Places to Eat in Paris, France
Paris has the reputation of being one of the world’s culinary capitals, and rightly so. Food is intrinsic to Parisian culture, and as soon as you step foot in the city, you will immediately understand why. Everywhere there are eateries where locals and tourists enjoy themselves while savoring delicious food and drinks.
Paris offers countless eating options for all tastes and budgets, so deciding where to go might be overwhelming. This post is a complete guide on where to eat in Paris, France, during your next trip – all kinds of places to eat in Paris. Read this guide to eating in Paris together with our Paris food guide and our article on Parisian cakes, and you are ready for a fantastic culinary experience!
If you want a typical French meal, you can’t go wrong with dining in a bistro. A bistro can be described as a neighborhood restaurant with a convivial and cozy atmosphere.
Paris bistros have a very particular atmosphere and style of decoration. Traditionally, bistros in Paris consist of a zinc-covered bar with a coffee machine and beer taps. The furniture is simple, often dating from the beginning of the 20th century: wooden chairs and tables, red leather banquettes, with vintage mirrors and advertising signs on the walls.
Bistros are among the best places to eat in Paris to savor delicious local dishes. The menu in bistros is updated daily, usually on a slate, depending on what seasonal products the cooks find in the daily markets. The menu isn’t large (usually a couple of entrées, main dishes, and desserts) but it can include delicious dishes like soupe à l’oignon (onion soup), terrines, and confit de canard (duck confit). To wrap-up your meal it’s common to find famous desserts in Paris like baba au rhum, café gourmand, and Paris-Brest.
Speaking of prices, bistros are usually family-run businesses, and, generally, you won’t spend a fortune to lunch or dine here. However, there’s a new concept, the bistronomie, which combines the cuisine worthy of great chefs with the affordable prices of Parisian bistros.
Another of the great places to eat in Paris to live the “Parisian experience” to the fullest is a brasserie. With a long history, brasseries are big eateries open non-stop until late at night. The concept of the brasserie is combining the conviviality and extended opening hours of a bar with the serving of French dishes that you would find in a local restaurant.
The atmosphere inside a brasserie is pretty relaxed, and Parisians usually meet here to enjoy a beer while sharing appetizers. However, you will also see locals entering a brasserie late at night just to eat a dessert (similar to what happens in American diners).
Brasseries’ menus are longer than bistros’ menus and include basic dishes, like omelette, croque-monsieur, and steak frites. The point of eating in a brasserie is actually drinking beer, as the name of this establishment suggests (brasserie is the French word for “brewery”). Some of the brasseries in Paris even make their own beer!
The fast service (which does not mean fast food) is one of the biggest “pros” of brasseries. Brasseries are definitely places to eat in Paris on the budget side.
Besides the typical bistros and brasseries, around Paris, you will find countless restaurants. From Michelin-starred restaurants to small, family-owned places, there are over 40,000 restaurants in Paris!
If you fancy an upscale dinner in an elegant setting, a tranquil lunch without too much fuss, or prefer an Asian meal, you will find the right restaurants for you in the city. French restaurants typically have scheduled hours for lunch and dinner while closing in between.
TIP: Looking for a lovely dinner with your partner? Here are the best romantic restaurants in Paris.
The whole point of restaurants is that they not only serve traditional French cuisine cooked in the old way but also dishes with exotic flavors and prepared with new techniques. But if you feel like trying another type of cuisine in Paris, you will find everything, from Asian eateries to South American to Middle Eastern and African.
Depending on the cuisine they serve, restaurants’ menus vary in terms of budget, and they usually range from medium to expensive. Another advantage of restaurants in Paris is that they are more spacious and offer more privacy than bistros or crêperies.
For an unforgettable dinner, check out the list of the best Michelin-starred restaurants in Paris. If you prefer delicious French cuisine with no fuss, check out our lists of best neighborhood restaurants in Paris.
Where to eat in Paris on a budget? If you are craving delicious French food, but you are traveling on a budget, check out the bouillons.
Bouillons are affordable restaurants in Paris serving traditional French cuisine at unbeatable prices in a sumptuous setting. Amongst the so-called “popular” cuisine there’s notably the bouillon (broth) which gives these establishments their name. Other dishes typical of these budget restaurants in Paris are the egg mayo, vegetable soup, tête de veau, and beuf bourguignon.
The first bouillons opened in 1860. Today, there are around 250 bouillons in Paris, being the Bouillon Chartier (7 Rue du Faubourg Montmartre, in Paris 9) the most famous. There’s no reservation possible at Bouillon Chartier, and lines are usually long, so try to show up early.
Where to eat in Paris, France, with kids or a group of friends? When thinking about French food and family, pretty much everyone immediately thinks of crêperies!
Crêpes were first made by the Bretons, who exported this delicious invention to Paris and the rest of France when they emigrated. Since the Bretons first settled in Paris around Gare de Montparnasse (Paris 15), this is the area of the city where you will find the oldest (and more traditional) crêperies (outside of Bretagne, of course!).
When stepping inside a crêperie, you will enter a relaxed, friendly, and cozy ambiance, permeated by the scent of this French pancake-like dish. Breton Crêpes can be made from wheat (sweet crêpe) or buckwheat (salted crêpe called galette).
Originally, sweet crêpes were simply stuffed with lemon and sugar, but today you can enjoy an incredible variety of sweet and savory toppings. Among the fillings for sweet crêpes are Nutella, vanilla ice cream, and strawberries, which all make for a fantastic dessert or gouter (afternoon snack).
If you prefer to have galettes for lunch or dinner, among the filling options are cheese, sausage, and salmon – just to name a few. On average, a simple sweet dessert crêpe costs around €3-€5, while more elaborate galettes can cost up to €15.
If you are ready for a soirée eating delicious crêpes and galettes, check out my favorite crêperies in Paris.
Parks of Paris
There is hardly something more French than having a picnic during summer in Paris! Parisians love spending time outside and enjoying delicious food and wine in one of the many gorgeous parks and gardens in Paris.
Picnicking can be considered a national sport in France, and Parisians take it pretty seriously, organizing the eating out in detail.
To properly participate in a Parisian picnic, 4 food items need to be in your basket: bread, cheese, meat, and wine. As for bread, opt for a traditional baguette, as it pairs heavenly with all the other food items in your basket.
When it comes to cheese, you should bring at least a couple of different ones to mix and match with the cured meats. Which cheese to choose comes down to your personal preference, but just be mindful that, on hot days, soft cheeses will melt pretty fast – so they get messy!
Charcuterie is a staple of French cuisine, and it needs to be in your picnic basket. Pack a variety of pâtés, terrines, rillettes, and cured meats (like saucisson) for a well-rounded culinary experience.
For drinks, rosé wine is Parisians’ favorite choice for a picnic. If you are not a fan, look for a refreshing white wine, like a nice Brut Champagne, or a classic red from Bordeaux.
Complete your picnic basket with a selection of fresh salads and fruits.
Preparing a picnic can be moderately expensive if you bring a great quantity of high-quality food. But you can also buy one of these cheap eats in Paris and look for a nice spot to eat it in your favorite park.
I’ve written an article about the best places to picnic in Paris. Check it out to discover all the best spots in the city for your next picnic!
And there you have it, where to eat in Paris, France, for all budgets and styles. What places to eat in Paris would you like to try during your next trip?