These Paris Restaurants Take You Back In Time

FYI: Paris history can be found outside the museum. Defined by vintage vibes, classic dishes, and old-school cool, these restaurants aren’t bending to meet modern tastes. They have stories to tell and if you listen closely, you’ll find that one of them is the infamous Gusteau’s (okay, not really. But this restaurant was the inspo for the Ratatouille restaurant).


Era: Louis XVI. Found­ed in 1766, first as a wine depot, then a restau­rant in 1866, Lapérouse lauds its his­to­ry of secre­cy, illic­it affairs, and a revolv­ing door of lit­er­ary patrons like Colette, Proust, and Hugo. The set­ting fits the mood: dark wood-pan­eled walls, gild­ed accents, drip­ping chan­de­liers, lush uphol­stery that harkens to its 18th-cen­tu­ry roots, and mir­rors scratched by dia­monds gift­ed to mis­tress­es who were ver­i­fy­ing their authen­tic­i­ty. One is even scratched by Kate Moss and reads, « It’s 2 late 2 go 2 bed ». Yeah.  The food today at Lapérouse is prob­a­bly a lit­tle dif­fer­ent from what Baude­laire, Zola, and count­less mis­tress­es ate, but it is by no means dis­ap­point­ing. Lapérouse offers three-Miche­lin-star gas­tron­o­my that includes dish­es fea­tur­ing caviar, blue lob­ster, and pigeon with the finest sup­port­ing ingre­di­ents. There’s also a pret­ty cool wine cave. 

ADDRESS: 51 Quai des Grands Augustins (6th arr.)

MÉTRO: St.Michel Notre Dame (line 4) or Pont Neuf (line 7)

NEIGHBORHOOD: Berges de Seine


HOW TO BOOK: online


DEETS: clas­sic French, posh, vin­tage, wine cave

INSTAGRAM: @laperouse_paris

Le Procope

Era: The Sun King. Out of the thou­sands of cafés in Paris, only Le Pro­cope car­ries the title, “old­est café in Paris.” Found­ed about halfway through the reign of Louis XIV in 1686, Le Pro­cope has aged well; housed in a three-sto­ry his­tor­i­cal land­mark and decked out with classy red walls, a grand car­pet­ed stair­cas­es, and paint­ed por­traits show­ing a sam­ple of the cafe’s many esteemed patrons over the cen­turies. Le Pro­cope does not look the same as it did dur­ing its incep­tion, but it does offer its sig­na­ture dish, “Veal’s head as it was cooked in 1686,” as well as oth­er French clas­sics like coq à vin, escar­gots, and French onion soup. If it seems a lit­tle pricey for café food, well, they lit­er­al­ly clas­si­fy their cui­sine as “French bour­geoise” and since they lived through all the rev­o­lu­tions, they would know.

ADDRESS: 13 Rue de l’An­ci­enne Comédie (6th arr.)

MÉTRO: Odéon (lines 4, 10)

NEIGHBORHOOD: Saint-Ger­main-de-Prés


HOW TO BOOK: online

NUMBER: +33 1 40 46 79 00

DEETS: French, old­est café in Paris

INSTAGRAM: @restaurantprocope1686


Era: Art Nou­veau. Beef­bar (self-explana­to­ry name, I know) used to be La Fer­mette Mabeuf, a gor­geous art nou­veau land­mark con­struct­ed in 1898 dur­ing the Paris Expo­si­tion. The stun­ning faux-sky­light roof, gar­den-inspired paint­ed walls, and intri­cate met­al­work all still exist in the his­toric “1900” room, but now the food offer­ings with­in this breath­tak­ing set­ting are cour­tesy of a brand new, beef-focused kitchen (maybe a cow stole the chef’s girl­friend or some­thing and this is his revenge). Beef­bar offers steak frites, kobe beef, wagyu beef, and gourmet burg­ers (quelle sur­prise), all about as expen­sive as one would expect (very). How­ev­er, the delight­ful, his­toric atmos­phere more than makes up for it. 

ADDRESS: 5 Rue Mar­beuf (8th arr.)

MÉTRO: George V (line 1) or Alma Marceau (line 9)

NEIGHBORHOOD: Arc de Tri­om­phe/Champs-Élysées/­Con­corde


HOW TO BOOK: online

NUMBER: +33 1 44 31 40 00

DEETS: meat-eater heav­en, open dai­ly, lunch, dinner

INSTAGRAM: @beefbar_paris

Le Grand Véfour

Era: Can you hear the peo­ple sing? Le Grand Véfour was found­ed as the Café de Chartres after the Duke of Chartres in 1784 and is the only restau­rant in Paris to suc­cess­ful­ly pre­serve its gor­geous 1780s décor. The Café de Chartres has had a rough 200 year his­to­ry involv­ing restau­rant pol­i­tics, rev­o­lu­tion­ary pol­i­tics, and sev­er­al genre changes before (quite recent­ly, by French his­to­ry stan­dards) set­tling as the gas­tro­nom­ic affair Le Grand Véfour. Le Grand Véfour offers clas­sic (and pricey) gourmet French din­ing in a venue with stun­ning neo-clas­si­cal­ly paint­ed walls and ceil­ings. The few square inch­es meters that are not cov­ered in intri­cate art­work are gild­ed or mir­rored. If this place some­how does not sound classy enough for your taste, keep in mind that in their detailed record of the restaurant’s his­to­ry, they note the exact date (May 28, 1917) the estab­lish­ment start­ed using paper nap­kins, much to everyone’s dismay.

ADDRESS: 17 Rue de Beau­jo­lais (1st arr.)

MÉTRO: Palais Roy­al-Musée du Lou­vre (lines 1, 7) or Pyra­mides (lines 7, 14)

NEIGHBORHOOD: Lou­vre-Riv­o­li


HOW TO BOOK: online

NUMBER: +33 1 42 96 56 27

DEETS: French, cool decor, neo­clas­si­cal, fancy

INSTAGRAM: @legrandvefourparis

Le Train Bleu

Era: La Belle Époque. It’s tough com­pe­ti­tion, but this might be the most gor­geous din­ing room in Paris. Le Train Bleu was built in 1900 dur­ing the Paris Expo­si­tion, and its con­cept is pret­ty straight­for­ward. It’s in a train sta­tion (the Gare de Lyon, also built in 1900) and the booths in the gor­geous din­ing rooms are blue (a rich cobalt blue, to be pre­cise). They go beau­ti­ful­ly with the mahogany wood pan­el­ing, del­i­cate paint­ings all over the walls and ceil­ings, and heavy gold fil­i­gree, all of which com­pli­ment the large train sta­tion win­dows. Le Train Bleu start­ed out as a buf­fet for trav­el­ers in 1901 before grad­u­al­ly evolv­ing into the gourmet (but not crazy expen­sive) expe­ri­ence it is today. Le Train Bleu serves gourmet clas­sic French food like duck foie gras, beef tartare, and veal, as well as explic­it veg­e­tar­i­an options (always a plus). It’s lit­er­al­ly in the Gare de Lyon train sta­tion, which is kind of dis­ori­ent­ing, but you’re guar­an­teed to step out of the crowd — and back in time. 

ADDRESS: Pl. Louis-Armand (12th arr.)

MÉTRO: Gare de Lyon (line 1)

NEIGHBORHOOD: Cour St. Emilion/Bercy

PRICE: €€€

HOW TO BOOK: online

NUMBER: +33 1 43 43 09 06

DEETS: clas­sic French, veg­e­tar­i­an friend­ly, trains, ambiance more expen­sive than food

INSTAGRAM: @restaurantletrainbleu

Au Rocher de Cancale

Era: Oys­ter Heav­en. Found­ed in 1804 and still going strong, Au Rocher de Can­cale was built around the boom­ing demand for the hum­ble oys­ter. At least, oys­ters used to be hum­ble (and sold en masse on the street). Au Rocher de Can­cale grew to have a celebri­ty clien­tele of French authors includ­ing Hon­oré de Balzac and Alexan­dre Dumas, the for­mer of which even fea­tured the restau­rant in his writ­ing. Though Au Rocher de Can­cale has under­gone some ren­o­va­tions since 1804, it retains its beau­ti­ful, pow­der-blue store­front, and serves a delight­ful, col­or­ful vari­ety of seafood-ori­ent­ed French food. 

ADDRESS: 78 rue Mon­torgueil (2nd arr.)

MÉTRO: Sen­tier (line 3) or Eti­enne Mar­cel (line 4)

NEIGHBORHOOD: Sentir/Covered Passages/Bourse


HOW TO BOOK: online

NUMBER: +33 1 42 33 50 29

DEETS: French, break­fast, brunch, 2nd arrondisse­ment, oys­ter bar, seafood


Era: Belle Époque. Brasserie Bofin­ger, locat­ed in Bastille, was found­ed in 1864 and is con­sid­ered the most beau­ti­ful brew­ery in Paris. The main din­ing room fea­tures a sleek, slight­ly under­stat­ed black-and-gold aes­thet­ic that’s off­set by a strik­ing stained glass ceil­ing and intri­cate stained glass pan­els on the walls. Brasserie Bofin­ger offers a mas­sive vari­ety of Alsa­t­ian cui­sine includ­ing an exten­sive seafood list that fea­tures its own sep­a­rate menu of oys­ters and shell­fish by region. Beyond that, there’s snails, Alsa­t­ian sauer­kraut, flam­mekueche, and, of course, a loooot of booze. There’s four Alsa­t­ian draught beers on tap and that’s just the tip of the very tip­sy iceberg. 

ADDRESS: 5–7 Rue de la Bastille (4th arr.)

MÉTRO: Breguet-Sabin (line 5)



HOW TO BOOK: online

NUMBER: +33 1 42 72 87 82

DEETS: French, ter­race, seafood, brasserie, Alsa­t­ian, brewery

INSTAGRAM: @brasserie_bofinger

À La Petite Chaise

Era: Sun King. Despite its claim to fame as the old­est restau­rant in Paris, A La Petite Chaise is sur­pris­ing­ly under­stat­ed. A La Petite Chaise (organ­i­cal­ly from the Old French word for house, cheze) start­ed out as a wine merchant’s shop in 1680 (!!!)  before even­tu­al­ly serv­ing fried fish for the roy­al and roy­al adja­cent. Today, A La Petite  Chaise has an orange-wall­pa­pered, chan­de­lier-adorned, sim­plis­tic pres­ence, and it serves the French-est food to ever French: onion soup, snails, duck, veal, beef, and a vari­ety of cheeses all for a pret­ty rea­son­able price. It’s proof that old, his­toric, and qual­i­ty do not always have to be expen­sive (look­ing at you, bot­tom of the list).

ADDRESS: 36 Rue de Grenelle (7th arr.)

MÉTRO: Sevres-Baby­lone (lines 10, 12), Rue de Bac (line 12) or Saint-Ger­main des Pres (line 4)

NEIGHBORHOOD: Sevres-Baby­lone


HOW TO BOOK: online

NUMBER: +33 1 42 22 13 35

DEETS: French, 7th arrondissement

Bouillon Chartier

Era: fin du siècle/art nou­veau. Found­ed in 1896, the Grands Boule­vards loca­tion of the Bouil­lon Charti­er restau­rant resides in a pre­served 19th cen­tu­ry rail­way sta­tion, and with its globe lights and gild­ed coat racks, sim­mers with a myth­ic vibe. Ambiance at the Bouil­lon Charti­er is crit­i­cal. The food, though inex­pen­sive and unmis­tak­ably French, pales in com­par­i­son to the expe­ri­ence of the bru­tal­ly effi­cient wait staff, the bois­ter­ous, crowd­ed din­ing room, and the con­ver­sa­tions with the strangers you will inevitably share a table with. The much new­er (found­ed in 1903) Mont­par­nasse loca­tion glim­mers with art nou­veau gold, bask­ing in its del­i­cate­ly paint­ed walls and stained glass ceiling. 

ADDRESS: 7 Rue du Faubourg Mont­martre (9th arr.) / 59 Boule­vard du Mont­par­nasse (6th arr.) / 5 Rue du 8 Mai (10th arr.)

MÉTRO: Grands Boule­vards (lines 8, 9)

NEIGHBORHOOD: Palais Garnier/Grands Boule­vards, Mont­par­nasse, Gare du Nord/Gare de l’Est


HOW TO BOOK: online

NUMBER: +33 1 47 70 86 29

DEETS: French, din­er, cheap + chic, open daily

INSTAGRAM: @bouillonchartier

Bouillon Julien

Era: Art Nou­veau. The walls of the art nou­veau trea­sure known as the Bouil­lon Julien are a bright sea foam green, yet some­how they match every­thing. From the stained glass ceil­ings, del­i­cate murals on the walls, and mahogany wood pan­el­ing to the mosa­ic tiled floor, the Bouil­lon Julien is drip­ping with class, and it is not light­ly con­sid­ered one of the pret­ti­est restau­rants in Paris. Bouil­lon Julien was built and designed by a fleet of art nou­veau artists in 1906 and it flaunts its famous fre­quent din­ers like Edith Piaf. On top of all of that, they also man­age to serve good cheap French food

ADDRESS: 16 rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis (10th arr.)

MÉTRO:Stras­bourg-Saint-Denis (lines 4, 8, 9) or Château d’Eau (line 4)

NEIGHBORHOOD: St. Denis/St. Martin/Poissonniere/Paradis


HOW TO BOOK: online

NUMBER: +33 1 47 70 12 06

DEETS: French, drop dead gor­geous, cheap + chic

INSTAGRAM: @bouillonjulienparis

Canard & Champagne

Era: Napoleon­ic. Canard & Champagne’s food con­cept is pret­ty con­tem­po­rary- free-range duck, small-fry cham­pagne ven­dors, for­mules aplen­ty- but they’re doing it all in a 200-year-old restau­rant. Tucked away in the Pas­sage des Panora­mas, a beau­ti­ful and excit­ing cov­ered pas­sage­way that hap­pens to be the old­est one in Paris (cir­ca 1800), Canard & Cham­pagne inhab­its an old sta­tion­ary shop and fea­tures an intri­cate­ly carved wood­en store­front, a geo­met­ric black-and-white tile floor, and a cross hatch­ing gild­ed ceil­ing: not to men­tion all the duck and bub­bly one could ask for at a rea­son­able price. 

What’s near­by? Pas­sage des Panora­mas, Musée Grévin, Grands Boulevards

ADDRESS: 57 Pas­sage des Panora­mas (2nd arr.)

MÉTRO: Grands Boule­vards (lines 8, 9)

NEIGHBORHOOD: Opera Garnier/Grands Boulevards


HOW TO BOOK: online

NUMBER: +33 9 83 30 06 86

DEETS: mod­ern French, secret pas­sage­ways, cheap + chic

INSTAGRAM: @canardetchampagne

Restaurant Victoria Station

Era: 1880s. Vic­to­ria Sta­tion is pret­ty hard to miss: if the bright west­ern-style neon sign on the boule­vard Mont­martre doesn’t grab your atten­tion, maybe the bright blue repli­ca train car will. Vic­to­ria Sta­tion is a piz­za restau­rant inspired by the train cars of the late 19th cen­tu­ry. Though the out­side may seem cute and gim­micky, the inside is all class; nar­row walk­ways, vel­vet booths, and large hang­ing lamps, all seem­ing­ly snatched straight from the Ori­ent Express

ADDRESS: 11 boule­vard Mont­martre (2nd arr.)

MÉTRO: Grands Boule­vards (lines 8, 9)

NEIGHBORHOOD: Opera Garnier/Grands Boulevards


HOW TO BOOK: online (cur­rent­ly not accept­ing reservations)

NUMBER: +33 1 42 36 73 90

DEETS: Ital­ian, piz­za, trains

Le Select

Era: Roar­ing 20s. The large white awning at the front of Le Select’s pic­ture-per­fect vin­tage exte­ri­or says “Amer­i­can Bar,” but don’t let that fool you. Not only are the food options at Le Select dis­tinct­ly French (snails, eggs may­on­naise, lots of beef and cheese options), but no Amer­i­can din­er would have this much booze. Le Select was a cul­tur­al hub in the 1920s, filled to the brim with esteemed inter­na­tion­al clien­tele, and in true 20s spir­it, their drink menu is three times as long as the food menu (and  a quar­ter of that are the 50 types of whiskey they offer). The real attrac­tion of Le Select though, is the mas­sive (and a bit touristy, let’s be real) out­door ter­race that serves as the per­fect com­pan­ion for all those drinks, as well as the per­fect match to a black-and-white Insta­gram filter. 

ADDRESS: 99 Boule­vard du Mont­par­nasse (6th arr.)

MÉTRO: Vavin (line 4)

NEIGHBORHOOD: Mont­par­nasse


HOW TO BOOK: online

NUMBER: +33 1 45 48 38 24

DEETS: brasserie, veg­e­tar­i­an options, drinks cen­tral, old school cool

INSTAGRAM: @selectmontparnasse

La Closerie des Lilas

Era: Mid­night in Paris. La Closerie des Lilas (enclo­sure of lilacs) is a café/gourmet restaurant/piano bar with a rich lit­er­ary his­to­ry and a sleek, chic, yet quaint garden‑y feel. The star of La Closerie des Lilas’ his­to­ry is Hem­ing­way. He has an homage to the piano bar in his mem­oir, A Move­able Feast, and there’s even a plaque ded­i­cat­ed to him, but all the mod­ern Amer­i­can greats, like Fitzger­ald and Hen­ry Miller, stopped by as well. Per­haps they enjoyed the green­house-esque ceil­ing of win­dows, or the over­flow­ing abun­dance of plants in every room, or maybe it was the oys­ters. The restau­rant offers every­thing from said impres­sive list of oys­ters to a “Hem­ing­way » fil­let of beef, while the café/bar, self described as hav­ing a “myth­ic vibe,” has quite a few veg­e­tar­i­an options and serves cock­tails until 1:30 in the morning.

ADDRESS: 171 Boule­vard du Mont­par­nasse (6th arr.)

MÉTRO: Vavin (line 4)

NEIGHBORHOOD: Mont­par­nasse


HOW TO BOOK: online

NUMBER: +33 1 40 51 34 50

DEETS: ter­race, lit­er­ary his­to­ry, piano bar

INSTAGRAM: @lacloseriedeslilasrestaurante

Bar Le Florence

Sit­u­at­ed on the grand Boule­vard Hauss­mann (not to be con­fused with the Grands Boule­vards), Bar Le Flo­rence is a sim­ple, no frills, clas­sic brew­ery and café. Their min­i­mal­is­tic décor and menu (a small selec­tion of French dai­ly spe­cials) makes room for a large drink list and a friend­ly atmos­phere; aka what’s real­ly important.

ADDRESS: 161 Boule­vard Hauss­mann (8th arr.)

MÉTRO: Miromes­nil (lines 9, 13) or Saint-Philippe-du-Roule (line 9)

NEIGHBORHOOD: Arc de Tri­om­phe/Champs-Ely­sees/­Con­corde


HOW TO BOOK: online

NUMBER: +33 1 45 63 33 00

DEETS: bar, 8th arrondissement

Les Deux Magots

Era: All the eras. Les Deux Magots opened in 1885, mark­ing it as one of the old­est cafes in Paris. Unlike many of the oth­er estab­lish­ments on this list, it does not belong to any one par­tic­u­lar era. Its cen­tral­ized Saint-Ger­main-de-Prés loca­tion has host­ed wave after wave of artists, intel­lec­tu­als, and writ­ers, from sur­re­al­ists to exis­ten­tial­ists to ear­ly 20th cen­tu­ry nov­el­ists (yes, Hem­ing­way again). Les Deux Magots is icon­i­cal­ly, clas­si­cal­ly, and almost stereo­typ­i­cal­ly, aes­thet­i­cal­ly Parisian. How­ev­er, with the fame comes the flood of tourists, and with that in mind, this café is prob­a­bly best vis­it­ed between big meal times. Les Deux Magots has six dif­fer­ent menus, all for dif­fer­ent times of day, and serves every­thing from break­fast omelets to din­ner­time beef tartare. Do also try the old-fash­ioned hot choco­late, regard­less of the weather. 

ADDRESS: 6 Place Saint-Ger­main des Prés (6th arr.)

MÉTRO: Saint-Ger­main-des-Prés (line 4)

NEIGHBORHOOD: St. Ger­main-des-Prés


HOW TO BOOK: online

NUMBER: +33 1 45 48 55 25

DEETS: tra­di­tion­al French, lit­er­ary his­to­ry, touristy but still

INSTAGRAM: @lesdeuxmagots

Le Polidor

Era: Mid­night in Paris. Le Poli­dor opened as a cheese shop in 1845 (notice crèmerie on the sign), turned into a restau­rant a bit lat­er, and quick­ly became an intel­lec­tu­al hub for 19th cen­tu­ry artists which con­tin­ued well into the 20th cen­tu­ry (Hem­ing­way real­ly gets around, huh). Le Poli­dor, made up almost entire­ly of medi­um-brown wood, has a sim­ple, well-worn aes­thet­ic, as if they have com­fort­ably set­tled into their exis­tence over the past 170+ years. Le Poli­dor serves all the French clas­sics like boeuf bour­guignon and con­fit canard accom­pa­nied with a homey vibe, and between you and me, it’s the cheap­est out of all the cafes that flaunt Hemingway’s patronage.

ADDRESS: 41 Rue Mon­sieur le Prince (6th arr.)

MÉTRO: Odéon (lines 4, 10)

NEIGHBORHOOD: Jardin du Luxembourg/Odéon


HOW TO BOOK: reser­va­tions for 10+ online

NUMBER: +33 1 43 26 95 34

DEETS: tra­di­tion­al French, 6th arrondissement

INSTAGRAM: @polidor_restaurant

Café de Flore

Era: Ear­ly 20th cen­tu­ry. Café de Flo­re is right across the street from Les Deux Magots and has a sim­i­lar classy ter­race-and-awning set­up with an old school intel­lec­tu­al his­to­ry. Artists, writ­ers, celebri­ties, and even fash­ion design­ers have gath­ered, delib­er­at­ed, cre­at­ed, and dined with­in the heav­i­ly win­dowed walls or on the spe­cial­ly-designed café tables out­side. Though Café de Flo­re was found­ed in 1887, its hey­day was in the 1930s and 40s when many of the famous guests and writ­ers con­sid­ered it a heav­en from Ger­man occu­pa­tion. Café de Flo­re offers a vari­ety of French sand­wich­es and sal­ads, but their spe­cials, like their three-meat ter­rines or duck shep­herd’s pies, are what’s worth getting. 

ADDRESS: 172 Boule­vard Saint-Ger­main (6th arr.)

MÉTRO: Saint-Ger­main-des-Prés (line 4)

NEIGHBORHOOD: St. Ger­main-des-Prés


HOW TO BOOK: online

NUMBER: +33 1 45 48 55 26

DEETS: café, lit­er­ary his­to­ry, old school cool

INSTAGRAM: @lecafedeflore

Au Pied de Cochon

Era: Time­less-ish. Au Pied de Cochon sticks by its name: pig’s feet are the house spe­cial at this 24-hour din­er. They’re served with either fries or mashed pota­toes, and to assure the cau­tious­ly adven­tur­ous, they are deli­cious. For the fainter-of-heart or the pork adverse, Au Pied de Cochon also serves pret­ty much every oth­er type of meat as well as a mean bowl of French onion soup. And yes, they have been open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (except for the occa­sion­al repair/pandemic), since 1947. The (almost) all-day-all-might–every-day venue decor whis­pers, ‘it’s 1901 and it’s glossy in here,’ and the food in like inject­ing France pre-1979 straight into your veins. The vibe is din­er-classy, with Cha­gall-esque art embed­ded on every sin­gle square inch of the walls (also the pri­vate rooms have tiles shaped like tiny pigs, it’s real­ly cute). The guests range from tourists to Parisian reg­u­lars, and the vibe is friend­ly and accept­ing, but a note to late-night/ear­ly morn­ing ven­tur­ers: there is secu­ri­ty and they typ­i­cal­ly don’t accept drunk patrons, only dead-of-night pig feet enthusiasts…

ADDRESS: 6 Rue Coquil­lière (1st arr.)

MÉTRO: Eti­enne Mar­cel (line 4)

NEIGHBORHOOD: Lou­vre-Riv­o­li


HOW TO BOOK: online

NUMBER: +33 1 40 13 77 00

DEETS: French, din­er, open 24/7, 1st arrondissement

INSTAGRAM: @pieddecochon

Les Deux Colombes

Era: Medieval Times. Les Deux Colombes owes its his­tori­cism to two lit­er­al­ly medieval love­birds. Let’s start in the ear­ly 13th cen­tu­ry: 4 rue de la Colombe (also called the Mai­son Colombe), so the sto­ry goes, col­lapsed, leav­ing two doves (colombes) trapped inside. The male dove escaped, and rather than leave the female to die, fed her until pass­ing by humans could clear the rub­ble and let her out. It’s a real­ly cute sto­ry, and two stone doves are carved into the side of the build­ing to com­mem­o­rate it. Fast for­ward a cou­ple cen­turies or so, and Mai­son Colombe has a tenure as Paris’ old­est bistro, a stint as a famous cabaret joint in the 50’s, and final­ly, the new and trendy French restau­rant, Les Deux Colombes, that opened in 2020. Today’s incar­na­tion serves charm and clas­sic French fare with a gor­geous out­door ter­race.

ADDRESS: 4 Rue de la Colombe (4th arr.)

MÉTRO: Cité (line 4)

NEIGHBORHOOD: Ile St. Louis/Ile de la Cité


HOW TO BOOK: online

NUMBER: +33 1 42 03 04 32

DEETS: French, ter­race, up-and-com­ing, 4th arrondissement

INSTAGRAM: @lesdeuxcolombes

Bistrot Vivienne

Era: 19th cen­tu­ry. Bistrot Vivi­enne is spec­tac­u­lar­ly locat­ed right next to the Palais Roy­al and with­in the Galerie Vivi­enne. This opu­lent cov­ered pas­sage­way retains its his­toric 19th cen­tu­ry charm while cook­ing up inno­v­a­tive French food with an Ital­ian bend. Home to a culi­nary school as well as a restau­rant, Bistrot Vivi­enne hand­makes every­thing that isn’t import­ed direct­ly from Italy (the hor­ror), and offers dish­es like tuna with yuzu sauce, Agnes beef grilled with thyme, and chilled veal, all for an aston­ish­ing­ly rea­son­able price. All of Bistrot Vivienne’s rooms have a sim­ple, out-of-time charm, but if you can swing it, check out the Le Boudoir. With its extrav­a­gant lamps, trop­i­cal­ly wall­pa­pered walls, and pink vel­vet every­thing, it’s exact­ly as sexy as it sounds.

ADDRESS: 4 Rue des Petits Champs (2nd arr.)

MÉTRO: Bourse (line 3) or Pyra­mides (lines 7, 14)

NEIGHBORHOOD: Sentir/Covered Passages/Bourse


HOW TO BOOK: (cur­rent­ly not accept­ing reser­va­tions) online

NUMBER: +33 1 49 27 00 50

DEETS: French, veg­e­tar­i­an friend­ly, 2nd arrondissement

INSTAGRAM: @bistrotvivienne

La Tour d’Argent

Era: Renais­sance. La Tour d’Argent is cer­tain­ly not a sub­tle name for a crazy-fan­cy, super expen­sive, real­ly heck­ing old restau­rant right on the Seine: espe­cial­ly since it’s locat­ed in a lit­er­al 6‑story tow­er of pale gold stone. Found­ed in a jaw-drop­ping 1582, La Tour d’Argent has been classy from the get-go; host­ing Eng­lish kings back in the day and any­one who can drop 300 euros on a meal in mod­ern times. In addi­tion to its offer­ings of duck, caviar, and all the oth­er super expen­sive stuff, La Tour d’Argent also has a gor­geous­ly classy blue and gold din­ing room and tru­ly stun­ning views of the cen­ter of Paris (we’re talk­ing eye-lev­el-with-Notre-Dame kind of views). La Tour d’Argent is still recov­er­ing from the death of their esteemed head chef in 2006 and has its future rid­ing on a young up-and-com­er, and if any of that sounds famil­iar, it’s because “Gusteau’s” in Rata­touille is based on both the sto­ry and the locale, which only adds to the old­est restau­rant in Paris’ gild­ed legacy. 

ADDRESS: 17 Quai de la Tour­nelle (5th arr.)

MÉTRO: Maubert-Mutu­al­ité (line 10) 

NEIGHBORHOOD: Berges de Seine

PRICE: €€€€

HOW TO BOOK: online

NUMBER: +33 1 43 54 23 31

DEETS: fine din­ing, French, worth the bank­rupt­cy, incred­i­ble views

INSTAGRAM: @larotisseriedargent

Au Vieux Paris d’Arcole

If you find your­self enthralled with Notre Dame and wish Paris hadn’t been archi­tec­tural­ly over­hauled in the 19th cen­tu­ry, Au Vieux Paris d’Arcole is the most log­i­cal next stop on your trip. Per­fect­ly sit­u­at­ed in the Ile de la Cité, Au Vieux Paris d’Arcole has an atmos­phere that can only be described as beau­ti­ful­ly medieval. Let’s start with the out­side: Au Viex Paris d’Arcole is graced with a delight­ful ter­race dot­ted with cheer­i­ly pur­ple tables under­neath a sprawl­ing wis­te­ria tree that trans­forms into lush cas­cad­ing green­ery. Inside, the major­i­ty of the restau­rant is coat­ed in a sump­tu­ous pink vel­vet (chairs, walls, cur­tains, every­thing), which leaves a few impos­ing exposed stone walls and some carved wood­en fur­ni­ture to tru­ly sell the ancient vibe. The menu fea­tures a vari­ety of deli­cious, sur­pris­ing­ly rea­son­ably priced French clas­sics includ­ing duck con­fit, snails, and, in true medieval fash­ion, rabbit.

ADDRESS: 24 Rue Chanoi­nesse (4th arr.)

MÉTRO: Cité (line 4) 

NEIGHBORHOOD: Ile St. Louis/Ile de la Cité


HOW TO BOOK: online

NUMBER: +33 1 40 51 78 52


In this place, you kind of get the best of both worlds. Not only is the food just as clas­sic French as you can get it, but its locat­ed in an old, 19th cen­tu­ry for­mer patis­serie. In 1904, broth­ers Edouard and Camille Charti­er decid­ed to turn it into a restau­rant, care­ful­ly main­tain­ing  the Belle Epoque and wood­work styles carved all over the place. Although these aren’t the orig­i­nal own­ers, they sure­ly did keep changes to a min­i­mum. Trust me, you could feel like mob-wife in here if you dress the part. Chic, ele­gant and oh-so lux­u­ri­ous. French cui­sine has nev­er been served in such an appro­pri­ate space. 

ADDRESS: 142 Bd Saint-Ger­main (6th arr.)

MÉTRO: Mabil­lion (line 10), Odéon (line 4, 10)

NEIGHBORHOOD: Saint-Ger­main-des-Prés


NUMBER:+33 1 43 26 68 18

INSTAGRAM: @brasserievage­nende

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