On the banks of the Seine
Doesn’t matter if you’re left or right, the Seine is beautiful from whichever bank you sit on. Watch the sun go down with a friend and stay late into the night as the city of light comes to life. It is one of the cheapest and the most enjoyable dinners you will have in Paris.
Eat: Hot and gooey ham and cheese crepe and a bottle of wine.
Get the wine, cups and corkscrew first. Australian wine is rarely corked, so we were often caught out without a corkscrew. Don’t make our mistake! Get the crepe last, from a creperie within walking distance because you won’t want to wait once you have your out-of-this-world-delicious crepe
Long lunch al fresco under the Eiffel Tower
Settle into the Champ du Mars for the prettiest picnic in Paris. Claim your turf on the Champ du Mars under the majestic Eiffel Tower and kick back as midday, the late afternoon, sunset and the evening float by. It’s perfect because you can lie down after eating too much baguette (if only I could do this after every overindulgent meal) and see nothing but the tip of the Eiffel tower and clear blue sky. Sunset on the Champ du Mars is absolutely magical because the sky turns beautiful shades of pink, purple and blue and after dark, the illuminated, golden Eiffel Tower sparkles for the first five minutes of every hour as if it has been showered with diamonds.
Eat: A baguette stuffed with salad and goats cheese from a boulangerie on the way. Don’t trek too far between the boulangerie and the Champ du Mars, no one likes a soggy sandwich. In saying that, I got mine from our local boulangerie in Montparnasse and it wasn’t too bad by the time we got there. I wouldn’t have wanted to waited any longer though!
Is 11 am too late for coffee, or too early for wine? It’s neither, but French coffee is yuck and wine is more fun, so I’d go with the vino. Champagne is a good option, because you can pretend you’re going to a Champagne breakfast (brunch). Or, shake off the moral shackles of the English-speaking world and indulge in a drop of your favourite nosh a la Parisian, at whatever time of day you damn well please, merci beaucoup.
Let the food come to you in the Jardin des Tuileries
You could bring a picnic lunch to the lawns of the Jardin des Tuileries, but I loved this restaurant a friend and I stumbled upon. It’s shaded by the trees and you’re still eating in one of the most beautiful gardens in the world.
Eat: I had the Brazilian Salad. Yum!
Out on the street
Don’t underestimate the importance of the Parisian streetscape. Even on the narrowest sidewalks, you’ll see tables crammed along the restaurant with chairs backed up against the wall, facing outwards. Historically, cafes in Paris were a place to be seen and, as a result, you’ll still pay a little extra for the privilege. One day we sat with friends and we saw some of the funniest conversations play out before us on the sidewalk.
Eat: A croissant for a snack or a Croque Madame for lunch with a coffee.
On the Steps
Resist the tempting bistros in Montmartre and climb to the top of Sacre Coeur for a little chew with the best view in Paris. Yes, these are steps for walking, not for sitting. Luckily, there are often street performers drawing crowds who use the steps as a miniature stadium, so it’s not unusual to sit there. The view over Montmartre and the rest of Paris is stunning and the gorgeous white-domed basilica is only a stone’s throw away. Don’t forget to actually go inside Sacre Coeur while you’re there!
At the base of the uppermost hill where the mini train departs there are stalls where you will find the best chocolate cookie in the world. It wasn’t open last time I was there but fingers crossed it will be next time! Last time we had been visiting the 16th and we had picked up some olives from a grocer’s and nibbled on them from our perch on the Sacre Coeur steps.
Where is your favourite spot to eat in Paris?
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