These are my pick of the best French bistros in Paris.
Paris is home to some of the most upmarket, established restaurants in the world, but the humble Parisian French bistros are still one of the best places to dine in Paris.
16 Avenue de la Motte-Picquet, 75007 Paris, France
If you want a truly authentic piece of France, this is it. The restaurant has old fashioned wall paper, paintings, chairs and tables.
It is pleasantly stuck in time, and the interiors are a bit of a shock when you walk in off the charming Parisian street outside.
The menu could also be from a rural country village, as it is stuck in time, but that’s what I go there for.
There is always a set menu for lunch with four choices of entree and four mains for 24.50 Euro which is such great value for money.
Auberge Bressane is famed for their soufflés, both savoury and sweet, which are absolutely incredible and generous in size.
In January, I had the crab soufflé which was mouth wateringly delicious. I could have eaten two – it was so light, yet so rich in seafood flavours.
There are loads of French wines to choose from, and you can choose any wine & only pay for the portion you consume, other a glass or half bottle. Nice.
My main was the pork teriyaki chop with creamed polenta, which again, was excellent. A huge piece of meat on the bone beautifully cooked and presented with some sweet cooked fruit which could have been nectarine. Gorgeous.
The wait staff are helpful & friendly. The chocolate soufflé dessert was absolutely incredible and had a rich dark sauce and melted pellets of chocolate at the bottom.
One of the best French lunches I’ve had in Paris. Brilliant – and not expensive. All of that was just 58 Euro with coffee per person.
La Fontaine de Mars
129 Rue Saint-Dominique, 75007 Paris, France
This gorgeous French bistro has been around forever and is consistent all year round. This was my fourth visit this year. It is very well priced with a huge menu offering a wide selection.
One of the highlights is the sliced saucisson they bring as soon as you sit down – amazing & perfect with the typical crunchy French bread.
This time I had the tomatoe & creamed goats cheese salad to start. This rich dish could not have been any fresher or tastier. The creamy cheese was cut with the acid of the tomatoe then complimented with the savoury biscuit.
The house red – a Bordeaux was as delicious as it was well priced. The Canard (duck) was served in a sweet honey sauce for main – much like Margaret de canard although they didn’t call it that in the menu. I asked for green beans instead of potatoes and they obliged.
The desserts looked amazing but I couldn’t squeeze it in. You must book here as it gets busy.
I was stunned to wake up the next day to find my gloves at the reception of my hotel – I had left them at the restaurant and they’d asked what hotel I was staying at and had remembered. Wow. What service.
2 Rue Cambon, 75001 Paris, France
Not strictly a French Bistro, this is a Brasserie, but I love it. This is the kind of place you can search all over Paris for and never find on your first visit. I return here every time I’m town and it is equally good in summer and winter.
It is a small but packed place with seats at the bar and tables. I love sitting at the bar with a friend chatting to staff, drinking French wine and watching the array of food that is delivered on a “food lift” from a kitchen either above or below the place seemingly teaming with people cooking fabulous typical French dishes.
There is another section upstairs with a totally different but typically French feel – lots of tables all next yo each other.
A wide assortment of French food from Margaret de Canard to frois gras snails,, salads, fish, duck & everything in between.
Gorgeous wait staff are friendly & warm, many of the guys could be French actors, very easy on the eye. A moving polar bear sits in the corner watching the chaos each night and providing an element of French humour to the scene.
Excellent wines are available both by the glass & in bottles, & delectable desserts. The creme brûlée is to die for, yes, I like creme brûlée!.
They do a decent breakfast too, at a set price with heaps of bread, croissants and jams. Book for dinner or you will wait up to an hour.
12 Rue Marbeuf, 75008 Paris, France
This place is always buzzing, so if you want atmosphere and entertainment, dine here for lunch or dinner, and if you want to see a celebrity, this is one of the most likely French Bistros in which you are likely to see one.
Everyone from Lady Gaga to Kim K have apparently dined here. This place even has pop-ups in Hollywood from time to time.
I often have an adventure at this restaurant. In the summer last year for example, they were so busy I walked into the kitchen to grab my veal chop, and the owner just laughed at me and winked! But that’s not a common occurrence I don’t think.
The service is great, and often diners end up chatting to each other after a few wines.
It was established in 1936 and is typically French in many ways. There are oysters out the front (from October to April), zinc topped tables outside, white table cloths inside, daily specials each day of the week, and fabulous wines by the glass or bottle.
The gorgeous bistro is located in the golden triangle of Paris where the most luxurious of shops, hotels and all heeled people live and stay. But the prices are not over the top.
You will find all of your French favourites on the menu. I love the half roasted chicken and the veal chop with green beans, and the creme caramel is to die for.
A kids menu at this French Bistro has loads of choices and is jut 8.50, and kids can be as loud as they like here. Be sure to book.
8 Rue Volnay, Paris.
This is a gorgeous intimate French Bistro in an elegant location in Paris, and gorgeous at night. The place has become such a success, the owners have opened Les Jalles in the same street.
The interiors are very French. There is a mirror along one wall and a 1930’s style bar along the other.
The tables are covered in white table cloths, the service is excellent, and food stunningly French but not overly rich. The freshest of ingredients are used, and the place is not teeming with tourists.
The staff are experienced and know the menu inside and out. Everything from carpaccio to vegetarian entrees to steaks, seafood and even pies in winter appear in the menu.
There are modern, clean dishes as well as rich, full bodied typically French meals such as rabbit, pigeon and frois gras. A gorgeous dessert menu is a delight, as is the walk through Plaza Vendome to and from this restaurant. I return every time I am in Paris.