Where to eat in Paris? Ah, that is the question. In a city famous for its food, the choice is huge and sometimes overwhelming. Where is best depends upon your own tastes, dietary requirements and budget but here we will try to outline the sort of dining options to be found in some of Paris neighborhoods most popular with the foodies. On the Left Bank, the area around Place Saint-Michel in the Latin Quarter
(5th arr.) is a maze of narrow streets, each of which seems to be lined with little cafes. Prices are reasonable and the menus feature classic French bistro dishes.
Nearby, the Rue de Buci is a short but lively street in the 6th arrondissement with lots of restaurants. It's a popular spot for people watching over a glass of wine, coffee, or a meal. Just off the Rue St-André des Arts and close to the Rue de Buci you will find the Cour du Commerce de St-André. This is a charming, cobblestoned pedestrian lane, full of restaurants including some of the oldest in Paris. It's one of the best Paris neighborhoods to dine outside and enjoy the car-free atmosphere. Along the Boulevard Saint-Germain, (also 6th arr.) you'll find some atmospheric restaurants once frequented by some of the great literary names of Paris. You'll pay a little more for the nostalgia, but it's worth it.
Marché Saint-Germain is a slightly more upscale part of the 6th arrondissement and one of the Paris neighborhoods known for a wonderfully traditional restaurant scene. On warm Paris evenings crowds spill from the restaurants onto the streets around Rue Guisard, Rue Mabillon, and Rue Lobineau. If you enjoy a little literary inspiration with your dinner, try the Boulevard du Montparnasse
(6th arr.) where Ernest Hemingway, F Scott Fitzgerald, and Gertrude Stein once ate in the many cafés and restaurants. Creperies are traditional in the area, but prices have risen since those impoverished writers dined here.
The area around the Louvre (1st arr.) has many restaurants catering to local workers and the tourist market. Prices can be higher than elsewhere and quality mixed but many of the museums themselves have decent restaurants with reasonable prices. Nearby Les Halles
is probably a better option. This is the former food market of Paris and is still one of the best Paris neighborhoods for restaurants, with a good variety of both traditional and modern eateries. Rue Montorgeuil just to the north is home to some of the best.
(3rd-4th arr.) is one of the liveliest Paris neighborhoods, and it's a wonderful place for people watching and eating. There are lots of traditional Parisian cafés, but also many great falafel stands on the Rue des Rosiers. The Marché des Enfants Rouges, meanwhile, is the oldest covered market in the city and has a good variety of casual dining restaurants. The department stores of the Grands Boulevards/Opera area (9th arr.) have some very good restaurants, while the famous Parisian Covered Passages also have some fine cafes.
The busy streets of Montmartre
(18th arr.) are thronged with tourists and also lined with restaurants. The heart of the area is the Place du Tertre
, which is almost completely encircled by cafés and restaurants, catering mostly to visitors. You'll find everything from snacks and drinks to more formal meals, but as a general rule, menus tend to get more authentic and interesting as you move down the hill.
As you can see, there are good restaurants all across Paris, but here is another useful tip. Look out for restaurants in those Paris neighborhoods with permanent food markets. Restaurants here are able to access some of the freshest and best produce in the city and use these excellent ingredients to create some memorable dishes. Some of the best markets are on Rue Montorgueil (2nd arr.) Rue Mouffetard (5th arr.) and Rue Cler (7th arr.). These streets are also great for food shopping, allowing you to take home some delicious French specialties.