Where to Eat and Drink in Paris
When you think of French cuisine, you probably think of foie gras and French onion soup. If you haven’t tried these, you probably should (you can usually find traditional French food in bistros, some of my favourites are Chez Janou and Chez Paul, while others swear by Bistro Paul Bert). But Paris offers a plethora of encore plus (so much more). Snails can be divisive, but usually it’s the texture rather than the taste that divides camps.
Let’s get one thing straight. The cliché of French people eating copious amounts of bread and cheese is one of the clichés that is actually true. Look for fromageries (Les Fromages d’Eliza and Le Jardin Fromager are good starting points, also the cheese stand inside the Marché Aligre has the largest selection) and always ask the vendor for recommendations, as they often know exactly where their cheeses come from and what they’re best paired with. In most traditional restaurants and bistros, low-carb dishes are often accompanied (for free) with fresh bread. Gonna give a quick shout out to L’Area, a restaurant near Place des Vosges, they give French bread and Lebanese bread (the cuisine is a mix of Lebanese and Brazilian), have a delicious variety of food at a super reasonable price point and the owner Eduoard fosters a warm, family environment, which compels guests to talk amongst each other, even if they’re complete strangers.
The tap water in Paris is fine to drink, but also keep your eyes peeled for water fill-up stations, which have begun to pop up around Paris. These stations also offer sparkling water, along with flat water. Chic. There will also often be water fountains (usually looking very 19th century with cherubs supporting the structure) in parks, which are totally safe to drink from.
A younger vanguard of chefs are challenging traditional ideas of French cuisine. Some notable mentions are Martin and Au Passage, both in the 11th. Natural wine bars are also making a stir, with La Chambre Noire and Le Cave à Michel being favourites.
Northern African and Middle Eastern cuisines are quite common around Paris (pointing back to large migratory patterns of individuals searching for work after World War I from French colonised countries in these regions). If you’re hungry, try a couscous (they manifest themselves differently depending on which country they come from). If you want a snack, take a chorba (always comes with heaps of pita) or try a small fatayer or borek (a small savoury pastry usually made with feta and spinach).
If you need something to tie you over until your next meal, most boulangeries offer savoury grilled breads or pastries with cheese, vegetables and meat that are under €5. Bon appétit!
If you're planning to visit Paris, check out our local guides to find more recommendations on where to eat out.