Food Lover’s Guide to Paris

A Parisian marketA Parisian market
Courtesy cackowoski/myBudgetTravel

Visit a French market during your visit to Paris.

This article was written by Christine Cantera on behalf of's Travel Blog.

Cheese. Bread. Pastries. With all the amazing things to eat in Paris, it’s a wonder anyone has time to visit the museums! If your itinerary for Paris looks more like a grocery list than a guide book, check out our tips for food lovers who are ready to fall in love with the City of Light.

Steak frites is a simple dish, but don’t overlook it.
It can be easy to forgo this brasserie staple in search of more inventive cuisine, but in a way it should almost be your first meal upon arriving. It’s one of the best Parisian comfort foods and should be eaten at a quality place (a great one is Charbon Rouge, 75008). Note that the French love a bloody steak, so if you’re squeamish, go one level up from your normal cooked preference.

Read more about France’s best food

Don’t overlook the fare at wine bars, either.
Wine bars in Paris are especially useful for sampling the fruits of France’s vineyards, as many outside of Paris only serve their own region’s labels. And recently, the trend towards serving more than just some basic snacks has taken over, and now you can easily make a meal out of their offerings—in fact, many chefs are opening up bistrots à vins. Frenchie Bar à Vins (75002) is a fine example.

Beware of outdoor seating.
Outdoor seating is a popular temptation in Paris—and one I take advantage of regularly. But if you’re a foodie purist, there are two things you need to think about before grabbing that seat. First, this isn’t the States—outdoor seating is snapped up by smokers, and Parisians don’t mind when someone next to them lights up. So if you’re the type who coughs and splutters the second you see a cig, you’ll probably want to eat inside. And second, check out the traffic scene. Some places have a steady stream of buses, scooters, or just plain heavy foot traffic, which can leave you distracted and jostled. Check out the restaurants on tranquil Place du Marché Sainte-Catherine (75004) if the traffic seems way too much for you (but I can’t help you with the smoking).

Not all bread is created equal.
You can barely walk 15 feet in Paris without stumbling across yet another boulangerie. And you’ll be hard-pressed to find a truly crappy baguette (croissants are another story; boy can they stink!). But if you make sure that the place has a blue and yellow “Artisan Boulanger” sign out front, then you can be sure that it's at least homemade. And in case you’re wondering, yes, there is a “best baguette” in Paris, at Boulangerie Mauvieux (159 rue Ordener, 75018). They have a contest for it and everything.

Go behind-the-scenes of a boulangerie

Rent an apartment and hit the markets.
Even non-foodies enjoy visiting Paris’s many food markets, but if you don’t have any way too cook, it’s no different than a (really awesome) museum. But whether you take a Parisian food tour or go it alone, with a vacation apartment you have the luxury of taking home that strange legume and messing with it for the rest of the morning. Or you can stock up on all the cheeses, even the stinky ones, without stuffing them in the mini-fridge between tiny bottles of vodka and candy bars. For true food lovers, the markets are where it’s at. Don’t miss the Marché des Enfants Rouges (75003), which is open more than just on the weekends and dates back to the 1600s.

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