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Where to eat in Paris

19 Mar

You’ve booked your trip to Paris and got your sightseeing plan all mapped out. Eiffel tower, check. Louvre, check. But as evening falls, you wonder – where should I eat?

The city boasts thousands of restaurants so choosing a good one can be a tricky task. Websites and Paris guides present a ‘definitive’ list of which restaurants you should be eating in, such as the Guardian’s one here.

However, they usually won’t have tried and tested them and the prices are out of the average person’s range.

So here’s my selection of some of my favourite restaurants you won’t find in the guide books. They may not be Michelin starred or incredibly quirky, but they do fit my key criteria of being very tasty and very reasonable.

Mediterranean cuisine
Le 7eme Sud
159 rue de Grenelle 75007, metro: Ecole Militaire

7eme sud restaurnt

7eme Sud: Mediterranean treats

This has long been my favourite restaurant in Paris and is responsible for introducing me to the joys of spicy pasta as a child. My current addiction is fuelled by the need to recreate their exact arrabiata dish.

Tagines, greek salads and pasta dishes; the menu features the best of Mediterranean cuisine and has something for everyone. I’ve sampled many of their mains over the years and keep coming back for more. The tiramisu is also to die for.

The cosy decor and relaxed atmosphere make it the perfect place to spend an evening catching up over a glass of wine.

Asian cuisine
Baan Thai
15 Rue de la Ferronnerie 75001, metro: Chatelet

spring rolls

Unlimited spring rolls - nom nom

I only recently discovered this restaurant and was very pleasantly surprised. You can’t go wrong with their traditional and delicious all-you-can-eat buffet for 20 euros.

The food is excellent; a choice of seven different mains and all the spring rolls and soup you can possibly digest. Heaven. I sampled everything, topping it off with a banana cake fresh from the oven – before rolling home.

Plus, it’s reportedly the tastiest Thai eatery in Paris according to my Thai friend.

French cuisine
Le Petit Lyon
24 rue Vintimille 75009, metro: Blanche

confit de canard

Classic confit de canard

Good French food is almost guaranteed in Paris. But Le Petit Lyon has made it onto my list because of how authentic the bistrot is.

With a menu featuring pigs trotters, tripe and snails, this is the place for those seeking a true taste of France. Or if the thought makes you feel queasy, they also make a succulent steak au poivre with home cut chips or a confit de canard with herby potatoes. The chips and pepper sauce were so good, I physically licked my plate clean.

Tucked away in a quiet street in the Pigalle area, it’s surprisingly a tourist-free zone. The checkered table cloths and old men philosophising over a galleon of wine in the corner will make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time.

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Off the beaten track: the Canal Saint Martin

31 Oct Canal Saint Martin

Take a trip along the old Canal Saint Martin in one of Paris’s up-and-coming areas.

For most Brits, visiting Paris is seen as a chance to hop from one iconic landmark to the next, taking a photo in each location. Yes, you actually were standing under the Eiffel tower – congrats. Many people don’t think outside of the traditional tourist route and remain unaware of the opportunities that lie in less traditionally beautiful or popular areas.

The canal runs from the bassin de la Villette to the bassin de l’Arsenal, through the 10th and 11th arrondissements. Here’s the bad news: it’s a relatively dilapidated area, the water is a strange murky green and refugees sleep on its banks at night. Yet it’s also a really interesting walk alongside one of Paris’s lesser known historic monuments.

The 4.5 km (that’s 2.8 miles) stroll along the canal is extremely manageable by foot or by bike… take this from an exercise-phobe. Watching barges and tourist boats navigate the series of quaint locks is a highlight.

Napoleon originally created the canal in 1802 to provide Parisians with drinkable water. Please don’t try and drink the water today though. The scenic route offers a great little selection of upcoming bars and restaurants to quench your thirst, as well as quirky shops as you journey from Republique metro station towards la Villette.

La Villette in itself is worth a visit. This up-and-coming area is now a nautical experience in its own right with sailing and kayaking lessons on offer. The canal has been fantastically renovated in this part, and as it widens out you can stop off for a picnic on its edges or watch the alternative cinema’s latest offerings. The open spaces and bustling atmosphere here mark an interesting contrast with the previous more  intimate and leafy surroundings. Enjoy!