Paris is the city of romance, but who says our stomachs can’t fall in love along with our hearts? Mine definitely did when my friend and I made the most of some of the best restaurants for breakfast, lunch and dinner in Paris. Here’s what your taste buds shouldn’t miss.
We stumbled on this place after a morning trip to Notre Dame, but on finding it I knew I’d heard about their penis-shaped offerings before. This Marais boulangerie and pâtisserie, which is run by two brothers, offers much more than phallic brioche’s and baguettes, however. The pear-tart was the perfect, sweet breakfast and the fluffy, buttery croissants were some of the best I’ve ever had. If you want a picnic lunch, pick up some baguettes from here to go – the bread is so fresh and the salmon and arugula filling is particularly yummy.
Legay Choc: 5 Rue Sainte-Croix de la Bretonnerie, 75004 Paris
La Chambre aux Oiseaux
We had to book this spot ahead of time, before even arriving in Paris in fact, because La Chambre aux Oiseaux is one of the city’s hottest brunch spots on Sundays. Lines can often snake out onto the Canal Saint-Martin. Once inside it feels a lot like sitting in your gran’s house, with its shabby-chic charms, crazy floral wallpaper and huge comfy chairs. My Belle Salade was delicious and fresh, service was smiley and the music was funky but not invasive. The American-style coffee was a bonus – it’s surprisingly hard to find in Paris.
La Chambre aux Oiseaux: 48 Rue Bichat, 75010 Paris
Le Drapeau de la Fidélité
This is one of my favorite little art and book covered bistros. It’s so small and so well hidden it might have been easily missed if it weren’t for clear instructions on how to find it. Thanks no doubt to having a former Vietnamese philosophy professor at the helm, the Vietnamese food was great value and delicious with the Bobun, the beef bourguignon and the Porc au Caramel all being out of this world. We also loved the French pop songs that form the soundtrack to any time spent in the toilet.
Le Drapeau de la Fidelite: 1 Rue Copreaux, 75015 Paris
Le café des chats
We were beyond excited to visit Paris’s first cat café. As soon as the place opened, at least five cats sauntered over to greet us and one sat in my friend’s lap while we nibbled on some amazing chocolate cake (brunch is also available). Others say they’ve been here when the cats have all been snoozing so I guess we got lucky. There are two levels here – the upstairs one is nicer. The downstairs basement is a bit dark and soulless, but hey, when a cat comes to play it’s worth it.
Le Cafe des chats: 9 Rue Sedaine, 75011 Paris
Le Refuge des Fondus
What’s not to love about an intimate hole-in-the-wall that serves up oozing, cheesy fondue for a price that’s right? Once we’d climbed over the table to take our seats on the bench in this tiny place (yes, really) we were given the choice of either Fondue Savoyarde (cheese and wine) or Fondue Bourguignonne (meat). Then came the conversation starter – the wine that was served in baby bottles! Suck it and try not to laugh, I dare you.
Le Refuge des Fondus: 17 Rue des Trois Frères, 75018 Paris
Le Wagon Bleu
I felt like I was travelling without actually going anywhere when we went for dinner in what’s essentially a carriage from the Orient Express. Even the luggage racks are still intact and impeccable. I kind of wished I’d dressed in my 1920s best to match the royal blue chairs, but I suppose I’ll know next time. The food and wine has a Corsican bias; the steak frites were delicious, as were the burgers, and the cheese plate was to die for, but save Le Wagon Bleu for a special occasion or for your last dinner in Paris because it’s pricy. Going more than once will render you needing to commit a train robbery.
Le Wagon Bleu: 7 Rue Boursault, 75017 Paris