From Michelin to Rue Montorgueil
Food in France. It’s a big deal.
From high-end cuisine that is arguably the very definition of fine dining, to corner cafés, butcher shops, cheese shops, and tiny patisseries and boulangeries, Paris knows cuisine; and in many ways, the cuisine is the heart of its incredible culture.
If you’re going to Paris, you might as well go big. With more Michelin-starred restaurants than any other country, France sets the standard for elegant fine dining, and – truthfully – defined what fine dining even is. Paris, obviously, has no shortage of these restaurants.
And you might as well go with what’s most current. According to The World's 50 Best Restaurants list for 2018, Paris has four restaurants that you’ll want to try getting a reservation for right about now. Before even planning your great getaway to Paris, secure those seats, because they are usually booked up months in advance. Maybe more popular than ever, chefs and Michelin-starred restaurants have garnered almost rock star status, helped by the Netflix show Chef’s Table, which features top chefs spilling some of their secrets, including an episode with chef Alain Passard of the eighth best restaurant in the world, and the best in Paris, Arpége.
A true farm-to-table, this vegetable-focused restaurant finds its inspiration and its dishes straight from Passard’s farms. The legendary chef has three Michelin stars and serves up iconic dishes that have become so well-known diners time their bookings months in advance to get the first taste of his white asparagus in spring, or the black truffles in winter. This restaurant is truly emblematic of seasonal vegetables, paired with a decadent Art Deco atmosphere for a full experience.
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You’ll find the epitome of white tablecloth dining at Allain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée — glistening, mammoth chandeliers and all. The 21st ranked restaurant in the world, also situated in the heart of Paris, is helmed by master chef Romain Meder, serving up sustainable dishes with a focus on fresh vegetables, fish, and cereal.
As good as it will be, the cereals here are not reminiscent of Cinnamon Toast Crunch or Lucky Charms – sorry to break it to you – but are rather a sophisticated use of organic grains sourced from small producers based on the flow of nature and to what is optimal at that specific time of year. Enjoy these flavors in a truly extravagant setting, and be sure to dress to match.
The other two restaurants in Paris on 2018’s top 50 list, Alléno Paris au Pavillon Ledoyen and Septime are other great options if you’re looking for a classy meal at one of the world’s best restaurants. If making a reservation seems impossible, try asking the concierge at your hotel to secure a table. Though not guaranteed, sometimes the higher-end hotels have connections. It’s worth a shot.
Looking for something more down to Earth? Stroll down Rue Montorgueil.
Bring a picnic basket and walk through history itself, where family-owned cheese shops, restaurants, brasseries, wine & Champagne shops, cafés, boulangeries, patisseries, butcher shops, and boutique stores honor centuries’ old traditions. This permanent market street – meaning no cars will be coming through at all – is great for a true local feel of the city. Must-stops include La Fermette and Stohrer.
La Fermette, to put it as simply as possible, is total cheese heaven. Stocked with all kinds of cheeses, the shop beckons you to try some unique – and less trendy – kinds while still stocking up on some genuine local Brie, plus France’s natural cheese Comté, some Camembert, and Roquefort, a French blue cheese. If you’re feeling ambitious, try some Boulette d’Avesnes, the smelliest cheese of them all – which is, of course, a mark of greatness in the cheese world.
When you step into Stohrer, you’re stepping into the highly-touted and arguably oldest pastry shop, or patisserie, in Paris, opened in 1730. It goes without saying that the croissant-bliss-making, macaron-amazement is guaranteed, with chocolates and other sweets that will leave you drooling for more.
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At the end of the day, grab a café au lait at a corner café and sit back, relax, and enjoy a true taste of Paris.