Paris, the enchanting “City of Lights”, is world renowned for its landmarks, culture, fashion, art and cuisine. It features no less than four UNESCO World Heritage sites and boasts more than 42 million visitors per year, making it the most visited European destination. Travelers coming here enjoy anything from the very best in theatre, to impressive architecture, to top-rated museums and beautiful parks.
While Paris is known for its beauty, and has a reputation for cultivating the perfect romantic atmosphere, for me this city is also a haven for food lovers. Arguably, Paris has world’s best markets, restaurants, and bakeries. Foodies like me appreciate the plethora of flavors available, from Haute Cuisine to simple but tasty local creations, available for any budget.
What to Eat
French food is so vast and distinctly different from region to region that the only thing that can be agreed upon is that it is enjoyed by both the bourgeoisie and average citizens alike. You can find any type of traditional cuisine at one of the over 9,000 restaurants available throughout the city. No matter where you decide to eat, Parisian food is always prepared with the freshest quality ingredients. To get superior vegetables, fruit, meats, herbs, cheeses and chocolates one needs to visit one of many neighborhood farmers’ markets located thought the city.
Insiders Tips: Food
For one of a kind culinary experiences in Paris, try the following stops:
- Most memorable meal experience in town, at Bouillon Chartier (come for early lunch or late dinner to avoid crowds)
- A dinner cruise on the Seine (pre-book to get best table and sunset cruise times)
- Special dinner at the Eiffel Tower (reservations required well in advance)
- Garden lunch at the Rodin Museum (home to the Rodin’s Thinker)
- Late dinner at the Orsay Museum
- Breakfast at a local bakery (Paris is very serious about fresh baked goods)
- Street snacks: crepes (street vendors; best on Saturday morning from local bakery!)
- Neighborhood food markets (best on Saturday mornings; my favorite is on Rue de Cler near the Eiffel Tower)
- And for a refined, one-of-kind fine dining experience try Michelin star restaurant; I recommend Epicure (reservations required; a suit jacket required for men, prices start from 95 Euro, with speciality teas from 15 Euro). Keep in mind that you are not coming here to eat here because you are hungry; you are here to be seen and to enjoy “food theater” = to try new cuisine, to mingle with famous people, and to experience the “world of the wealthy.”
- During the spring and early summer seasons, Paris offers wonderfully mild temperatures. This being said, for optimal weather, make plans to visit from March to early July.
- There is nothing like Paris in the springtime. The flowers are in full bloom, the parks are lively with activity and the smell of fresh baking bread fills the air. Walk around and discover a city that has remained virtually unchanged for centuries.
- Avoid August if you want to sample Paris’ bastions of fine cuisine, or even many of its smaller foodie gems, as many close for either part or all of August. If you can’t avoid an August trip, make sure to call ahead and ask whether reservations are being taken for August.
- Most international flights arrive at Paris CDG. There are a few options to get you to the center of town. Uber or taxi will cost you approximately 48 euros to any stop in central Paris.
- When booking your hotel accommodations, it is a good idea to inquire about the nearest public transportation available in order to save yourself some valuable time.
- It took me some time to figure it out, but Paris is a very walkable city. You will have a much better experience here if you decide to explore Paris on foot. Enjoy city parks.
- While in Paris, keep in mind that most museums are free on the first Sunday of each month. During free admission days, come as early as possible to avoid crowds.
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