We all know that Paris has some of the best food in the world. It is truly a challenge to find a bad meal anywhere in the city. When I lived there, the only reason I didn’t gain twenty pounds was because I was forced to walk to my school everyday. In a city filled with amazing bread, meats, cheeses and wine, how can you go wrong? You can’t really BUT if you want to know where to start, you’re in the right place.
Le petit déjeuner or Breakfast
Le petit déjeuner literally translates to “a little lunch” but really means breakfast. Most cafes have a simple option called, you guessed it, “le petit dejéuner.” Typically, it comes with a cafe or cafe au lait (a coffee with milk that is a foamy delicious cloud of yum), an orange juice, a few pieces of toasted bread with some lovely jam, and a croissant or pan au chocolat. If you’re unfamiliar, pan au chocolat is essentially a crossiant with chocolate folded and baked into it. It’s usually served warm and it will make you weep with joy.
As I said, most cafes have this option and it’s usually very reasonably priced. Extra points if you order in French!
Le déjeuner or Lunch
The absolute best way to eat like a Parisian and to really get a feel for what typical day in the city is like for those who live here, eat in the park! A lot of people choose to eat their meals outside and will simply grab a to go sandwich and grab some bench. Since you don’t have to go back to work, you should take the whole afternoon!
Grab a bottle of wine (do NOT forget a bottle opener, I did this all the time) and head to a park! There are tons of awesome ones so it really just depends on what you’re looking for. My favorite was Jardin du Luxembourg.
If you’re vegan ignore this bit but if you aren’t grab some brie, a few pieces of fruit, and some ham. Then on the way to the park, stop off at a boulangerie (these are a bakeries but only serves bread) and grab a baguette! They’re only a euro and I definitely suggest grabbing this last as boulangeries are constantly baking fresh batches. This increases your chances of getting it fresh out of the oven and into your mouth!
Dîner or (you guessed it) Dinner
Dinner is a special meal in France. It’s a meal that’s meant to be shared with family or friends and it’s also a meal that is meant to take a LONG time. Dinner is an experience, especially in Paris. Use the money you saved on your breakfast and lunch and splurge on a nice dinner. Often restaurants have menu options where you can pick from a set list of appetizers, entrees, and desserts. If you are trying to save your nickels this is a great option.
You’ll also notice that typically your servers will not come to check on you to ask if you need anything, they are trying to leave you be and let you enjoy your meal. If you do need something, you’ll need to flag your server down.
For dinner especially, try to avoid touristy areas like Saint-Michel or Champs-Élysées. Try to keep an eye out for a place you might be interested in while you’re out walking around for the day. The more local feeling, side street restaurant is what you want, that’s where you’ll find the best meals. My absolute favorite place for dinner in all of Paris is Café Saint-Régis. It is beautiful and right behind Notre Dame. The food is amazing and the look and feel of the place makes you feel like you crawled into Paris in the 20’s. I highly recommend the duck.
Above all else, when you are eating in Paris whether it be a kebab shop or a four star restaurant, make sure to go out of your comfort zone and try something new! You are on an adventure so treat your stomach to one too! You might discover your new favorite food.
What is your favorite restaurant in Paris? Share with the community in the comments!