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Welcome to the #CroissantChronicles! I’ve made it my mission to taste every (good) croissant in Paris, and discover my favorite. (Currently, it’s a croissant from Tartine in San Francisco, CA. It changed my croissant life.) But, a girl can’t live on croissants alone, so when I (and probably, you) need a break, pastry and tea adventures are also filed under here. So, if you’re looking for where to eat in Paris, I hope this brings you joy and inspires your next Parisian pastry escapade!
Where to Eat in Paris
Bouillon Julien — 16 rue Faubourg Saint-Denis 75010; Metro 4, 8, 9; Strasbourg Saint-Denis
The New York Times published a listicle about the affordable dining renaissance in Paris, and this spot did not disappoint. It’s true, three courses, plus wine, for around 20€ and no more than 25€. Traditional French fare in an Art-Deco dining room — a grand experience at petits prix!
Bouillon Pigalle — 22 Boulevard de Clichy 75018; Metro 2, 12; Pigalle
If you asked me my number one spot on where to eat in Paris, this is it. Just like Bouillon Julien, Bouillon Pigalle serves the classics, but in a contemporary dining room right across from the metro.
Breizh Café — Odéon (Metro 4, 10; Odéon); Le Marais (Metro 8, Saint Sébastien Froissart); Montorgeuil (Metro 3, Sentier)
The galettes here are good, and the menu (three courses) is reasonable. Cider included. My favorite was dessert — a buckwheat ice cream that stole the show.
Café du Coin — 9 rue Camille Desmoulins 75011; Metro 9, Voltaire
The lunch menu is set (you can pick from a few dishes) at 20€ for a three-course meal. It changes all the time and is quite popular.
Colorova — rue de l’Abbé Grégoire 75006; Metro 12, Rennes
Fun brunch spot (there’s a fixed brunch menu) with hot chocolate that’s gloriously thick and a pastry case filled with the most dainty tartlets.
La Crème de Paris — 4 rue du Faubourg Montmartre 75009, Metro 8,9; Grand Boulevards
This café is hopping at night, and doesn’t close until 2 a.m. If you’re wondering where to eat in Paris for a midnight snack, this your spot. There is a large selection of crêpes and galettes (crêpes made with buckwheat flour), as well as ice creams. The prices are reasonable and most items are 10€ or less. The interior is pink and retro and the perfect spot for a midnight munch.
L’Échoppe de Paris —16 rue Leon Frot 75011, Metro 9; Rue des Boulets/Charonne
One word: FRITES!! I have a passion for french fries, and this places does them darn good. Crispy, burning hot, delicious. And, they have a boeuf bourguignon BURGER and that was amazing. The staff are also very kind…we got an extra chocolate mousse for free because it was the last one in stock!
Le Procope — 13 rue de l’Ancienne Comédie 75006, Metro 10, 4; Odéon
Reputed to be the oldest café in Paris, Le Procope has hosted its share of history’s famous, from Volatire to Diderot. It’s not cheap, but it’s an experience.
OberMama — 107 Boulevard Richard-Lenoir 75011; Metro 5, 9; Oberkampf / 3; Parmentier / 8; Filles du Calvaire
Like, yikes and oh-my, bring-a-friend sort of food. Hefty, hearty, generous plates of Italian food. I loved the bruschetta with figs, carbonara, truffle pasta (the most popular thing, it seemed, as our eyes roved around the dining room), tiramisu. Plus the most elegant bar.
Paper Boy — 137 rue Amelot 75011; Metro 5, 9; Oberkampf / 8; Filles du Calvaire / 3, 5, 8, 9, 11; République
Very unassuming, popular brunch/lunch spot in the 11th. For an American, the 26€ brunch was a little pricey, but the matcha latte was superb and so was the salmon tataki on two slices of fluffy toasted brioche. And there was avocado. Lots of avocado. We left full and satisfied, strolling back to Le Marais for a jaunt through Repetto.
Pho 13 — 66 avenue d’Ivry 75013
My Vietnamese friend said this is her favorite place, and I’ve gone several times. 10€ for a giant bowl of noodle soup? Yes, please!
Treize au Jardin — 5 rue des Médicis 75006; Metro 4, 5; Odéon
Brunch, lunch, and boozy tea time happen at Baker’s Dozen. Don’t miss the dessert bar, either, with the generous three-layer carrot cake.
Best Cafés in Paris
Café Bienvenue —4 rue du Bourg l’Abbé 75003, Metro 4; Étienne Marcel / 3, 11; Arts et Métiers / 11; Rambuteau
A cozy space with good vegetarian options. They also have the amazing goal of providing refugees with job skills to help them integrate into France!
Café Lomi — 3 ter rue Marcadet 75018, Metro 4, 12; Marcadet-Poissoniers / 12; Marx Dormoy
According to coffee fanatics (I am not a big fan), Lomi is superb. What I come for (and it’s quite good, as Lomi is deep in the 18th and I would come back) is the pain perdu. I have never had such a ginormous, fluffy, beautiful french toast. With figs and cream? Double yes please.
Café Loustic — 40 rue Chapon 75003, Metro 3, 11; Arts et Métiers
Another reputable coffee shop that also does a good chai. Their tea cakes and other treats are excellent accompaniments. I found the chocolate bouchon quite good and not too dry (rather pleasantly chewy); while my friend took an almond tea cake, if I remember correctly, with an elegant drizzle of glaze and dried flower.
Caféotheque — 52 rue de l’Hôtel de Ville 75004; Metro 1; Saint Paul / Metro 7; Pont Marie
Where to eat in Paris, coffee shop edition. This is the real deal, and one of the original coffee shops (as Americans know it) in the city. A delightful coffeeshop in the truest sense of the word: Here, they roast their own beans and run a coffee school! There is a small selection of savouries and sweets to go with the drinks, and the staff are incredibly kind. We made friends with Fréderique!
Floréal Belleville — 43 rue des Couronnes 75020; Metro 2; Couronnes
A cute café that backs right into the Parc de Belleville (which has stellar views, I might add), the teal facade is inviting. The drinks are ok, but the ambience alone is worth a pop inside! A little bit of a ’70s vibe, lots of light and cozy space. It also doubles as a community art gallery!
La Fontaine de Belleville — 31-33 rue Juliette Dodu, 75010, Metro 5, Colonel Fabien
Reputed to be one of the best spots for coffee in the city; they also make fun drinks and an array of nibbles in a fun setting with weekly Jazz nights. Go for brunch and get a cheesy croque-monsieur, before walking it all off on the Canal.
Best Pastries in Paris, Plus Ice Cream, Bread, and More
Aux Merveilleux de Fred — 75007 (Metro 8, École Militaire); 75005 (Metro 10, Maubert-Mutualité); 75004 (Metro 1, Saint Paul); 75012 (Metro 8, Lédru Rollin)
This shop specialises in just two pastries: the merveilleux, a delicate cake made of meringue and whipped cream; and the cramique, an impossibly soft brioche studded with sugar pearls, chocolate, or raisins. Both are excellent.
Berthillon — 29-31 rue Saint Louis en Île 75004; Metro 7, Pont Marie
This is the Parisian ice cream. While you can find them sold in cafés across Paris, it’s worth it to check out the original spot. Grab a cone or sit down in the café for the afternoon.
Boneshaker Doughnuts — 77 rue d’Aboukir 75002, Metro 3, Sentier
Fluffy, fat doughnuts with delectable flavours that are always rotating. The staples include cinnamon-sugar, original glazed, beer, and chocolate stout.
Café Kitsune — Palais Royal 75001; Metro 1, 7; Palais-Royal/Musée du Louvre
If you are wandering the gardens at the Palais Royal and have a hankering for a snack, you can duck into this lilliputian coffee shop for tea/coffee/pastries. Not the best I’ve ever had for the price, but if you’re a fashion fan of Maison Kitsune, this is their shop!
Carette — Place des Vosges (75003, Metro 8, Chemin Vert); Place du Trocadéro (75016, Metro 9, 6; Trocadéro)
Elegant tea salon at Places des Vosges in the 3rd and Trocadéro in the 16th. A glorious pastry case and hot chocolate that’s good and creamy. They also do a variety of brunch/lunch items. Everything’s served on darling China with blue accents.
Circus — 63 rue Galande 75005, Metro 10, Cluny la Sorbonne
They’re famous for their cinnamon bun — light, chewy, and glistening with butter. This American gal did not like the lack of icing and sugar in general, but does recommend it, once!
Grom — Le Marais (75004, Metro 1, Saint Paul); Latin Quarter (75005, RER B Luxembourg; Metro 10 Cluny la Sorbonne); Saint Germain (75006, Metro 10, Mabillon).
Gelato chain with reasonable prices, good texture (I don’t like French ice cream much as it is often icy), and spot-on flavours (mango and coconut are good).
Hugo & Victor — 40 Boulevard Raspail, 75007, Metro 10, 12; Sèvres-Babylone
A wide variety of pastries and a solid croissant. Try the little fruit tarts!
Le Nemours — Place Colette 75001; Metro 1, 7; Palais-Royal/Musée du Louvre
If you take exit 5 out of the metro, you can’t miss this quintessential Parisian café with its chairs and umbrellas spilling out onto the sidewalk. A good place to people watch, sip some tea, a nibble a croissant in the mornings. When friends ask you where to eat in Paris, this iconic spot must be on your list.
Le Petit Grain — 7 rue Denoyez 75020 ; Metro 2, 11, Belleville
Since I’m on the hunt for the best croissant, I had to stop here after David Lebovitz raved about this bakery. My personal opinion: not the best croissant, but definitely an interesting one. If you’re in the neighbourhood (and Belleville has much to offer), this is a nice place to pop in for a snack. The croissant dough is fermented, giving it a little tang. It’s nice and crispy on the outside, but the inside was a little too dry for me. There is a delightful pastry case featuring other sweet and savoury bites (I like the little onion tart that reminds me of an everything bagel, and I’ve got my eye on the plump cinnamon bun next!)
Lily of the Valley — 12 rue Dupetit-Thouars 75003; Metro 3, Temple
Where to eat in Paris…teatime edition. Cute tea salon with hardly enough seating for all the tea cups. Very floral, as the name suggests, offering a wide selection of teas in mismatched china and a small spread of cakes to accompany. (The matcha-raspberry cake was surprisingly good.)
Odette — 77 rue Galande 75005 Metro 4/RER B/C, Saint Michel – Notre Dame
A tea salon with the most charming facade, specialising in cream puffs (chou à la crème), which are quite good. Skip the hot chocolate, it looks watery.
Une Glace à Paris — 15 rue saint Croix de la Bretonnerie 75004 [ Metro 1, 11; Hôtel de Ville] / 44 rue des Abbesses 75018 [Metro 2; Blanche / 12; Abbesses]
Quite possibly the best ice cream in Paris (making Berthillon the runner-up). I’ve found French ice cream to be generally very icy and airy, which I do not like. Une Glace à Paris serves the thick, creamy stuff of my dreams. Plus, the proprietor earned the distinction of Meilleur Ouvrier de France — best craftsman of France for ice cream. This prize is the real deal…if the jury decides none of the candidats are worthy, nothing is awarded!