As followers of my Twitter and Instagram will know, I had four days in Paris last month, which were just lovely – despite the constant rain and poor choice of clothing I decided to pack! It was my first time in the beautiful city of culture, the arts and romance and I feel like I didn’t see nearly enough as I wanted – although I did pack a lot in. Here are my recommendations for eateries en Paris!
Au Bon Cafe – 2 Boulevard St. Martin, 75010
We visited this very traditional cafe/bar for breakfast before getting the metro to the Louvre. An old-fashioned typically French establishment, Au Bon Cafe looks very much like the place all the old men meet on a Friday night for brandy and cards. But the interior is beautiful and very charming. Breakfast is served from 7-11am and despite arriving after this time, we were still allowed to choose from ‘le menu petit-dejeuner’ with the warning “there are only three croissants left”. Ordering ‘le speed’ at €3.70, we had a croissant, glass of orange juice and coffee – exactly what I wanted. There were only a couple of other people seated the same time as us, so there was no real atmosphere, but the place was chic and a good introduction to Parisian life.
Ranked #8,804 of 10,146 restaurants in Paris
Brooks Cafe – 8 Boulevard de Magenta, 75010
Breakfast at Brooks was by far the best I had while in Paris – and it was only two doors down from the hotel. Vibrant, lively and modern, Brooks hosts a wealth of treats – from healthy salads and paninis to naughty breakfast pastries and indulgent crepes. This is no chain either; everything is fresh, delicious and reasonably priced. I went for a pain aux raisins and latte and it seemed ludicrous paying less than £1.50 for a coffee! I wish I had gone to Brooks more – to sample lunch or crepe (with nutella and banana, of course), but there’s always next time!
Ranked #1,612 of 10,146 restaurants in Paris
Castel Cafe – 5 Avenue de Suffren, 75007
After visiting the Eiffel Tower, we trekked around in the pouring rain for somewhere to stop for a spot of lunch. We came across the Castel Cafe, which looked like a typical French cafe from the outside and once inside, didn’t disappoint – dim lighting, pictures on the walls and just very Parisian. We ordered from the set menu, which came to €16 for three courses. The steak frites were very good and a must-have when in France and the crème caramel was amazing, my favourite dessert. Despite arriving in the middle of a busy lunch service, the waiters were attentive, although the language barrier proved a minor problem. Castel is situated in a perfect location and although drinks were on the pricy side, it was to be expected, being in a city. On the plus side, it wasn’t as touristy as I imagined, either.
Ranked #3,373 of 10,146 restaurants in Paris
For typical French food and surroundings
La Cooperative – 85 Rue de Rivoli, 75001
Another fabulous little gem in a fabulous location – La Cooperative is the place to go, when visiting the Louvre. The vin chaud was exactly what I needed to warm up on an autumnal day and the optional cinnamon and sugar was a bonus. Of course, being in Paris, I couldn’t help but have a baguette and opted for chicken salad. It was amazing and so big – the baguettes in supermarkets just do not compare! The staff were friendly and the service was very good until it got to the point of paying but we were in a hurry. It was busy though as well, with friends having drinks and families eating afternoon snacks, so the vibe inside was good. The atmosphere was so cosy and homely and it’s the kind of place you could return to, time and time again, without getting bored.
Ranked #1,322 of 10,152 restaurants in Paris
For steak and seafood
Taverne Karlsbraude de Paris Republique – 1 Boulevard Voltaire / 6 Place de la Republique, Paris
We went here for our final meal, having read reviews on Trip Advisor (which were a mixed bag, to be fair). The meal certainly didn’t disappoint, although the service left much to be desired. After waiting close to 40 minutes for a table (yes it was a Saturday, but still), despite empty tables which hadn’t been cleaned, we were actually nicely placed, with a view down the surrounding streets. I went for the moules frites – exactly what I wanted for my ‘last supper’ – which were perfect! As you can see, there were loads, but despite this I still had room for dessert. I finally got my waffle fix! The food and drink was just divine, although a glass of Chablis cost nearly £6 – the bottle costing £32. Our waiter wasn’t the best though and he had a very dry sense of humour. If you can’t speak fluent or even conversational French, you’ll struggle, as I did try to make an effort, but got nothing in return – and he actually mocked my pronunciations.