If you’re moving to Paris, securing employment and somewhere to live and will no doubt be your priority as you begin your new life in Europe’s most romantic city.
As you settle into your new life as a Parisian, however, it’s important to take time out to explore what your new home has to offer - the history, the culture and, most importantly, the drinking and dining scene, which boasts some of the best-known restaurants and bars in the world.
From Michelin starred fine dining to spicy Asian fusion, there’s something for everyone – and every budget. What’s more, the décor and rich history of the city’s eateries often rivals the food itself, with splendid surroundings that will delight your eyes as well as your stomach.
From thousands of eateries and watering holes, we’ve compiled a list of ten not-to-be-missed bars and restaurants in Paris. Some are sophisticated and traditional, others hip and quirky. All are well worth a visit when spending some time in the world’s most romantic capital city.
Beefbar’s stylish and historic interior décor must be seen to be believed, the jewel in the crown being a stunning art nouveau stained glass ceiling that dates to 1898.
Both the menu and atmosphere of this meat lover’s paradise are relaxed and informal, with an eclectic choice of dishes from around the world on offer, including Mexican tacos, Spanish hams and Japanese beef gyozas. You’ll also find French staples like juicy filet mignon and mouth-watering chateaubriand on the menu too.
We recommend making a reservation well in advance so that you can ask to be seated directly beneath the stained-glass ceiling.
Joia offers down-to-earth French peasant food in a warm, homely atmosphere reminiscent of a country chateau. Michelin starred head chef Helene Darroze’s has shunned fine-dining to create a simple, rustic menu filled with diet-busting French favourites.
Joia has a wonderful air of theatricality, with waiting staff in ultra-casual clothing, buckling under the weight of huge vats of garlic and butter roasted chicken or Angus beef, served with crunchy whole carrots, just like Grandma used to make.
Sit elbow to elbow with your neighbour around rustic wooden tables or relax in the more sophisticated top-floor space, filled with cosy velvet couches and backlit bookcases, all cosying up to a roaring fire.
Girafe combines a modern seafood menu with a beautiful art deco interior and a ravishing roof terrace that’s open all year round. Tucked away in the left wing of the Trocadero, which arches around the Eiffel Tower, a reservation at Girafe will allow you to drink in some truly stunning views of the city as you enjoy your meal– even native Parisians describe them as breath-taking!
The menu at Girafe is crammed with fruits de la mer, from fresh oysters to caviar, urchins to lobster and a wide variety of whole fish. Meat lovers aren’t left out in the cold, with farm raised tenderloin beef and chicken also on offer.
Now boarding for a delicious journey! Ducasse Sur Seine is a riverboat restaurant that will take you for a lunch or dinner cruise on the river Seine. Enjoy a stunning menu created and cooked by Executive Chef Francis Fauvel as you take in the stunning sights and sounds of Paris by water.
The concept is the brainchild of Alain Ducasse, who holds no less than 20 Michelin Stars for his 30 restaurants across three continents. Ducasse Sur Seine is the jewel in his culinary crown, serving traditional French fayre like roast chicken and lobster in a truly unique setting.
If you’re looking for a departure from traditional French cuisine while visiting Paris, Dragons Elysees combines a fusion of vibrant Chinese and Thai dishes with a unique dining experience, a full glass floor beneath which swims a range of amazing sea-life!
Amidst this magical décor, the food is unashamedly vibrant and consistently delicious – so enduringly good, in fact, that many of the restaurant’s clientele have been returning for years.
Dragons Elysees combines traditional Asian favourites with affordable prices, making it a popular choice that’s packed to the rafters during high season.
Bisou is a stylish cocktail bar with a twist – there’s no menu. Simply discuss your favourite spirits and flavours with the bartender and he or she will mix you a delicious bespoke cocktail based on your preferences. Service doesn’t get more personal than this!
Bisou is small and intimate, making it perfect for a first date or catch up with close friend but not an ideal destination if you’re part of a large group.
Famous for being liberated from the Nazis by literary giant Ernest Hemingway, this charming Paris staple retains much of its old-world charm despite a recent multi-million-dollar facelift.
Pay Bar Hemingway a visit, in its exclusive setting at the world famous Ritz restaurant, and you may even be lucky enough to be served by legendary head barman Colin Field, whose incredible creations include twists on classics like the Clean Dirty Martini, served with a frozen cube of olive juice or the Ritz Pimm’s, filled with a multitude of secret and scintillating ingredients.
Hidden behind what looks like a row of working washing machines and tumble dryers, this quirky bar is one of Paris’ best kept secrets.
Lavomatic is an ultra-modern space, with bright neon lights and hilarious brillo pad poufs to sit on as you sip an array of eclectic cocktail mashups – some based on current events, like the blue slushy offering made in honour of a new Star Wars film release. More cautious customers will be pleased to hear that that a traditional drinks menu is also available at this theatrical and playful drinking establishment.
Just around the corner from Septime, one of Paris’ most revered contemporary restaurants, you’ll find Septime La Cave – a hip younger sibling filled with millennial wine buffs sipping France’s finest grape-based tipples. Each day, La Cave offers 10 rotating choices, served by the glass, favouring small, lesser known producers, biodynamics and the finest natural wines from around Europe. If you’re not sure where to start, allow the seasoned sommeliers to point you in the right direction – usually to something unusual and utterly delicious.
As strange as it may seem, one of Paris’ most beloved wine bars was created by an Englishman, Mark Williamson, who opened Willi’s Wine Bar back in1980. Since then, the bar has been a must visit for wine lovers visiting France’s capital. The stunning 1930s décor is crowned by a sweeping original oak bar. At Willi’s you’ll find new wines sitting comfortably on the menu next to a range of old favourites, combined with friendly service and a relaxed, jovial atmosphere. The bar menu, designed to complement the range of wines on offer, is pretty good too!
Though our list is by no means exhaustive, it’s a great start when attempting to discover the culinary delights that France’s glittering capital city has to offer.
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