The 24 Hour Bistros of Paris
The Intouchables is my favourite French film. If you’ve not yet seen it but are planning to visit Paris then I highly recommend you get to it as soon as possible.
Without giving too much away: in the film you’ll enjoy a scene where the main character suffers a sort of pain and panic attack and needs to be taken out of the house in the early hours of the morning. He and his caregiver roam the streets of Paris by night before settling in a bistro for a full meal around 4am.
It took moving to Paris to learn that this really is an option. Some Parisian bistros really do serve their full menu 24 hours a day in Paris; much to the delight of the club goers who end their evenings around the same time our fictional characters sought out food in the film.
I’ve put together a list of the 24 hour spots in Paris where you can always find some late night solace, read on.
Au Pied de Cochon in Paris
6 Rue Coquillière
Au Pied de Cochon prefers the classification of brasserie over bistro. It was the first ever restaurant in Paris to keep its doors open for 24 hours.
The brasserie is situated in Les Halles in the 1st arrondissement of Paris. If you are to walk past it, you’ll know. The neon pink signage and double story building aren’t the most subtle on the block.
Au Pied de Cochon has been part of this neighborhood since 1947. They take pride in the fact that the French onion soup has not changed at all since it was first founded. I beg to differ since I’ve had it twice and one was really good while to other terribly over seasoned — a story for another day.
As the name suggests, Au Pied de Cochon (a colloquially way to say “pig trotter”) is a place for all things pork. Pork lovers are in absolute heaven here and the brasserie even serves miniature pig shaped meringues with every cup of coffee.
This is the place to be after a night out at one of the many bars in this area that are permitted to be open beyond 2am.
Maison de Gyros in Paris
23 rue de la Harpe
The Maison de Gyros is a hole-in-the-wall style kiosk that serves up traditional Greek food throughout the day. Although the name suggests solely gyros, they also have other items on the menu including plates (which is really just the gyro without the pita).
The restaurant is in the area of Saint Michel on the Left Bank, a short walk from the Cluny Museum. It was recommended to be by a friend who regards it as the best place in Paris for late night food.
I must agree. A gyro is a soft pita bread filled with fries, fresh salads, juicy sauces and a meat of your choice. Vegetarian and vegan options are available and equally as delicious. For just a few euros you’ll fill your belly for the next day and a half.
The plated meals are huge and could easily be shared between two people.
Restaurant Crêperie Chouchou in Paris
5 boulevard Strasbourg
I first dined at the Crêperie Chouchou one evening after attending a late night film at the Grand Rex cinema complex on the same street. It’s not quite your typical French bistro, but rather everything you’d expect from late night fast food.
The restaurant is known in Saint Denis for serving up delicious sweet and savory crêpes at all hours of the day. I actually had the falafel plate instead, which was satisfying given the time and necessity of the situation.
Expect two people to eat here for under €20.
Since you’re already in the area you may want to check out Le Manoir de Paris, Paris’ first haunted house/theatre hybrid that brings hoards of people into this district each evening.
If a good scare isn’t really your thing, the Paris Museum of Chocolate is a short walk from Crêperie Chouchou. It won’t be open 24 hours but it is a great spot for families with young children to enjoy the art of chocolate making (and eating).
L’Alsace in Paris
39 Av. des Champs-Élysées
Since 1968, L’Alsace has kept their doors open to the public 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
I’ve always maintained that L’Alsace is the perfect middle point between the Arc de Triomphe and the Place de la Concorde. Nestled perfectly between the two, these sites are both best explores in the depths of night when they are completely void of crowds and tourists.
Despite being traditionally French in many ways, L’Alsace draws some cuisines from other parts of Europe. Most notably they will put sauerkraut on top of absolutely everything should you request it.
They are best known for their seafood specialties. Being able to order a plate of oysters at 4am is a weird sensation but enjoyable in every regard.
Insomniacs seem to flock to this spot during the early hours, mixed with severely jet lagged travelers who are stuck in time zones far behind.
Le Rey in Paris
130 Rue de la Roquette
This part of the 11th arrondissement is an unlikely place to be wandering around in the early hours of the morning, but suppose your Airbnb is situated here and you’re ravenous at 3am — Le Rey is here with open arms.
This area is situated directly above the Bastille and is a popular residential spot amongst tourists due to the abundance of hotels, hostels and Airbnbs. Attractions such as the Place de la Bastille and Père Lachaise Cemetery are within walking distance.
Dining here is more of a late night treat rather than a quick means to an end for one’s hunger. The meals are meticulously prepared with the finest ingredients regardless of the time of day; and the service is consistent as well.
Rare to find a Parisian bistro that still serves a basked of complimentary bread to each customer that sits down. Since you’re treating yourself anyway, be sure to order a portion of their chocolate ice cream; made in house and the best thing so late/early in the morning.
Out of all the 24 hour bistros in Paris, this is the one that most reminds me of that beautiful scene in the film where the protagonists enjoy one anothers company in the dead of night.
The Smiths Bakery in Paris
12 Rue de Buci
Although the Smiths Bakery is not actually a 24/7 establishment, it technically qualifies when you consider the usual opening hours of bakeries in Paris; most of which shut their doors the minute the sun goes down on the city.
The bakery opens around 9am and only closes its doors in the early hours of the morning. It is a well loved and fiercely supported little spot in the Latin Quarter where student life reigns supreme and there is always a hungry body to be fed.
Although the word “bakery” is present in the name, Smiths is more of a French cafe than anything else. The bakery section coexists with a full cafe-style menu featuring sandwiches, burgers and quiche.
To top things off, Smiths also features a full ice cream parlor where they sell the famous Berthillon ice cream, only found in a few spots in Paris.
After a considerably late night stroll on the Seine, I wandered in here in search of treats. A pot of tea, some fresh pastries and a light sorbet made up the sum of my order. Worth every cent and the sugar rush that followed as I made my way home.
La Maison de l’Aubrac in Paris
37 Rue Marbeuf
La Maison de l’Aubrac is somewhat of a pride and joy for the people of the Champs-Élysées neighborhood. Situated right near the main strip, this bistro is famous for its very progressive and very strict meat sourcing standards.
If you’re going to eat meat, its better off being from here. La Maison de l’Aubrac is concerned with the health of the animals that come to be slaughtered as well as the health of the planet that suffers for the production of this dominant resource.
Through the use of solar power to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, and the feeding of livestock with natural, GMO free foods they are able to supply some of the finest meats in all of France, and possibly Europe.
La Maison de l’Aubrac is one of the most eco-friendly dining experiences one can have in Paris without going full vegan.
On that note, there are no vegan or vegetarian options available in the bistro. Don’t show up here thinking you can manipulate the menu into something plant based.
Le Café Louise in Paris
155 Boulevard Saint-Germain
The Saint-Germain-des-Prés area is one I have walked through time and time again, be it on my own accord to with one of the free guided walking tours that take visitors through the scenery of the Left Bank.
Cafe Louise is one of the most wholesome experiences one can have in this area, in my opinion. It was clearly conceptualized by someone who understands insomnia first hand. The cafe will take you from your early morning tea and croissant right through to midnight meals accompanied by live jazz through to the early hours of the morning.
The interiors of the place is something out of the 1950s which makes it a special ambiance to join into so late in the night in Paris. You’re automatically whisked into a different time.
The cuisine is traditionally French. Having visited so late in the evening/early in the morning I was only able to stomach a panna cotta which was wonderful. A friend had the gnocchi and said the same!
Le Grand Café Capucines in Paris
4 Boulevard des Capucines
As far as 24 hour dining in the 9th arrondissement goes, Le Grand Cafe deserves more praise than it is given.
The restaurant itself is charming and filled with outdated, art deco furnishes that make you hyper aware that you’re standing in a place that was opened back in 1875.
I don’t think the interior or the menu have been updated since; but when you’re hungry, and its 4am, and you’re staying in the Opéra neighborhood, you really don’t have much choice do you?
The gazpacho and the couscous are the safest bets at the Grand Cafe. I believe the oysters are plated and served fresh as well. If you want to play really safe then a cup of coffee and their house creme brûlée are divine and well worth the late night mission.
Overall, I find the Grand Cafe weirdly cool. The retro interior makes for a great space to cute some fun Instagram content, especially late at night when it appears you have the entire place to yourself.
The most notable downside would be the prices. €10 for a coke is something I struggle to get behind. You’re better off splurging on a glass of wine and calling it a day. I suppose it comes down to just how hungry you are and how desperately you can’t wait for something else to open up.
While you’re out and about, take a walk past the Opera Garnier one block away from the cafe. Its lit up by night and a beautiful time to view the historic building.
Late night dining in Paris never looked so good — where to first?