Modesty? I don’t know her. These Parisian restaurants and cafés deliver on the mythical Paris that was promised to us. From luxury brunch to insane Louvre views, they are sure to check all your boxes. Pinky promise.

Le Meurice Alain Ducasse

Le Meurice is the Paris din­ing expe­ri­ence of your dreams. This is not an over-exag­ger­a­tion, and this is not a drill. Attached to the lux­u­ry hotel of the same name, Le Meurice has two Miche­lin stars, lit­er­al­ly one of the best pas­try chefs in the world under their gild­ed thumb, and (speak­ing of gild­ed) a din­ing room ooz­ing with panachè. We’re talk­ing mar­ble walls, gold frilly trim and del­i­cate roco­co paint­ings that make you feel like you’re vis­it­ing the art muse­um across the street. And as for the food? It’s classy and mul­ti-course fea­tur­ing meats in rich sauces and a chef so incroy­able he can make plain veg­eta­bles taste new and excit­ing. We’re also going to repeat that part about lit­er­al­ly one of the best pas­try chefs in the world (he also does their after­noon tea, can you imag­ine any­thing more per­fect?). As for the prices, well, you can always give up your first-born son. It might even be worth it.

ADDRESS: 228 Rue de Riv­o­li (1st arr.)

MÉTRO: Tui­leries (line 1) or Con­corde (lines 1, 8, 12)

NEIGHBORHOOD: Lou­vre

PRICE: €€€€€

HOW TO BOOK: online

NUMBER: +33 1 44 58 10 55

DEETS: hotel restau­rant, break­fast, lunch, din­ner, after­noon tea, icon­ic, posh, in the Miche­lin guide, open Sat­ur­day, open Sun­day, clas­sic French, old school cool, worth the flight, worth the bank­rupt­cy, MOF, awards for days

INSTAGRAM: @lemeuriceparis

Ladurée

No self-respect­ing Fran­cophile can vis­it Paris with­out stop­ping by Ladurée. They lit­er­al­ly invent­ed mac­arons (yes, lit­er­al­ly), so why not get bunch­es of joy-induc­ing pas­tel sand­wich cook­ies straight from the source? Even if mac­arons aren’t your cup of tea (what is wrong with you?????), they also have great vari­a­tions of pret­ty much every clas­sic pas­try you can think of, as well as a swanky tea room on the Champs-Elysées. Whichev­er loca­tion you choose across Paris, expect to be met with the same mint-green posh décor and excel­lent qual­i­ty that speaks for their insti­tu­tion­al sta­tus. There’s even a few (admit­ted­ly, less spark­ly) Ladurée stands at the air­port for some last minute plane treats. You lit­er­al­ly have no excuse. 

ADDRESS: 75 Av. des Champs-Élysées (8th arr.) / 16–18 Rue Royale (8th arr.) / 14 Rue de Cas­tiglione (1st arr.) / 99 Rue de Riv­o­li (1st arr.) / 14 Rue de Bre­tagne (3rd arr.) / 21 Rue Bona­parte (6th arr.) / 62 Blvd. Hauss­mann (9th arr.) / Gare de Lyon (12th arr.) / 15 Rue Linois (15th arr.)

MÉTRO: George V (line 1)

PRICE: €€€€

NEIGHBORHOOD: Champs Élysées

HOW TO BOOK: online

NUMBER: +33 1 40 75 08 75

DEETS: cake shop, tea room

INSTAGRAM: @maisonladuree

Bontemps

Bon­temps has pret­ty much every­thing for the per­fect quaint Parisian tea: a great loca­tion (Le Marais), a bor­der­line stereo­typ­i­cal French aes­thet­ic (frilly, sug­ary, pas­tel as all hell), some great desserts (do try the lemon cook­ies, pos­si­bly the best cook­ies in town), and of course, great tea. It can all be splen­did­ly enjoyed in Bon­temps’ lush and idyl­lic secret gar­den ter­race; a cute court­yard full of lacy white fur­ni­ture and oodles of cas­cad­ing green­ery (be sure to book in advance). 

ADDRESS: 57 Rue de Bre­tagne (3rd arr.)

MÉTRO: Arts et Métiers (lines 3, 11) or Filles du Cal­vaire (line 8)

NEIGHBORHOOD: Le Marais

PRICE: €€€

HOW TO BOOK: online

NUMBER: +33 1 42 74 10 68

DEETS: French bak­ery, gar­den, closed Mon­day & Tues­day, 3rd arrondissement

INSTAGRAM: @bontempsparis

Café Pouchkine

Orig­i­nal­ly found­ed in Moscow, the Parisian incar­na­tion of Café Pouchkine is a seam­less Fran­co-Russ­ian hybrid that oozes ele­gance and deli­cious­ness. The first floor is a cute (if mar­ble can be con­sid­ered cute) bak­ery, and if that some­how doesn’t tempt you, trav­el up the grand gold-and-iron-wrought stair­case to the sev­er­al swoon-induc­ing intri­cate and opu­lent rooms that make up the café. The menu offers every­thing from caviar to bli­n­is to mac­arons, and the drink menu has a long list of craft teas and bev­er­ages. In true cross-cul­ture fash­ion, both vod­ka and cham­pagne are fea­tured. The vibes are a roman­tic, pre-rev­o­lu­tion kind of time­less, and the expe­ri­ence is inescapably classy.

ADDRESS: 64 Boule­vard Hauss­mann (8th arr.)

MÉTRO: Made­line (lines 8, 12, 14)

NEIGHBORHOOD: Champs-Élysées

PRICE: €€€

HOW TO BOOK: no reser­va­tions

NUMBER: +33 1 53 43 81 60

DEETS: Russ­ian, 8th arrondissement

INSTAGRAM: @cafepouchkine

Le Train Bleu

Le Train Bleu is the most con­ve­nient­ly beau­ti­ful din­ing room in Paris. The con­ve­nience: it’s in the Gare de Lyon (train sta­tion at the cen­ter of town, you prob­a­bly take a shut­tle there from the air­port, NBD). The beau­ty: a stun­ning cobalt blue and gold palette com­plete with mahogany wood pan­el­ing, del­i­cate paint­ings on the walls and ceil­ings, gold fil­i­gree every­thing and those stun­ning large train sta­tion win­dows. Seri­ous­ly, it’s breath­tak­ing. Also con­ve­nient: Le Train Bleu serves gourmet clas­sic French food, like beef tartare, foie gras and grilled salmon at pret­ty rea­son­able prices con­sid­er­ing the set­ting and qual­i­ty. They also have explic­it veg­e­tar­i­an options which is always a plus. 

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

MÉTRO: Gare de Lyon (lines 8, 14)

NEIGHBORHOOD: Bastille

PRICE: €€€

HOW TO BOOK: online

NUMBER: +33 1 43 43 09 06

DEETS: clas­sic French, train sta­tion, veg­e­tar­i­an friendly

INSTAGRAM: @restaurantletrainbleu

Beefbar

Beef­bar is the name, high qual­i­ty beef is the game, and if you’re a meat-lov­ing archi­tec­ture nerd, this is the place for you. Before its self-explana­to­ry incar­na­tion, Beef­bar used to be La Fer­mette Mabeuf, an art nou­veau land­mark con­struct­ed dur­ing the Paris Expo­si­tion. La Fermette’s gor­geous sky­light roof, gar­den-inspired paint­ed walls, and intri­cate met­al­work are all still won­der­ful­ly pre­served and can be enjoyed with some steak frites, kobe or wagyu beef, or gourmet burg­ers. The food is pricey, the atmos­phere his­toric, and the set­ting delight­ful­ly  unpar­al­leled for casu­al car­niv­o­rous consumption.

ADDRESS: 5 Rue Mar­beuf (8th arr.)

MÉTRO: Alma Marceau (line 9)

NEIGHBORHOOD: Champs Élysées

PRICE: €€€€

HOW TO BOOK: online

NUMBER: +33 1 44 31 40 00

DEETS: meat eater cen­tral, open daily

INSTAGRAM: @beefbar_paris

Le Café Marly

There’s restau­rants with great loca­tions and great views of the near­by mon­u­ments, and then there’s Le Café Marly, an upscale mod­ern bistro that is kin­da sor­ta in the Lou­vre; you know, that place where the Mona Lisa is. Like all muse­um cafés (no mat­ter how fan­cy), it’s a bit pricey, but for those will­ing to shell out for the incred­i­ble neo­clas­si­cal ter­race and won­der­ful selec­tion of veg­e­tar­i­an and car­niv­o­rous meals, it’s well worth it. If ter­races (and a view of I.M. Pei’s pyra­mid) aren’t your thing, Le Café Marly also has a classy orange din­ing room that over­looks the Louvre’s sculp­ture col­lec­tions. The cui­sine can­not be nailed down to any one genre and offers every­thing from truf­fle ravi­o­li to veg­gie burg­ers, beef carpac­cio to an impres­sive sig­na­ture cock­tail list. It’s the per­fect, deli­cious refugee from the end­less art-hun­gry crowds

ADDRESS: 93 Rue de Riv­o­li (1st arr.)

MÉTRO: Palais Roy­al Musée du Lou­vre (l. 1, 7)

NEIGHBORHOOD: Lou­vre

PRICE: €€€

HOW TO BOOK: online

NUMBER: +33 1 49 26 06 60

DEETS: French café, open dai­ly 8am-2am, by the Louvre

INSTAGRAM: @cafe_marly

Nina’s Vendôme

Nina’s, a tea shop found­ed in 1672 that retains its orig­i­nal 17th-cen­tu­ry Vendôme loca­tion, is pos­si­bly the clos­est an aver­age Paris tourist may come to emu­lat­ing roy­al­ty. Orig­i­nal­ly a per­fume store cre­at­ed by the King’s “magi­cian of fra­grances,” Nina’s has the exclu­sive priv­i­lege of mak­ing tea from the fruits and flow­ers that grow in the Roy­al Gar­dens of Ver­sailles, the very same one cre­at­ed by Louis XIV. For those feel­ing extra fan­cy, try the Marie Antionette blend made from rose petals and apples plucked from the gar­den and named in hon­or of the queen’s very real patron­age. The roy­al­ly white and gild­ed store also dou­bles as a very tiny tea salon just in case you want some cake with your Marie Antionette tea.

ADDRESS: 29 Rue Danielle Casano­va (1st arr.)

MÉTRO: Pyra­mides (lines 7, 14) or Opéra (lines 3, 7, 8)

NEIGHBORHOOD: L’Opera

PRICE: €€

HOW TO BOOK: online

NUMBER: +33 1 55 04 80 55

DEETS: tea room, Marie Antoinette

INSTAGRAM: @ninasmarieantoinette

Chez Plumeau

Chez Plumeau is a clas­sic French bistrot that, quite sim­ply, has the pret­ti­est tree in all of Paris. Locat­ed steps from Sacré Cœur and immersed in an idyl­lic coun­try­side vibe, Chez Plumeau is home to a mas­sive hun­dred-year-old wis­te­ria tree that stretch­es art­ful­ly over the gor­geous, cob­ble­stoned ter­race. Chez Plumeau used to be a cabaret and, as a result, the inte­ri­or is pret­ty classy and inter­est­ing, but the tree should be a mon­u­ment in itself (you heard me Sacré Cœur). The clas­sic dish­es, like beef tartare or duck tourne­dos, are well worth the vis­it, so if you’re not for­tu­nate enough to vis­it when the wis­te­ria is in bloom, be sure to look it up and enjoy your expe­ri­ence anyway.

ADDRESS: 4 Place du Cal­vaire (18th arr.)

MÉTRO: Abbess­es (line 12)

NEIGHBORHOOD: Mont­martre

PRICE: €€

HOW TO BOOK: online

NUMBER: +33 1 46 06 26 29

DEETS: clas­sic French, open dai­ly 11am-12am

INSTAGRAM: @chezplumeau

FrouFrou

FrouFrou embod­ies the sim­plest yet classi­est of all cul­tur­al expe­ri­ences: din­ner and a show. Locat­ed in the The­atre Edouard VII, a medi­um-sized the­atre steps from the (admit­ted­ly much grander) Opéra Gar­nier that reg­u­lar­ly puts on pro­duc­tions with Eng­lish sub­ti­tles, FrouFrou can delight patrons of the arts with its rich col­ors and exclu­sive vibes. The restau­rant, a beau­ti­ful dark blue room with flo­ral motifs, fea­tures gourmet mod­ern French food with a spe­cial sec­tion of its menu ded­i­cat­ed to shared plates. The bar how­ev­er, is the show­stop­per. Locat­ed under­neath the restau­rant in speakeasy fash­ion and coat­ed floor to ceil­ing in a rich blood red, the bar is only open for a few hours before each show.

ADDRESS: Théâtre Edouard VII, 10 Place Édouard VII (9th arr.)

MÉTRO: Opéra (lines 3, 7, 8)

NEIGHBORHOOD: L’Opera

PRICE: €€€€

HOW TO BOOK: online

NUMBER: +33 1 47 42 92 55

DEETS: ter­race, closed Sun­days, French, lunch, din­ner, late night

INSTAGRAM: @froufrouparis

Lapérouse

Lapérouse has a lot to brag about: it’s old (found­ed in 1766), it’s steps from the Seine in the cen­ter of town, it has a pret­ty cool wine cave (tast­ings avail­able), and it has a pret­ty sexy his­to­ry con­sist­ing of illic­it affairs, secret deals, and famous clien­tele just to start. The set­ting fits the mood. Lapérouse is tricked out in 18th-cen­tu­ry mood­i­ness from the dark wood-pan­eled walls with gild­ed accents to the drip­ping chan­de­liers, from the lush uphol­stery to the sto­ried mir­rors scratched by dia­monds. As for the food, the offer­ings are as swanky as the sur­round­ings; three-Miche­lin-star gas­tron­o­my includ­ing deli­cious dish­es with caviar, blue lob­ster, and pigeon, all craft­ed with the finest ingredients.

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

MÉTRO: Saint-Michel Notre Dame (line 4)

NEIGHBORHOOD: Seine

PRICE: €€€€

HOW TO BOOK: online

NUMBER: +33 1 43 26 68 04

DEETS: French, closed Sun­days, wine cave

INSTAGRAM: @laperouse_paris

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 Île 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: 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 de la Cité

PRICE:€€

HOW TO BOOK: online

NUMBER: +33 1 40 51 78 52

DEETS: French

Maison Sauvage

Behold, the most oth­er­world­ly ter­race in all of Paris. Mai­son Sauvage is a health-for­ward, two-sto­ry restau­rant in the sto­ried Saint-Ger­main-des-Prés neigh­bor­hood that, among the many lit­er­ary cafés that dot the region, stands out due to the wild pile of sea­son­al­ly chang­ing flow­ers it lies beneath. The ele­gant, ethe­re­al drape of flow­ers grac­ing Mai­son Sauvage’s awning and sec­ond floor is a spec­ta­cle best not missed, and it’s best viewed from the var­i­ous tables scat­tered around the side­walk. Besides the car­ni­val-esque show, Mai­son Sauvage offers three meals (and a brunch) of trendy sta­ples like avo­ca­do toast, quinoa bowls, and fish tacos. A word to the wise: the ter­race tables are first come, first served.

ADDRESS: 5 Rue de Buci (6th arr.) / 5 Place Vic­tor Hugo Cor­ner rue Ray­mond Poin­caré (16th arr.)

MÉTRO: Odeon (lines 4, 10) or Mabil­lon (line 10)

NEIGHBORHOOD: Saint-Ger­main-des-Prés

PRICE: €€

HOW TO BOOK: online

DEETS: ter­race, French, healthy, veg­e­tar­i­an friend­ly, veg­an options

INSTAGRAM: @maisonsauvageparis

Le Grand Salon

Le Grand Salon at the Hôtel Par­ti­c­uli­er is the per­fect blend of exclu­siv­i­ty, gourmet food, and a dreamy gar­den par­ty. The Hôtel Par­ti­c­uli­er Mont­martre is the small­est hotel in Paris and its restau­rant has the priv­i­lege of boast­ing an art-déco chic din­ing room as well as, weath­er per­mit­ting, access to the largest, lush­est hotel gar­den in town. It’s like being trapped in a Mon­et paint­ing, only with bet­ter ser­vice. The restau­rant has all sorts of fan­cy foods to match the mood includ­ing risot­to, seared tuna, Mediter­ranean octo­pus, an after­noon tea, and a savory-lean­ing Sun­day brunch. The entire expe­ri­ence screams high-class old mon­ey, and lots of it.

ADDRESS: 23 Avenue Junot Pavil­lon D (18th arr.)

MÉTRO: Lamar­ck-Caulain­court (line 12)

NEIGHBORHOOD: Mont­martre

PRICE: €€€€

HOW TO BOOK: online

NUMBER: +33 1 53 41 81 40

DEETS: hotel restau­rant, open late

INSTAGRAM: @hotelparticulieurmontmartre

Astair

One of the many restos  locat­ed in the Pas­sage des Panora­mas, Astair stands out with its  classy, shiny, upscale take on the clas­sic Paris brasserie. First, let’s dis­cuss the set­ting: the Pas­sage des Panora­mas is the old­est cov­ered pas­sage­way in Paris, built in 1799, and it’s the per­fect mix of clan­des­tine, his­toric, and trendy. Astair takes advan­tage of the passage’s beau­ti­ful glass sky­lights and mar­ble walls to offer some chic “out­door” din­ing, while the inside of the restau­rant explodes with a wicked­ly time­less, jazzy, salmon aes­thet­ic. In terms of food, Astair offers some rea­son­ably priced, delight­ful takes on French clas­sics includ­ing eggs may­on­naise aplen­ty, sautéed octo­pus, and warm goat cheese salad. 

ADDRESS: 19 Pas­sage des Panora­mas (2nd arr.)

MÉTRO: Grands Boule­vards (lines 8, 9)

NEIGHBORHOOD: Vivi­enne + Grands Boulevards

PRICE: €€€€

HOW TO BOOK: online

NUMBER: +33 9 81 29 50 95

DEETS: French

INSTAGRAM: @astair_paris

Canard & Champagne

The sec­ond restau­rant of note locat­ed in the seri­ous­ly cool Pas­sage des Panora­mas is Canard & Cham­pagne; a spot with a con­cept as sim­ple as their name. Serv­ing duck and cham­pagne (free-range duck and small-fry cham­pagne, if we want to be spe­cif­ic), Canard & Cham­pagne inhab­its a 200-year-old sta­tion­ary shop graced with an intri­cate­ly carved wood­en store­front, an art-deco-esque black-and-white tile floor, and a gild­ed ceil­ing. Even bet­ter than the classy, covert set­ting and décor are the fan­tas­tic prices. Canard & Cham­pagne has a sim­ple menu rid­dled with great for­mu­la deals in addi­tion to all the duck and booze.

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

MÉTRO: Grands Boule­vards (lines 8,9)

NEIGHBORHOOD: Vivi­enne + Grands Boulevards

PRICE: €€

HOW TO BOOK: online

NUMBER: +33 9 83 30 06 86

DEETS: mod­ern French, 2nd arrondissement

INSTAGRAM: @canardetchampagne

Le Grand Colbert

Let’s be real, Le Col­bert has pret­ty much every­thing the aver­age Parisian trav­el­er could want: a cool, yet homey atmos­phere, an esteemed celebri­ty clien­tele, a long dessert list, and of course, more. secret. pas­sages. Glo­ri­ous­ly sit­u­at­ed between the Galerie Vivi­enne and the Galerie Col­bert, two fab­u­lous cov­ered pas­sage­ways, Le Grand Col­bert rev­els in its roy­al his­to­ry while also offer­ing enough meat and seafood to feed the mass­es. The din­ing room is a cheer­ful yel­low with his­toric mosa­ic floors and a Roman vibe (as well as a siz­able and sleek bar). The vast array of offer­ings can vary from a sim­ple (and cheap) foie gras to an extrav­a­gant (and exor­bi­tant) whole lob­ster. It’s classy, it’s bright, it’s peak old world glam­or, and it’s also pret­ty gosh darn tasty.

ADDRESS: 2 Rue Vivi­enne (2nd arr.)

MÉTRO: Bourse (line 3)

NEIGHBORHOOD: Bourse

PRICE: €€€

HOW TO BOOK: online

NUMBER: +33 1 42 86 87 88

DEETS: brasserie, 2nd arrondissement

INSTAGRAM: @legrandcolbert

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