101 things to do in Paris: restaurants, cafés and bars
Find the best of Paris with our ultimate list of things to do in the capital
Scroll through the list below for our expert tips on the best restaurants, cafés and bars in Paris. Gourmet bakeries, afternoon teas, global delicacies and classic cocktails – Paris has the world on a plate... Think we've missed a great restaurant, café or bar in Paris? Let us know and leave a comment in the box below.
Unique places to eat and drink in Paris
When the Marché d’Aligre packs up for the day, well-stocked wine bar Baron Rouge is where folks go for a post-shopping tipple and an aperitif of saucisson or oysters. Arrive early and you might just get one of the few tables by the zinc bar: alternatively, follow the crowds and stand at one of the Baron Rouge’s quirky counters, made from old crates and barrels, outside on the narrow pavement.
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- 1 rue Théophile Roussel, 12e, Paris, France
Dress in your finest every first Saturday of the month and head to Le Bristol for an afternoon tea with a difference. Taking advantage of its prize location on rue du Faubourg St-Honoré, the palace hotel invites its haute-couture neighbours (think Céline, Yves Saint Laurent and Givenchy) to strut their designer collections in the hotel bar, while you tuck into the Bristol’s delectable tea cakes (the whole affair costs €50). The pastry chef even concocts a special gâteau for the occasion, inspired by the designer on show.
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- 112 rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré, 8e, Paris, France
Who said art and cocktails don’t mix? Once you’ve overloaded on culture, nothing calms the mind like a mint-laden mojito or a well mixed bloody Mary. Two top spots for a post- museum tipple are Le Saut du Loup on the ground floor of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs and Georges, right on the top of the Centre Pompidou. The former has a wonderful terrace overlooking the Tuileries gardens, while the latter seats you high above Paris’ rooftops.
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Vegetarianism is still an alien concept for many people in Paris. Cue the Potager du Marais: this tiny vegetarian restaurant in the Marais has proven that fruit, vegetables and tofu are more than just a substitute for meat, they’re delicious – even when you’re a veteran carnivore. Get to the Potager early (the tables fill up fast), then tuck into fresh, organic veggie or vegan cuisine, and free your inner Green Giant.
Read more about Le Potager du Marais
- 22 rue Rambuteau, 4e, Paris
Munch your way around the world
Years of immigration have left Paris with a scrumptious array of eateries hawking flavours from around the globe. If you’re hankering after Asian food head to the quartier chinois (Chinatown, in the 13th) between Place d’Italie and Porte d’Ivry, or opt for gourmet Cantonese at Chez Vong or the brand new Shang Palace at the Shangri La. For Japanese cuisine, you won’t go wrong along rue St-Anne (2nd) or at nearby Chez Miki. Gorgeous tagines and couscous await at Moroccan Chez Omar; or go kosher with tasty shawarmas at Chez Hanna in the Marais.
Read more about Chez Vong, Chez Miki and Chez Hanna
For an all out gastronomique treat in a dining institution that has fed the likes of Salvador Dali and Romy Schneider, head to Lasserre. It's set in a bistro built for the 1937 World Fair opposite the Grand Palais, and entering feels like you’re stepping into a very posh private home, with lush drapes, thick carpet and shining silverware throughout. The refined classicism continues on the plate with fabulous dishes like Dublin Bay prawns in lime and ginger broth; roasted duckling in Rouennaise sauce; and crêpe suzettes flambéd with Grand Marnier in front of your table. Things can get a tad cheesy when the pianist starts to play, but all is forgotten when Lasserre’s nifty roof opens up, giving the impression that you’re eating al fresco.
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- 17 avenue Franklin-Roosevelt, 8e, Paris
Dine on a secret supper
Clandestine dinners in private apartments are all the rage in Paris, where locals, ex-pats and tourists alike are seeking new and exciting dining experiences. Setting the standards are Lunch in the Loft and Hidden Kitchen. Claude, a food savvy artist, is behind Lunch in the Loft, lending a French bohemian edge to the experience; while Hidden Kitchen is run by Paris-loving American foodies. Whichever you choose, an evening of fine dining and wine awaits you in a private Paris flat, with the added excitement of not knowing who your dining partners will be.
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The cliché of bistros with chequered tablecloths lives on, but there aren’t actually many places left in Paris that combine these time-honoured aesthetics with top quality traditional cuisine. Astier, in Oberkampf, is the exception. Eat here and not only can you taste the best of yesteryear (revisited with modern flair by chef Christophe Kestler), you can imagine you’ve stepped back into the Oberkampf of the 50s. Just be prepared to get intimate with your neighbours: as with most Parisian joints, Astier crams in the tables.
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- 44 rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud, 11e, Paris
People-watch in bustling cafés
It is not rude to stare in France - a cultural quirk that can be disconcerting at first, but a godsend when you’re sitting in a café. Good people-watching spots include: Le Fumoir opposite the Louvre, where you get a mix of arty types and business folk; the terrace of Le Petit Fer à Cheval in the Marais; Pause Café near Ledru Rollin, which draws a bohemian-bourgeois crowd; and Les Editeurs at Odéon, with its literary regulars.
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After a night on the tiles nothing fills you up like French onion soup, or juicy steak with greasy fries. But where do you go? Most bistros serve 'til 11pm, but after midnight Paris can be a bit of a culinary desert. We suggest Châtelet-les-Halles, where two restaurants save the soirée: Head to the pig-themed Pied de Cochon, for the aforementioned onion soup or a satisfying steak tartare. Or fight for a table at Le Tambour where your tired eyes can feast on old Paris memorabilia, while you tuck into a pièce du boucher (steak) with all the trimmings.
Read more about Pied de Cochon and Le Tambour
Breakfast in America (BIA)’s breakfast pancakes are fluffy, filling and delicious, especially when smothered in maple syrup. If you're in the mood for savoury, opt instead for a BIA burger (made with onions, peppers, cheddar and BBQ sauce), or an all-day brekkie of ham ‘n’ eggs and Connecticut omelette. Just get there early: it is par for the course to queue up for both BIA branches (in the Marais and Latin Quarter) – especially on a Sunday, when the 15.95€ brunch menu kicks in.
Read more about Breakfast in America
- 17 rue des Ecoles, 5e, Paris
Nurse a trendy Right Bank bière
London has its pubs; Berlin has its Eck Kneipen, and Paris has its cafés – the trendiest of which tend to be located on the Right Bank in the northeast. Choose between vintage-style haunts like Chez Jeanette in Strasbourg St-Denis or Chez Prune on the Canal St-Martin, or sink a 1664 in Café Chéri near Villette or Point Ephemère (a former squat on the canal that has become a permanent multidisciplinary arts fixture on Paris’s cultural scene) at Jaurès.
Read more about Chez Jeannette, Chez Prune, Café Chéri and Point Ephemère
Let the ocean come to you at Antoine, one of Paris’s best seafood restaurants, in a lovely setting opposite the Eiffel Tower. It’s not cheap, but the catch is as fresh as can be, and each product is handpicked by the chef, with a priority given to seafood from France. If you’re not planning on a big splurge, come by at lunchtime for Antoine’s 48€ menu.
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- 10 avenue de New York, 16e, Paris
The initial buzz created by the opening of Mama Shelter (an audacious design hotel designed by Philippe Starck) has died down, but Mama still draws an über-cool crowd to its bar and restaurants. It's set in a grungy spot north of Père-Lachaise in the 20th, and there is something deliciously surreal about watching its clientele slink around in clothes that wouldn’t look amiss in a Vogue shoot. Come for the show, or be part of it; and check out Mama Shelter’s pizzeria – a great option for a quick bite before a concert at the Flêche d’Or opposite.
Read more about Mama Shelter
- 109 rue de Bagnolet, 20e, Paris, France
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