101 things to do in Paris: restaurants, cafés and bars
Find the best of Paris with our ultimate list of things to do in the capital
Scroll through the list below for our expert tips on the best restaurants, cafés and bars in Paris. Gourmet bakeries, afternoon teas, global delicacies and classic cocktails – Paris has the world on a plate... Think we've missed a great restaurant, café or bar in Paris? Let us know and leave a comment in the box below.
Unique places to eat and drink in Paris
When the Marché d’Aligre packs up for the day, well-stocked wine bar Baron Rouge is where folks go for a post-shopping tipple and an aperitif of saucisson or oysters. Arrive early and you might just get one of the few tables by the zinc bar: alternatively, follow the crowds and stand at one of the Baron Rouge’s quirky counters, made from old crates and barrels, outside on the narrow pavement.
- 1 rue Théophile Roussel, 12e, Paris, France
Dress in your finest every first Saturday of the month and head to Le Bristol for an afternoon tea with a difference. Taking advantage of its prize location on Rue du Faubourg St-Honoré, the palace hotel invites its haute-couture neighbours (think Céline, Yves Saint Laurent and Givenchy) to strut their designer collections in the hotel bar, while you tuck into the Bristol’s delectable tea and cakes (the whole affair costs €50). The pastry chef even concocts a special gâteau for the occasion, inspired by the designer on show.
- 112 rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré, 8e, Paris, France
Paris has been slow to host the type of venues that are so fashionable in New York – ‘mixology’ bars that re-invent cocktails with strange spirits, fresh fruit juices and subtle spices – but thanks to the Experimental folk we now have things like the Tommy’s Margarita Especial, an insane 100% agave tequila Arette mix with lime juice and organic agave honey, infused with Bourbon vanilla and cloves. Or perhaps the Bee’s Kiss, a balance between the Jamaican rum Appleton VX, cream, organic floral honey and crushed Indonesian pepper.
- 37 rue Saint-Sauveur, 2e
Don't let anyone tell you Paris doesn't cater for vegetarian and vegan diets – if you know where to look, delicious wholesome goodness is easily available. The trend for gluten-free is kicking off as well, relief for allergy sufferers and fans of wheatless cooking. Our selection of excellent restaurants, cafés and bakeries offer everything from gluten-free brunches to vegan cupcakes – get stuck in!
A tranquil boozy and literary escape from the frenetically trendy streets of the Marais, La Belle Hortense's walls are lined with bottles and books, including new releases, rare volumes, independent poetry and classic collections. The wine list is enormous – quite pricy by the glass but much better value by the bottle or carafe. The excellent menu is provided by the kitchen over the road at La Chaise au Plafond (the owner, Xavier Denamur, is the same; he also has L’Etoile Manquante, Au Petit Fer à Cheval and Les Philosophes).
- 31 Rue Vieille du Temple, 4e
This historical market takes its name from the 16th-century orphanage that used to occupy the site; the red of the children’s clothes indicated that they had been donated by Christian charities. Although the orphanage closed before the revolution, the imposing wooden edifice remained, and was reopened as a deluxe food market in 2000 after extensive campaigning from locals. Now something of a touristic hotspot, the market is equipped to fill the emptiest of stomachs with its impressive range of Italian, Lebanese, African, Japanese and other stalls.
- 39 rue de Bretagne, 3e
For an all out gastronomique treat in a dining institution that has fed the likes of Salvador Dali and Romy Schneider, head to Lasserre. It's set in a bistro built for the 1937 World Fair opposite the Grand Palais, and entering feels like you’re stepping into a very posh private home, with lush drapes, thick carpet and shining silverware throughout. Things can get a tad cheesy when the pianist starts to play, but all is forgotten when Lasserre’s nifty roof opens up, giving the impression that you’re eating al fresco.
- 17 avenue Franklin-Roosevelt, 8e, Paris
Go out to stay in, and discover Paris's food scene in unique ways – supper clubs are all the rage. Private locations, surprise menus and home-cooked food at these clubs attract gatherings of perfect strangers, who nonetheless know they have some important things in common – love of food, discovery and making friends. À table!
Au Pied de Cochon is a Parisian institution, whose neon lights haven’t been switched off since 1947: it serves every part of the pig you can think of, around the clock. Favourite haunt of hungry late-night drinkers, there's something fortifying in the old-style brasserie décor as well as the hearty dishes. Here, you push a gilt pig’s foot to get to the toilets, and dunk a pink meringue piglet in your coffee – and eat stuffed trotters, head cassoulet, smoked belly, tail, ear and brawn... hardly a light supper, but a genuine thrill for fans of eating 'nose to tail'.
- 6 rue Coquillière, 1er
Charmingly cheeky cheesemongers Christian and Jean-Daniel are the most unconventional pair of shopkeepers you’re ever likely to meet. They set up their cheese shop to be able to listen to music of their choice all day while selling rounds to customers. The end result is a unique and intriguing business – and it’s doing well. Fromages et Ramage offers cheese in all shapes, sizes and intensities, plus rock music, books and more.
- 22 rue Ramey, 18e
In a former workshop, at the back of a courtyard, off a busy street near Bastille – lies multi-Michelin-starred chef Alain Ducasse's chocolate factory. Tantalising scents fill the air; roasting cocoa beans from top producers around the world. Everything about the chocolaterie returns to the roots of chocolate manufacture, employing ancient techniques and salvaged machinery rather than modern industrial methods. The result is exceptional: pralines, ganaches, truffles and more with exceptional flavours, different from any mass-produced chocolate.
- 40, Rue de la Roquette, 11e
Merci, Paris's concept shopping sensation, is housed in an elaborately reconfigured 19th-century fabric factory. Inside, three loft-like floors heave with furniture, jewellery, stationery, fashion, household products, childrenswear and a haberdashery. Tha adjoining canteen is excellent, but we love the literary café – the second hand books on the shelves are all for sale, profits to charity – it's perfect for a quality refuel and a spot of fancy people-watching.
- 111 boulevard Beaumarchais, 3e
American team Braden Perkins and Laura Adrian started out in Paris running a well-regarded supper club, ‘Hidden Kitchen’, so it's little surprise that Verjus – opened in 2012 after rave reviews paved the way for a full-blown restaurant – hasn’t quite lost its word-of-mouth feel. A discreet corner in an achingly sophisticated neighbourhood, Verjus is much patronised by Brits and Americans, and the light, inventive, precise cooking has achieved recognition across Paris.
- 52 rue de Richelieu, 1e
The coffee here is the result of experience and training, tasting and smelling, investment in hardware and in relationships with producers. The three young entrepreneurs who set up the Brûlerie have travelled the world for the expertise to create a sophisticated Parisian coffee brand – one that can banish Paris's association with industrial coffee providers who demand a 20-year contract with their outlets. On Saturdays, you can book ahead online for an hour-long €20 coffee 'dégustation', which includes a bag of beans to take away.
- 10 rue Pradier, 19e
Some distance removed from the Arabic-speaking inner-city enclaves of Barbès and Belleville, this vast Hispano-Moorish construct is nevertheless the spiritual heart of France's Algerian-dominated Muslim population. La Mosquée café is delightful – a modest courtyard with blue-and-white mosaic-topped tables shaded beneath green foliage and scented with the sweet smell of shisha smoke . Charming waiters distribute thé à la menthe, along with syrupy, nutty North African pastries, sorbets and fruit salads.
- 2 place du Puits de l'Ermite, 5e
The initial buzz created by the opening of Mama Shelter (an audacious design hotel designed by Philippe Starck) has died down, but Mama still draws an über-cool crowd to its bar and restaurants. It's set in a grungy spot north of Père-Lachaise in the 20th, and there is something deliciously surreal about watching its clientele slink around in clothes that wouldn’t look amiss in a Vogue shoot. Come for the show, or be part of it; and check out Mama Shelter’s pizzeria – a great option for a quick bite before a concert at the Flêche d’Or opposite.
- 109 rue de Bagnolet, 20e, Paris, France