Does it get any better than Paris food? There are so many wonderful restaurants, specialty food stores, and cookware emporiums in Paris that it’s impossible for me to compile a complete directory. However, for anyone going to Paris, I thought I would compile a list of my favorite places—the ones I visit over and over again. If you are really interested in food, the most indispensable resource is Patricia Wells’s book The Food Lover’s Guide to Paris. I don’t leave home without it.
La Grande Epicerie de Paris
At Bon Marché 38, rue de Sèvres
This store has everything you could possibly want in a specialty food store, and I mean everything!
Boulevard Raspail Street Market
Boulevard Raspail from rue du Cherche-Midi to rue de Rennes
Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays
It was this market that made me want to live in Paris. Bakers sell their own homemade breads and farmers have tables with their precious home-grown raspberries. Don’t miss the potato pancakes and the rotisserie chickens cooking at the entrance on rue du Cherche-Midi.
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76, rue de Seine
This is an exquisite international take-out shop. Order salmon and foie gras for a party or get a sandwich and a pastry and go down the block to eat it in the Luxembourg Gardens. It’s all delicious.
21, place de la Madeleine
8th arrondissement and other locations
This is old-world French food, from exotic fruit to wonderful spices from India. Their boxed cheese straws are perfect to serve with a glass of Champagne.
30, rue du Bourg-Tibourg
4th arrondissement and other locations
If you like tea, make a pilgrimage here. Since 1854 they’ve been selling the most amazing teas (my favorites are Marco Polo and French Breakfast) plus tea pots, cups, and tea paraphernalia. You can also stay for a delicious pick-me-up in their beautiful tearoom.
8, rue du Cherche – Midi
This is considered to be the best bread in Paris. Although Lionel Poilâne and his wife died tragically in a plane crash in 2002, their daughter Apollonia carries on the family tradition. Don’t miss this shop; it’s my favorite place in Paris. The good news is they will FedEx their famous four-pound loaf to your door here for only $35, including shipping (www.Poilane.com).
8, rue Monge
Everyone wonders if Eric Keyser is the next Poilâne. You don’t have to wonder; they’re both extraordinary. I love the bread called a flute, a type of baguette that has lots of flavor.
20, rue Jean Nicot
Jean-Luc Poujauran claims to have produced the first baguette from organically grown wheat, and it’s also one of the best in Paris. He also makes lots of other delicious cakes and pastries.
51, rue de Grenelle
Just walk in and breathe the air. You’ll know that you’re in Paris because cheese here is so different from cheese in the United States. I love this store. Ask for tastes; the service is as good as the cheeses.
62, rue de Sèvres
My friends who know cheese are crazy about this shop. The selection is truly unbelievable.
Pastries & Chocolate
16, rue Royale
or 21, rue Bonaparte
6th arrondissement and other locations
One of the oldest and most elegant tea salons and pastry shops in Paris; very famous for its delicious macaroons.
72, rue Bonaparte at place Saint-Sulpice
Very beautiful and modern pastries with unusual flavor combinations such as peach, apricot, and saffron; passion fruit and milk chocolate; and pistachio and white chocolate.
101, rue du Faubourg
8th arrondissement and other locations
Very elegant and traditional French pastry shop filled with wonderful pastries and chocolates.
31, rue Saint-Louis-en-l’Isle
There is no ice cream in the world like Berthillon’s. The mango ice cream tastes like frozen mangoes and the chocolate ice cream like frozen truffles. I particularly admire the fact that—in true French fashion—although it’s an ice cream store, it’s closed in August!
La Maison du Chocolat
225, rue du Faubourg
19, rue de Sèvres
6th arrondissement and other locations
Considered by many to be the finest chocolates in Paris. I also love the traditionally flavored macaroons.
Legrand Fille et Fils
1, rue de la Banque
This is the quintessential old Paris wine store; it’s well stocked and not the least bit pretentious. After browsing through their extraordinary choice of wines, go out the back door through the beautiful glass-enclosed courtyard and check out their shop filled with wine glasses and accessories. The café is also wonderful.
La Dernière Goutte
6, rue Bourbon-le-Château
American owner Juan Sanchez runs this jewel of a store with an amazing selection of wines from all the regions of France.
18 and 20, rue Coquillière
This is the IT of cookware. I dream about going to this place. They have every piece of professional French cookware imaginable and the nicest staff to help you. I promise you’ll be inspired.
37, rue de Beaune
Madame Grateau designs the most amazing lines of dishes, glassware, and linens imaginable. She’s resisted the temptation to sell them internationally, so you have to visit the mecca in Paris. Her tableware is simple enough to use every day but so elegant you’ll want it for company.
18, avenue Montaigne
This is my favorite place in Paris for table linens. Marie will embroider the design you choose on a tablecloth and napkins. It’s expensive, but if you take care of the linens, they’ll last a lifetime.
The Conran Shop
117, rue du Bac
Modern, well-designed housewares from London.
32–34, rue Saint-Sulpice
Simple, modern tableware in beautiful neutral colors.
8, rue Furstenberg
Simple and stylish tableware from Belgium. They also have a good small flower shop next door.
39, rue de Babylone
I was devastated when Marianne closed her store on rue de Bourgogne, but now she’s reopened a larger shop on rue de Babylone and it has all of her fabulous style. As a friend of mine says, “You don’t choose the flowers here, they choose you.” I always buy much more than I expected. There are gorgeous flowers, branches, seed pods, and vases that will change your idea of flower arrangements. Don’t miss this.
6, carrefour de l’Odéon
Christian Tortu turned the style world upside down a decade ago with his dramatic modern designs such as all-white and all-green arrangements. Lately, his designs have become a little too modern for my taste, but I still have to go by and see what he’s doing.
Une Pensée Fleuriste
26, rue de l’Université
These young florists do the most surprising and beautiful seasonal arrangements with branches of berries and interesting seed pods mixed with gorgeous flowers.
Chez L’Ami Louis
32, rue du Vertbois
Although the prices are outrageous, the food here is beyond delicious. As Patricia Wells says, “people beg, cry, weep for a table.” For a special occasion, we always have the best dinner and the most fun here.
20, rue Saint-Martin
This is the quintessential old Paris bistro. It was founded here in 1914 yet the food and service are still outstanding. Save room for the coffee vacherin with prunes in Armagnac for dessert.
243, boulevard Raspail
This is one of my favorite fish restaurants in Paris; the room feels like a cozy dining room and the fish is simply and elegantly prepared. It’s the essence of a chic Parisian restaurant.
1, rue du Mail
This is delicious traditional French food in an old-fashioned setting. If you’re in the mood for herring and potatoes, beef bourguignon, and baba au rhum, this is your place.
8, rue de Condé at rue Saint-Sulpice
When you’ve been to all the French restaurants and feel like a change, sit at one of the tables on the terrace of this wonderful neighborhood restaurant and savor the tomato, mozzarella di buffala, and basil salad plus a big steaming plate of delicious pasta pesto. Albano will take very good care of you.
Author Photo: Quentin Bacon; Featured Images: Click49/Shutterstock. Excerpted from Barefoot in Paris: Easy French Food You Can Make at Home by Ina Garten with permission from Clarkson Potter.