My Food Lover’s Guide to Paris

I have been to Paris on three separate occasions and while each trip was very different, there has always been a common thread: delicious food. I don’t know how the Parisians continue to amaze me with their cuisine, but they do and I can’t complain. This most recent trip, we stayed a full week in Paris which left a lot of room for baguettes, long dinners, and fun activities outside of tourist attractions.

Food Lovers in Paris_16 {my group of food lovers after making macarons}

Santa brought me a new book in my stocking this year, so I had great reading material for our journey on the fast train from Zurich to Paris. I read Patricia Well’s Food Lover’s Guide to Paris almost cover to cover in those few hours and I couldn’t wait to check out every restaurant she recommended. Food Lovers in Paris_1

But, as vacation is unpredictable, it was almost time to go home when I realized we had yet to try any of her restaurants. It’s simply too hard to know where you are going to be during every meal time, let alone make reservations far enough in advance to get into the popular places. Seeing as Paris still amazed me with it’s food without having to go to only recommended places, I realized you can still eat ridiculously well if you just use some common foodie sense. 

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Buy a baguette. They are cheap! I learned there is a price cap of €.95 so that everyone can afford them. Slather with butter and jam, cheese and meats, or just eat it plain. If it’s not absolutely delicious, try a new bakery. No need to waste room in your stomach when a better baguette might only be a block away.

Try the croissants and pastries. The first hotel I stayed in Paris served me a baguette, pain chocolat, a croissant, and a pot of hot chocolate for breakfast. My fourteen year old self was in heaven. I don’t love sweet breakfasts as much anymore, but in Paris, they are too good to pass up. Food Lovers in Paris_7

Pick one restaurant you are dying to try and go. Scour the books and the reviews, and decide which of those restaurants cannot be missed. Make a reservation and plan your day around it. Ask what the most popular dish is before ordering, and take their wine recommendations. Save room for dessert (and order the half-cooked chocolate cake if they have it!). 

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Find a neighborhood restaurant. After a long day touring, the last thing you want to do is head back out in search for a restaurant on the opposite side of town. Two of my favorite meals in Paris were in our neighborhood, within a five minute walk. Scour the menu, checking for French authenticity (i.e. pass on restaurants that have italian, thai, and french on one menu). Make sure it smells good and that the fellow diner’s plates look appealing. Chalkboard menus are always a good sign, as that means the menu is changing daily. If it passes your scrutiny, sit down and enjoy. You have better chances of success with this if you are staying in a non-touristy area, like a rental apartment or smaller hotel.

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Attempt to eat as the French do. The food is rich, and if you eat American portions of French food, your stomach might not be happy. The French eat full fat foods, slowly, and in small portions. AND they are still slender. What a concept, right? Food Lovers in Paris_2

{bread slathered with truffle butter and slices of black truffle}

Taste French wine. I’m sure there are many wine tastings to choose from, but we found one at a centrally located wine bar called O’Chateau. Two hours, 6 tastings, and the most delicious baguette I ever did eat. Did you know French wines are named after the region, not the grape? Welp, I didn’t. It’s no wonder why I never knew what French wine to order. I’m a brand new fan of Côtes du Rhône. Food Lovers in Paris_12

Take a cooking class or a walking food tour. We learned how to make macarons in the Parisian home of the great chef, Marthe. I learned that I will probably continue to buy them because the process is a bit daunting, but it was such a fun way to spend a few hours on vacation. If macarons aren’t your thing, you can learn how to make a three course meal or French pastries. Alternatively, you can leave the hard work to the chefs and find out where to buy the best of the best French delicacies on a food tour. Whether you are a cook or just like to enjoy the finer foods in life, there is something for every foodie. Food Lovers in Paris_6

Order crepes on the street. I’ve tried crepes in restaurants, but my favorites have been the crepes from little stands you see where they make it right in front of you. You witness the ridiculous amount of butter they use, and you don’t care because you are eating as the French do. Savory or sweet; you can’t go wrong.

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Have a picnic at the Eiffel Tower. I can’t say I’ve experienced this because everytime I’ve been to Paris, the weather has been subpar for picnicking. But it seems magical. A baguette, wine, cheese, macarons, all up close and personal with the iconic tower.

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Foie Gras, Escargot, Frog Legs, Oysters. Try at least one and you may be surprised by your liking to these weird foods. It’s time to be adventurous; you are in Paris after all.

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My personal foodie highlights: Vagenende, Au Pied de Fouet, macarons from La Duree, crepes on Rue Cler, A la Renaissance, Mémère au Piano, cooking class with Marthe, and chocolates at Alain Ducasse.

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Really, you can’t go wrong dining in Paris, so just go, eat, drink, and enjoy! 

Paris, you are an amazing city and I hope you continue to stay strong and united, even in light of the recent tragedies.


5 Responses

  1. Joe and I split a bottle of bubbly while walking and then sitting on a bench at the bottom Eiffel tower during the evening and it was super romantic, so if weather is too cold, sharing something and walking around during the less busy times is a great alternative.

  2. I have traveled all over the world, and even in France, but I have NEVER been to Paris – how crazy is that?! This post is giving me a serious case of wanderlust – what a beautiful, delicious, amazing time it seems like you had during your visits! And I love the price cap on the baguettes – how brilliant is that?!

    1. You must go! The food just really made it a wonderful experience. I’m trying to plan a ski weekend in France now so we have more reason to eat French food 🙂

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