Paris: The Essential Itinerary for the Food Discoverer
If there’s one city that would be deemed the culinary capital of the world, it would be the City of Light. From birthing the modern restaurant to popularizing the macaron to being home to some of the oldest outdoor markets in the Western world, Paris’s culinary scene must be experienced at least once in your lifetime. To that end, here is our shortlist of where to eat, drink, snack, shop, and cook like a local.
Dine Here: Bistrot Paul Bert
Sure, everyone with their finger on the Paris restaurant pulse will rattle off a list that includes Septime, Frenchie, and newbies like Rigmarole. Don’t get us wrong, those restaurants should be on your radar (and reserved well in advance). But when you go to sleep at night dreaming of your first meal in Paris, don’t you envision yourself seated on a ruby red booth cozying up to a glass of Syrah? If that’s your jam, make a pilgrimage to Bistrot Paul Bert. This authentic French bistro, with its picture-perfect setting, knowledgeable servers, and traditional recipes like côte de bœuf for two and Paris Brest, will over-deliver on that food fantasy. Bitesee tip: Keep watch for the Plats du Jour to find items like their famous steak frites.
Food Photo Opp: Du Pain et des Idées
Probably the most insta-worthy of all of Paris’s pastries can be found here at Du Pain et des Idées. The restored vintage interior is a riot of mirrors and painted ceramic tiles that set off the mountains of baked goods—chausson aux pommes (apple turnover), the perfect pain au chocolat (no explanation necessary), and the money shot: le escargot with pistachio paste. Bitesee tip: The pâtisserie is opened only on weekdays, so plan accordingly. Trust us, you won't regret re-arranging your agenda around the bakery's opening hours.
Aperitif Hour: Hôtel Particulier
All-day cafes are a sure bet for an afternoon spritz while doing the favorite Paris pastime—people watching. (We do most of ours at Au Petit fer a Cheval.) But for a real reprieve from the hustle and bustle of city life, we recommend hoofing it up to Montmartre to this hidden oasis. You have the option of being tucked inside the gorgeous environs or melting in the quiet outdoor garden. Don’t fret, this isn’t like those bougie mixology bars you’ve groaned about in your own hometown.
Eat While You Shop: Marché des Enfants Rouge
With more than 80 public markets scattered throughout the metropolis, no neighborhood is without access to a marché. One where you can truly take advantage of shopping while you eat (or eating while you shop) is the Marché des Enfants Rouge in the 3rd arrondissement. The oldest remaining covered market in the heart of this trendy foodie neighborhood was built in 1615. The Marché des Enfants Rouge boasts stands of prepared food from Morocco, Japan, Lebanon, Italy, and, it goes without saying, France. Bitesee tip: Track down the Moroccan Chicken Pastilla.
Cook Like a Local: La Cuisine
If there’s one keepsake to take home, it’s the skills to recreate some of those tasty morsels once back on your own turf. La Cuisine cooking school is one of the best for food enthusiasts visiting Paris to learn the intricacies of French cuisine. While there are many offerings—from learning techniques to honing your skills in le mielle feuille (puff pastry)—our top choice is La Cuisine’s French Market Tour and Cooking Class.
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