6 of the best Paris food destinations
Trish Deseine shares her favourite gastronomic haunts
1. Au Bistro
This is in such an appealing street. I love that, just a few steps from worldwide style mecca Colette, you can find a butcher, a fruit seller and a few great little wine bars where local office workers are still the most faithful clientele. Au Bistro is similarly unsophisticated, with a rather strange, high banquette you have to climb into and tables which squash you into your neighbour’s plate. Not a place to come with gossip or secrets. The food is hearty and very reasonable, given its location. It’s a good place for French standards of snails, foie gras, oeufs meurette and steak frites. The service is brisk yet friendly enough, and it’s OK to knot your napkin around your neck if you’re worried things might get a little messy.
8, rue du Marché Saint-Honoré • Paris 1er • Tel. +33 (0)1 42 61 02 45
No concept store or designer décor here, just an honest to goodness boulangerie–pâtisserie with the most divine bread and cakes. The madeleines, lightly iced with a sugar coating, are perhaps the best in Paris. The three signature cakes of la maison are: tarte Tatin, melting caramelized apples on a sablé (sweetened shortcrust pastry) base rather than the usual unsweetened shortcrust or puff pastry; the Vollon, a mix of chocolate sabayon on almond dacquoise and praline; and the more exotic Aligre, with pineapple confit and a coconut base flavoured with ginger, vanilla and lemon. Heaven.
7, rue Antoine Vollon • Paris 12e
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Tel. +33 (0)1 43 40 77 73 • www.blesucre.fr
3. Fromagerie Quatrehomme
My local cheese store for over a year when living in the sedate 7th, this, more than any pâtisserie, was where my children liked to come for a treat. So, often, we would forgo dessert for a cheese plateau lovingly made up (usually with an old comté or two) with the help of one of the sellers. In 2000, Marie Quatrehomme was awarded the title of Meilleure Ouvrière de France, the highest distinction for any French artisan.
62, rue de Sèvres • Paris 7e
Tel. +33 (0)1 47 34 33 45
Opened in 1897 for Parisian workers, the egalitarian concept – a bowl of soup for €1 – remains unchanged, apart from a larger menu of simple French classics and a clientele more likely to consist of tourists and back-packers. But Chartier swallows them up and feeds them all under its stunning high ceilings. Before, you’ll almost certainly have to queue. Afterwards, your bill will be scribbled on the paper tablecloth by your brisk and elegantly clad waiter. It’s a good place for groups, especially with unruly children, as, in this noisy cathedral of French cuisine, no one will hear them scream.
7, rue du Faubourg Montmartre • Paris 9e
Tel. +33 (0)1 47 70 86 29
5. Marché d’Aligre
Perhaps the trendiest market in Paris, it is nonetheless one of the most thriving and authentic. Film and music industry people mix with locals and families, meaning the market escapes the rather rarefied feel you can get at, say, Raspail or Alma. Open every day except Mondays, the true gastro-chic products (especially charcuterie and oils) are to be found inside the pretty covered Marché Beauvau, while the usual fruit and veg sellers line the rue d’Aligre in front. After the market, the numerous cafés and bistros around (notably the famous wine bar Baron Rouge, with its barrels on the pavement) mean that you can easily spend most of your day here, buying, eating and talking about food.
From Tuesday to Sunday • Place d’Aligre • Paris 12e
6. Marché des Enfants Rouges
Definitely the cutest and most charming Parisian market, it’s also the oldest covered market in the city, created from an ex-orphanage (the name comes from the red uniforms the children used to wear). You feel as though you’re entering a little village as you wander past not only food stalls but also snack bars, cafés and bistros, slowing you down deliciously. L’Estaminet des Enfants Rouges is the best-known bistro, but you can also grab a crêpe or a good old jambon beurre at more humble establishments. And for when you want to take home but not necessarily cook at all, there’s a great choice of traiteurs, including Lebanese, Italian and Japanese.
From Tuesday to Sunday • 39, Rue de Bretagne • Paris 3
Trish’s book The Paris Gourmet is out now (Flammarion, £22.50)