What We Would Eat in Paris If We Had Only One Day

Wondering what to eat in Paris? With a plethora of choices, it can be overwhelming. 

However, France’s reputation for gastronomic excellence makes dining out a true delight. Mapping out what to eat in Paris will take you to some of the best neighborhoods in the city. From traditional French fare to North African-inspired cuisine, Paris delivers on all fronts. If you’re in search of a memorable bite, skip the chains and enjoy these Paris eats like a local. 

If you're not sure what to eat in Paris, we've got you covered with a full day's worth of suggestions.

Break Your Fast Along Canal St. Martin 

Start your day at Christophe Vasseur’s artisanal boulangerie Du Pain et Des Idées. This Parisian staple serves up rustic breads and traditional pastries with dreamy interiors to match. 

The line might snake out the door depending on when you arrive, but it’s packed with regulars and moves fast. Luckily, the interior aesthetics are a treat for the eyes while you wait. Gilt-framed mirrors line the walls, drawing the eye upwards to an exquisitely painted ceiling. Meanwhile, trays piled high with breads and pastries both sweet and savory serve as a visual buffet. 

So what should you try? Their chausson à la pomme fraîche (apple turnover) is a standout choice, but their snail-shaped viennoiseries are the house special. Du Pain et Des Idees crafts these spiraling pastry pinwheels with a variety of seasonal flavor, but you can’t go wrong with the chocolate pistachio. Take your sweet treat to go and find a spot to sit along the hip Canal St. Martin just at the end of the street. 

Step 1 of figuring out what to eat in Paris: you can never go wrong with pastries.
If there’s a better way to start your day than with freshly baked French pastries, we’d like to hear it.

Nibble XL Sandwiches at Miam Miam for Lunch

For more than 10 years, Alain Roussel has been grilling up his signature sandwiches, crepes and galettes at the Marché des Enfants-Rouges in the heart of the Marais. 

Expanding from the original stall, the newer Chez Alain Miam Miam is just a few steps away from the popular market. Serving up hearty, traditional French fare, the savory galettes and sweet crepes are not to be missed. 

However, what put Miam Miam on the map are their hefty sandwiches. They’re filled to bursting with a selection of meats, organic vegetables and a choice of Cantal or Comté cheese, all before being heated on a griddle. 

Looking for a vegetarian option? Try the vegetarian cone, a blini stuffed with roasted organic vegetables. 

Chez Alain's famous sandwiches are one of our favorite options when we're not sure what to eat in Paris.
Alain serves up one of his favorite creations at the market.

Sneak in a Cheeky Chocolat Chaud

Commanding an excellent view from its corner on Boulevard Saint-Germain and Rue Saint Benoit, Café de Flore is a prime location for some of the best people watching in Saint-Germain-des-Prés. 

Bourgeois Parisians, French celebrities, and tourists alike flock to this traditional French café. Renowned as the historical haunt of artists and intellectuals like Picasso, de Beauvoir, Sartre and Camus, this celebrated café retains its distinct Art Deco decor. Prices might be a tad steep, but their famous chocolat chaud cannot be missed. 

Served in its own teapot on a small silver tray, this thick, rich hot chocolate hits the spot. If you’d like a generous dollop of fresh Chantilly cream, be sure to order the chocolat viennois. Settle in at a table in the corner and enjoy a bit of people-watching as you sip.

Explore Franco-Algerian Cuisine

It can be tempting to opt for a classic steak tartare with a side of piping hot pomme frites come dinnertime. However, now’s the perfect chance to learn more about Paris’ North African cuisine, which can be a gateway to understanding the nuances of Berber heritage and France’s colonial history in the Maghreb region. 

Open since 1946, Zerda Café (15 rue René Boulanger) is one of the first locations to specialize in North African cuisine in Paris. While lamb dishes make up a large part of the menu, this Franco-Algerian restaurant also serves up delicious couscous dishes with seasonal variations and seasoned with red pepper harissa. And of course, you’ll find a variety of traditional tajines. 

If you're not sure what to eat in Paris and want to try something different, Maghrebi cuisine is always a great option.
Paris may just be home to the best Maghrebi cuisine outside North Africa.

Take a Sweet Stroll in Île Saint-Louis 

Be sure to schedule an after-dinner stroll along the Seine to make the most of your time in the City of Lights! 

After a delicious day of sampling all Paris has to offer, you might be nearly too full for dessert. But with ice cream from Berthillon on the docket, you’ll want to save some room. 

Renowned for their distinct flavors and rich, smooth texture, this family business has been scooping up their decadent ice cream on Île Saint-Louis since 1954. Their buttery salted caramel and dark chocolate flavors will always be alluring, but their variety of fruit sorbets—including our personal favorites, fruit du passion and fraises du bois—is not to be missed. Thankfully, scoops are on the small side so you can sample a few! 

Cone in hand, wander along the quay and take in the reflection of lights dancing on the Seine as you toast to a full, flavorful day. 

Want a real-life crash course in how to eat like a local here in Paris? Our Ultimate Paris Food Tour is calling your name. Join us for a morning full of the best bites in the Marais and walk away armed with the knowledge and confidence you need to order and eat like a true Parisian!

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