Monday, 9 April 2018

My Favourite Parisian Brasseries

Paris is one of the most-written-about cities in the world. The image of a French writer or heartbroken woman outside Café de Flore on Boulevard Saint Germain, book and espresso in hand, is surely one of the most visible (albeit cliché) sights we can all envisage in our minds. 

As someone with more than a penchant for Paris, food, and wine (and cheese), I have always feverishly sought out the best brasseries to visit whilst on a trip to the City of Light. Simply, there's nothing more relaxing than sitting with friends en terrasse over coffee, watching and commenting on the locals strolling by. On a recent birthday trip with my sister, this is all our itinerary consisted of (case in point with all of the below photographs I'm about to bombard you with). Having visited Paris countless times, and after reading some of the best guidebooks on offer - The New Paris and À Paris Avec Amour being my favourites - I've become quite the brasserie connoisseur. Ahead, you'll find a lengthy list of where best to head for your morning bowl of coffee, your late-afternoon lunch, and your post-dinner digestif. 

Best for: breakfast
Carette, Place des Vosges
Just opposite Paris' first public square sits one of the city's best-loved cafés. Carette is full of old-world charm and hosts a healthy mix of locals and tourists alike. Order one of their many crepe dishes they offer or delicious viennoiseries for a classic French breakfast. This place is also widely known for being one of Ladurée's biggest macaron competitors - which you'll undoubtedly have to try out for yourself on your next trip!

Le Bonaparte, Rue Bonaparte
For a quick coffee and croissant at the counter. An iconic café in the heart of Saint-Germain-des-Pres

Café Marly, Louvre Museum
Located under the arcades of the Louvre museum, here you'll have simply the best breakfast view overlooking the pyramid. This place is very chic and glamorous, so not somewhere to head if you fancy doing things more authentic.

Cafe de Flore, Boulevard Saint Germain
For the brasserie's famous literary heritage (oh, and its chocolat chaud)

Du Pain et Des Idées, Rue Yves Toudic
For the best traditional bread and pastries Paris can offer.

Café Francoeur, Rue Caulaincourt
Typical and authentic Parisian brasserie with a cosy ambience and great service. Visit for the best eggs in town.

Le Coquelicot, Rue des Abbesses
Perfect people-watching on a sunny morning in the heart of Montmartre. Their brioches are worth the trip in itself (trust me).

Best for: lunch

Café Charlot, Rue de Bretagne
My favourite meal of our recent trip. Expect a local Parisian crowd, delicious food at great prices and the best people watching. Be sure to visit the bookshop opposite too.

Le Nemours, Palais Royal
For such a touristy location, this brasserie remains a much-loved hub for Parisians. Go for the best croque madame of your life, and grab a seat outside afterwards for a post-pause dej coffee.

Café de la Paix, Place de l'Opéra
An iconic and beautifully belle-époque designed restaurant/ brasserie since 1862. A declared historical site since 1975 by the French Government too.

For charming Parisian interior, great wine and extensive outdoor seating that bathes in the sunshine.

Le Rouquet, Boulevard Saint Germain
Drop by Le Rouquet for a typical French lunch (steak frites, we're looking at you).

Best for: coffee, anytime

Pause Café, Bastille or Oberkampf
The name (coffee break) says it all. Be sure to sit outside en terrasse for great people-watching.

Perfect pavement café in a lively area. Order their famous handmade French fries for a nibble too.

A beautifully-designed café since 1810. Great for sunny weekends exploring the city's islands.

An entirely red brasserie loved by the trendy locals of Le Marais. The buzzy street makes for great people-watching and with service and coffee impeccably good, there's nowhere better to rest.

Named after its famous neighbour (Victor Hugo lived next door during his time), this café is the perfect spot in-between museums. Enjoy the large terrace, where there is even a separate one for smokers if you fancy a more clear air to breath!

Best for: dinner

Le Relais de L'Entrecote, anywhere in Paris
There is nowhere more French than this place. With only steak on the menu, a secret sauce recipe and and two main-meal helpings, L'Entrecote is one of my all-time favourite restaurants, as with many tourists and Frenchies alike. Head there early, be prepared to queue and leave room for the profiteroles.

La Poule au Pot, Rue Vauvilliers
Another authentic paradise, and especially so since 1935. Open until 5am, grab a group a friends and eat and drink well into the night comme les parisiens.

Brasserie Lipp, Boulevard Saint Germain
...And another classic. Brasserie Lipp, open since 1880, is one of the most famous of its kind in Paris, having featured in Hemingway's 'A Moveable Feast' and Woody Allen's 'Midnight in Paris'. Today, it remains a celebrity hotspot for the likes of Kate Moss, Johnny Depp and Heidi Klum.

Restaurant Joséphine Chez Dumonet,  Rue du Cherche-Midi
An exceptional address that makes a mean boeuf bourguignon. Save room for the Grand Marnier soufflé.

Bouillon Pigalle, Place de Clichy
With delicious Parisian décor, this brasserie is worth the trip to dodgy Pigalle in itself - oh, and the purse-friendly prices.

Best for: apéro/ digestif

Aux Deux Amis, Rue Oberkampf
For a chance to see Jeanne Damas, head to her favourite spot in town for an apéro (pre-dinner drink). Voted as one of Paris' 100 best bars by Time Out, there is nowhere more local than here, filled entirely with the residents on Rue Oberkampf.

Au Sauvignon, Rue des Saints-Pères
A wine bar since 1954. Visit for one the best wine lists in the city and if you fancy mixing with a local crowd.

Le Nemours, Palais Royal
While this spot is perfect for lunch, as I previously mentioned, why not head back after dinner for a glass of wine en terrasse? The outside seating is vast and the heaters are incredibly strong, making the most rainy of Parisian nights that little bit more romantic. Take a loved one and snuggle up warm.

Les Deux Magots, Boulevard Saint Germain
Once the rendezvous to the literary and intellectual elite, such as Pablo Picasso, Jean-Paul Sartre and Ernest Hemingway, this famous pavement cafe is one of my favourite spots to grab a pre-dinner drink. Around the corner, head to L'Entrecote.

Chez Janou, Rue Roger Verlomme
An incredibly busy and popular bar and restaurant in the heart of Le Marais. There is a great Provençal menu, but unless you like eating in particularly busy environments, visit for a glass of wine  - they're known for their rosé - and enjoy. La vie est belle.


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