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In terms of the best local bites, the options are practically endless. The Croque Monsieur might bring back echoes of bygone French classes, but it’s a classic that shouldn’t be ignored, oozing with hammy-cheesy delight and loosened up with an expert touch of Béchamel sauce.
For something heartier, try a traditional Confit du Canard: duck thighs cooked slowly in their own fat until they fall apart on the fork. Afterwards, snap up some handmade French caramels and chocolates, bite-sized bits of waist-expanding heaven.
Planning to splash out? Well, you’re about to be spoiled for choice, as Paris boasts a whopping 94 Michelin-starred restaurants. Go the whole hog by booking ahead at L’Arpège (84 Rue de Varenne; + 33 (0)1 47 05 09 06), Le Chateaubriand (129 Avenue Parmentier; + 33 (0)1 43 574595), L’Astrance (4 Rue Beethoven; +33 1 40 50 84 40) and Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée (25 Avenue Montaigne; +33 (0)1 53 67 65 00), all listed amongst the top 50 restaurants in the world.
For a set-up to really remember, try the Michelin-starred Le Jules Verne restaurant (Avenue Gustave Eiffel) on the second floor of Eiffel Tower. Epic doesn’t even begin to cover it.
At the other end of the scale, Paris is packed with street stalls that are cheap, delicious and almost impossible to walk past without grabbing a snack. Crêpe-stands line every other street corner in Montmartre, wafting all kinds of enticing aromas into the air. Likewise, hundreds of patisseries spill over with pain au chocolat, baguettes, pain au raisins and countless other flaky wonders, all perfect for munching on the move and easy on the wallet.
In summer, a real do-it-yourself treat is a picnic in the park topped off with an Eiffel Tower view. Head straight to the farmers’ market in the Bastille to pick up a couple of jambon-beurre (freshly baked baguettes smeared with warm local butter, cooked ham and pickles), pocket a chunk of cheese and grab a bottle of tasty French wine.
Then, head for Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, a magical spot hidden well off the tourist route. Lounge on a blanket and gaze up at the Eiffel Tower - it’s a world-class lunch on a low-slung budget.
Where should you go after your evening meal? Find out on our Paris nightlife page.
To eat like a local in Paris, you need to do brunch. The lazy late breakfast has recently taken the city by storm, with ‘bruncher' now becoming its very own verb!
On the weekends, make a beeline for a brunch hotspot and linger over a stack of syrup-drenched pancakes until well past lunchtime. Holybelly (19 Rue Lucien Sampaix) has become a firm favourite, while Eggs & Co (11 Rue Bernard Palissy) performs wizardry with all things oeuf.