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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.


Your views about France

8 Feb

It’s over to you…What do you like/dislike about France?

“I like the food in France, the countryside, the Alps, the southern beaches, the coffee, the ice cream, the wine. I dislike the roads, especially how you have to give way to people turning out!” Sophie Askew.

“I love the sarcastic/cynical sense of humour, and the fact that generally we bitch about everything but in a light way not in an annoying grumpy way, but dislike the utter arrogance of certain groups in France, and the very rigid elite education system where only the name of your school matters.” Claire Marx.

bottle of french red wine

Quality French wine comes top of the league

“Dislike: dog poo. Like: Their general ‘je m’en fous’ attitude. Nicola Hebden.

“I like the food…the duck stuff (aka confit de canard.) Wandering through Paris is very nice, especially when it was sunny on the Champs Elysees. Can’t think of any dislikes…” Will Miles.

“The food and wine being amazing, living on bread and cheese/wine being acceptable. I guess people can be a bit off/rude? Paris also feels very exclusive, it’s easy to feel like an uncool tourist.” Lucy Thackray.

“I love the food, the beauty of the cities and countryside, the language, the dress sense, the amazing culture… I dislike the elitist education system, the fact that the arts are undervalued career-wise, the unfriendliness/rudeness (especially when it comes to customer service/bureaucracy), the closed-minded mentality and snobbishness of some people.” Emilie Jarrett.

“I’ve only been once but loved skiing in Chamonix!” Robbie Lesbriel.

“I think the place the food takes in france’s traditions is really important. The way it frames the day and makes wine drinking a civil thing… Also the cafe culture instead of pubs avoids the binge drinking problem we have in the UK!” Margot Jourdan.

“The timelesness of it and the pride in tradition and culture…but mostly the FOOD.” Harri Davies.

sign banning dog poo

Dog poo is one of people's pet peeves in Paris

“I LOVE the food. The fact you can get good wine at a cheap price. The cafe culture, and all the lovely gardens (but maybe that’s more Paris). The art collections too. On the downside, thesnobisme, the strikes, the french shrug and those godawful puffa jackets.” Lucy Smail.

“Likes: pain au chocolat, cheese and wine. Dislikes: the prominence of mullets (in the North of France anyway) and denim + denim combos.” Andy McNicoll.

“Pommes frites and mayonnaise! And of course the French accents.” Rebecca Prescott.

“Hate: the dog poo everywhere, the tramps in the south, the greves and politicised students and rude Parisiens. Love: the food, the importance of family, Sancerre, the language (that’s my favourite), the trains that are like Harry Potter and the TGV and the wine.” Hollie Bond.

Feel free to add more!

Paris in winter

3 Jan

A day out in Paris: an art exhibition, exploring the Christmas market, great food and strange fashion.

What to do

The exhibition du moment is Claude Monet at the Grand Palais. Over 200 of Monet’s best paintings have been reunited in this special showcase, including some of his best loved works such as “Les Coquelicots.”

Monet: "Les Coquelicots"

Claude Monet, "Les Coquelicots, Environs d'Argenteuil"

People waited in line outside for hours, yet once inside the rooms were so full you had to queue to see each painting. Impatient art lovers forget their manners and there was much pushing, sneaky queuing and swearing in true French fashion. And that was just me. Read The Telegraph’s review to see what you’re missing. The exhibition ends 24 January.

The Christmas market at the end of the Champs Elysees is well worth a browse. Selling everything from furry hats to watches, rich tourists left laden with gifts. The best part is no doubt the food; from sweet treats to cheeses and sausages, the air is thick with tempting smells. There is even a special ice sculpture exhibit and fairground slides for little ones. It certainly puts Cardiff’s measly craft and food stalls to shame. Unfortunately, it is very popular with tourists, and the crowds can be off-putting.

Eating out

You can’t get much more French than Le Relais de l’Entrecote.

le relais de l'entrecote

Le relais de l'Entrecote's only dish: steak frites

The famous bistrot had tourists waiting in line outside until the doors opened at 7pm. Alarmingly, there is no menu. Ushered to your seats like children in a school canteen, you are served a small and flimsy salad for starters. But then comes the main course; juicy steak and homemade frites allumettes with a rich basil sauce. As soon as your last mouthful is finished, the brisk and no-nonsense waitresses dump a second portion on your plates, despite any protests you may have. Even with a dessert and a coffee, you’re out within the hour and the second seating begins. The efficient service and excellent food have earned the restaurant its top reputation much like the famous Chartier. I defy you to find a more French menu anywhere. For very reasonable prices, these eateries pride themselves on giving tourists and locals alike a classic taste of France.


Doudounes uniqlo

Doudounes from Uniqlo; invading Paris

Doudounes appear to be the height of cool. I have been informed by a current lyceen that owning one, especially an expensive one, gives you cool status in school. About eight years ago, we banished them to the backs of our wardrobes after years of wearing unflattering knee-length ones which made us look like Michelin men.

Michelin man

The Michelin Man look is back, apparently

Now they are back and invading Paris. In all colours and price ranges – because, yes, there are designer doudounes de luxe which cost hundreds if not thousands of euros – they are sported by people of all ages and backgrounds. You cannot walk down the street without being assaulted by an army of doudounes… it’s enough to contemplate buying one, except I know I’d look like a prize wally upon returning to the UK.