise to stick to the markets and there are some amazing North African restaurants that can be cost effective and good for vegetarians – think vegetable tagines. If you are not keen on that there’s always cheese ?

  11. 14th April 2016 / 10:52 PM

    I need to go back to Paris just beacause of this post. I need to try all the food now haha but also because I love Paris and don’t think you can ever go too many times.

    • 28th April 2016 / 9:14 AM

      So true, there is always more time for Paris. Now I am hungry too thinking about croissants!

  12. 15th April 2016 / 3:42 AM

    ummmm my mouth is WATERING. must go, NOW!! thanks for an awesome read

    • 15th April 2016 / 9:41 PM

      thanks for dropping by and your kind words Julie ?

  13. aandj8804
    4th August 2016 / 1:59 AM

    This is an amazing guide to French restaurants. I’ve never been to Paris on a foodie trip, but you post makes me want to. But do I dare ask how much you spent at restaurants while there? Just looking at some of the suggested restaurants in my guidebooks (often Michelin starred) suggested prices of 100 euros or more for two for a meal. Far beyond my budget during my last trip to France! I’m already following David Lebovitz (read his review on French macarons sometime ago), so I’m eager to check out some of the other links you shared in this post even if I don’t have another Paris trip scheduled for… a while. Maybe someday this post will come in handy for me. I’m hoping anyway… 🙂

  14. jphowze
    6th February 2017 / 12:51 PM

    Fantastic advice, gorge pictures and great ideas for my next trip to Paris! x

    • 7th February 2017 / 9:22 AM

      Thanks Jen! I’m always dreaming up reasons to go to Paris!

  15. 17th July 2017 / 2:36 AM

    I love how you’ve written this! I tend to dislike a lot of guides to Paris because they often give themselves more authority than they deserve (in my opinion). Paris is so vast that it’s almost impossible to really write a comprehensive guide about a broad topic. I think the way you’ve done it is brilliant, with good information, some suggestions, and then all the resources anyone could want to discover food in Paris for themselves. A guide I can get on board with!

    P.S. Your Paris coffee truth bomb cracked me up!

    • 20th July 2017 / 11:33 AM

      You are so kind! Yes, I think it’s difficult for me to write definitively about Paris dining if I dont live there. The coffee is my only beef with France actually. Even my kids say … “French coffee sucks!” But I hear some Australian baristas are moving in so it’s improving every day!

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