Paris Food and Drink
Paris is awash with good food – it’s France, after all. From Michelin-starred restaurants to neighbourhood bistros, speciality hole-in-the-wall outlets and weekly markets teeming with fresh produce it’s enough to make even the most avid foodie blush. There’s really no faulting a place where you can find stalls selling only mushrooms. But life in Paris doesn't only revolve around the act of eating; there's no end of inviting places for a good drink too. Complete strangers will strike up conversations about where to buy the cheapest good wine as much as they'll bring up the idea of straight-out-of-the-oven baguettes. Whether it's vin rouge, absinthe or craft beer that appeals, Paris has it all.
Café Louis Philippe
For a quintessential bistro experience you won’t do better than this old and charming place in the Marais. Slap-bang opposite the Ile Saint-Louis it offers traditional French cuisine and whip-smart waiters. Nothing fancy but the food is good and atmosphere excellent. The terrace is perfect on sunny days.
Awesome in the true sense of the word. A great place to pull together a picnic, fill the fridge or just wander and gape at the sheer amount of beautiful produce. Serious cheeses, sexy charcuterie, stalls selling nothing but mushrooms. Affordable, too.
Relais de Venise L’Entrecôte
A restaurant that has no menu, just does one dish and has done it for 50 years must be doing something right. Tell the staff how you like your meat done and that’s it – up comes steak, frites and a simple green salad.
Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée
If three Michelin stars aren’t enough for you then just go for the ambience at Alain Ducasse’s astonishing restaurant in the Hotel Plaza Athenee. The food is out of this world but so is the space-age Versailles-style décor.
Baudoyer outdoor market
Another outdoor market, this one on the edge of the Marais district and only open on Wednesday from 12.20pm-8.30pm and Saturday from 7am-3pm. A popular place to shop but it’s the stalls cooking great vats of heavenly smelling paella that are the main attraction.
For those with a sweet tooth the acknowledged prince of patisseries, the master of the macaron, is Pierre Hermé. This chic Willy Wonka of Paris has ‘boutiques’ all over the city. They are sleek, beautifully presented and look good enough to eat – just like the macarons.
La Brasserie de l'Isle Saint-Louis
On the tip of Île Saint-Louis with Notre Dame looming over it this is a dream location. The food is good brasserie fare and the place – not much changed from the 1930s – is excellent inside and out, depending on the weather.
The Experimental Cocktail Club
The name says it all really. A low-lit speakeasy-style haunt full of dark, comfortable furniture where knowledgeable staff knock out, you guessed it, experimental cocktails using ingredients such as vanilla, cloves, balsamic vinegar and honey. Makes a mojito look positively passe.
The Frog and British Library
The love child of a British pub and a French bistro, the Frog is leather sofas, giant screens and all the sport you can handle. It’s also a microbrewery. Dark de Triomphe, Maison Blanche, Inseine and Parislytic are just a few of their craft beers.
Les Deux Magots
A mecca for history and literature buffs this bustling café on beautiful Place Saint Germain-des-Pres is one of the most famous in Paris. Jean Paul Sartre, Camus, Brecht, Hemingway, Picasso and Wilde were regulars. The interior is stunning fin-de-siecle Paris and pretty much unchanged since 1885.
For a city so in love with taste the coffee in Paris can be dire; just something warm to sip while watching the world go by. But things are changing thanks to an influx of Australian baristas. There are many to choose from but laid-back Café Coutume is up there with the best.
Novotel Paris Vaugirard Montparnasse
The rooftop bars at Le Perchoir, 43 Up on the Roof, Mama Shelter and Nuba are all so hot you’ll have to get there really early to snare a spot. Head instead to the little-known bar on top of the Novotel where there are panoramic views without the crush.