PARIS - Gourmet culture
CULTURE AND CUISINE
Paris gourmet Itineraries for the Smart Culinary Tourist
Make the most of the exceptional cultural and culinary potential Paris presents with Eat in Paris's gastronomic plan, indicating several of the top restaurants within walking distance of the most visited monuments, gardens and neighborhoods. Bon appétit!
TROCADERO-EIFFEL TOWER-MUSEE DE L'HOMME
Embark on your journey at the Trocadéro esplanade (metro Trocadéro, lines 9 and 6) for a stunning glimpse of the city's most photographed image: the Eiffel Tower, soaring over the left bank of the Seine. To your right, find the Musée de l'Homme, dedicated to the origins, history and civilizations of man. The adjoining "Café de l'Homme", with its exeptional view and prestigious cuisine, is an appropriate extension to your visit. Leisurely, descend along the Trocadéro gardens to the recently unveiled Trocadéro Aquarium, displaying over 10,000 fish in pristine tanks. With sharks, barracuda and eel as your backdrop, sample fresh sushi and other marine delicacies at the Asian restaurant "Ozu", located in the heart of the aquarium. Stroll across the Iéna bridge to get a more personal perspective of the Eiffel Tower. After pausing to view Paris from the Tower's balcony, savor the city from inside one of two noteworthy restaurants, "58 Tour Eiffel "on the first level or the celebrated "Jules Verne" on the second. Take a step back from the neighbourhood's more visited monuments to locate numerous other restaurants to astound your senses. At the Place du Trocadéro, we recommend "Carette", a high-end café offering gourmet sandwiches at all hours - ideal for breakfast, lunch or an evening apéritif.
MUSEE DES ARTS ASIATIQUES-GUIMET-PALAIS DE TOKYO-MUSEE DE LA MODE ET DU COSTUME
A short, site-filled walk from Trocadéro (Metro Iena) lands you at the Musée national des Arts asiatiques-Guimet, specializing in Egyptian religion, classic antiquity and the art and culture of Asian countries. Browse its collections and then relax at the its tea salon and cafeteria-style restaurant. For a more French-friendly option, lunch or dine at the very Parisian "Brasserie de la Poste". The Palais de Tokyo (Metro Iéna or Alma Marceau, line 9) is an interdisciplinary establishment dedicated to contemporary creation – art, design, fashion, film, theater, literature and dance. Order a fashionably affordable meal at the museum restaurant "Tokyo Eat". Near the Seine and along the left of the palace, find the equally delectable "Aux Marches du Palais". Or saunter the superchic Avenue George V to test one of several trendy gourmet eateries like "Chez Francis". For the secret to the Parisian woman's eternal in vogue-ness, visit the Musée de la mode et du costume, situated just opposite the Palais de Tokyo in the Galliera Palace. Next door drop by the Italian abode "Balilli" dressed in splendid Renaissance architecture. Equally worth a taste are the Libanese restaurant "Noura" and "Rival".
MUSEE DU QUAI BRANLY
Jacque Chirac’s immortal imprint on the city, the Musée du Quai Branly is the presidentially ordained, museum for the art and civilization of Africa, Asia and the native Americas (metro Iéna or Alma Marceau on line 9 or RER Pont de l’Alma). Ponder the building's abstract modern architecture along with its exotic temporary and permanent collections. The museum has to restaurants: Le Café Branly, situated in the gardens, and Les Ombres, on the terrace wih a view of the Eiffel tower.
ARC DE TRIOMPHE-CHAMPS ELYSEES
Second in notoriety only to the Eiffel Tower is the Arc de Triomphe de l’Etoile, located at the extreme west of the Champs Elysées and 2.2 kilometers from the Place de la Concorde. Conceived by the architect Baron Haussmann, the Place de l’Etoile forms an enormous traffic circle jetting out into 12 broad avenues which form an "Etoile", or star. Each of these avenues houses a plethora of hot Parisian institutions: on the avenue de la Grand Armée, the" Etoile", with adjoining night club; on the avenue de Wagram, the chic "Brasserie Lorraine"; and, of course, the avenue des Champs Elysées, boasting, notably, the star-studded "Fouquet’s". The Champs also hosts a sprinkling of cafés and terraces, including the less expensive but equally mouthwatering "Relais de l’Entrecôte", on the sidestreet Marbeuf, and numerous 24/7 brasseries like "La Maison d’Alsace". For those desiring more original cuisine, "Spoon Food and Wine" is a great bet. Fine dining is also well represented at "Taillevent" (even after losing one Michelin star), or, at the far end of the avenue, "Laurent", with exceptional cuisine and architecture.
THE GRAND PALAIS
Situated on the end of the Champs Elysées (in the eighth arrondissement), the 40,000 square meter Grand Palais (metro Champs-Elysées- Clemenceau, lines 1 and 13) regularly hosts unique temporary exhibitions. The neighboring Petit Palace, built along with the Eiffel Tower for the 1900 World Fair, includes a museum with art from Antiquity to 1925, with works by Monet, Pissaro and Renoir. Recognized for its beautiful gardens as well as its cuisine, the bordering culinary institution "Ledoyen" is a dining must. If you don’t have the money or the time for a grand gastronomic adventure, you can also lunch near the Champs Elysées or Invalides.
L'HOTEL NATIONAL DES INVALIDES
Louis XIV ordered the construction of the Hotel National des Invalides (which actually literally translates into hospital for the sick) in 1670 to house ill members of the French military. Today the Invalides, located just across the Seine from the Grand Palais, still welcomes invalides, but also claims several war museums and a military necropolis. The golden dome of the Invalides consitutes one of the most breathtaking landmarks of the Parisian skyline. Within close proximity are a multitude of fine French restaurants: "Chez Françoise" on the grassy boulevard extending from the Invalides, "Thoumieux" and "L’Arpège", restaurant of famous chef Alain Passard (known for sayng "the cuisine is a future: I search for it"). "Le Mapertu" offers diners the best culinary value in the vicinity.
PLACE DE LA CONCORDE-MUSEE DU JEU DE PAUME
Seated at the foot of the Champs Elysées, the Place de la Concorde is the second largest plaza in France. Known as the top gathering place during the French Revolution (notably because it was the residence of the era’s grisly guillotine), the plaza is still used for major political celebrations. One era, the beheading of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette; the next, the coronation of President Sarkozy.
LE MUSEE DE L’ORANGERIE
Museum of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist painting, the Musée de l’Orangerie (metro Concorde) presents the works of Cézanne, Matisse, Modigliani, Monet, Picasso, Renoir and Sisley. The quiet corridors of the museum, constructed to hold Monet’s panoramic Water Lillies series, are perfect for an artistic perspective of the similarly graceful flowers found in the entouring Tuileries gardens. The Musée du Jeu de Paume borders the Tuileries and the Place de la Concorde on the rue de Rivoli. A top spot for French gastronomy, the area bordering the Orangerie boasts restaurants for every budget. "Angelina" is the Parisian’s answer for a tea, sumptuous hot chocolate or a light meal.
NOTRE DAME DE PARIS AND THE ILE-ST-LOUIS
The Ile-de-la-Cité and the Ile-St-Louis are two of the most famous islands in the Seine river. The former however, boasts a daily inflow of 30,000 visitors thanks to the popularity of the Gothic-style church, Notre Dame de Paris. A visit inside the church and up around the towers is a definite must, but this beautiful building can also be enjoyed at night when spotlights light its facade. Although the Ile-de-la Cité does not boast many fabulous restaurants, a short walk away will help open and satisfy your appetite. On the leftbank you can find the famous «La Tour d'Argent» which has a wonderful view of Paris as well as one of the loveliest terraces in the summer. «Le Réminet» is a lovely restaurant which is found on the left bank a short distance from the bridge which connects to Ile-de-la-Cité. This restaurant is tiny, fitting just about 8 tables, but the atmosphere is made cosy and intimate with a beautifully simple decor illuminated by candlelight.
The Ile-St-Louis epitomises a quaint Paisian setting with its narrow streets lined with shops, galleries, tea-rooms and cafés. Berthillon's ice-cream, which is served in all of the restaurants and cafés on this little island, including in its own ice-cream parlour, is famed to be the best ice-cream Paris has to offer. However, if you're craving something a little more substantial, try «L'Orangerie» which is famed for its décor and its inventive cuisine or «La Brasserie de l'île St. Louis» which is very animated and affordable.
HÔTEL DE VILLE AND THE MARAIS
The best thing to do is to walk in this lively area, have a drink, shop in one of the boutiques on rue des Francs Bourgeois or eat. Apart from enjoying the contagiously vibrant atmosphere, there are a few site-seeing stops which are worth your while: the grandiose structure of the Townhall, a.k.a Hôtel de ville, the Places des Vosges, the Picasso museum, or the Museum of Modern Art, Centre Pompidou.
If you are hungry and in the area there are a lot of nice cafés along the rue des Archives but a couple are of note: «Georges» on the top floor of the Centre Pompidou (direct access) has a nice terrace and a good standard of gastronomy. 3 michelin-starred «L'Ambroisie», located on the places des Vosges, belongs to the elite rank of Paris's many restaurants and a reservation is required a couple of weeks in advance. «La Guirlande de Julie», also located on places des Vosges, is a worthy choice with its typical Parisian décor. However, for smaller budgets, a little known restaurant called «Le Connétable» serves spectacular traditional dishes in a rustic wooden-beamed setting.
With a construction spanning 45 years, the Pantheon was built at the behest of Louis XV to honour the patron Saint of Paris, Saint Geneviève. Before it could be consecrated as a church, however, the Revolution's government dedicated the grandiose neoclassical structure to the interment of distinguished French men. The Pantheon now houses the remains of many of France's celebrated literary, scientific and political figures - from the likes of Victor Hugo to Marie Curie.
Originally belonging to the Luxembourg Palace built for Marie de Médicis, King Louis XIII's mother, the 25 hectare landscape which makes up the Luxembourg gardens is now a public park. Nevertheless, the gardens have not yet given up their affiliation to politics as the palace is presently the seat of the French Senate.
THE LOUVRE AND THE TUILERIES GARDENS
Though the Louvre's structure appears to be uniform, the impressive 60,000 square metre building, housing some of the world's most renowned art pieces, is in fact an amalgam of architecture dating from the 13th century. Once Louis XIV chose the palace of Versailles as the royal headquarters, the Louvre palace became a communal residence for painters. However, it was not until the French Revolution of 1789, that the palace was officially turned into a museum, inaugurated on the 10th August 1793, following the declaration of the Royal art collection as public property. «Le Saut du Loup», found in the Tuileries gardens, is a chic restaurant with a great terrace for the summer months, serving nouvelle cuisine. If you don't mind a short walk from the Louvre, head over to «Le Grand Véfour», Paris's oldest restaurant for perfectly executed cuisine in a setting reminiscent of the style of Louis XVI. Another restaurant worth trying in the area is «Chez Gabriel», found on rue Saint Honoré, which serves a decent classical French cuisine at equally decent prices.