Where to Eat Traditional French Cuisine in Paris
In a country where art rules the cultural scene, the cuisine of France can be seen as somewhat of an art of its own.
Most other European cuisines involve highly experimental recipes that allow for some creativity in the kitchen. Italian food, for example, will feature the same dish from restaurant to restaurant but each one will have a unique flair of its own that makes it different from the last.
French cuisine is quite the opposite. It is a highly specific and disciplined form of culinary art that chefs from around the would seek to master. This extends from traditional French dishes right through to the pastry side of the kitchens.
Your trip to Paris is therefore the perfect time to sample the most authentic French food you’ll ever have in your life.
Given the eclectic nature of this city, some of the traditional French bistros have incorporated more global dishes to cater for a wider market. There are, however, a few places around the city where you can go to eat the cuisine as it was intended to be enjoyed back in the day.
Au Pied de Cochon in Paris
6 Rue Coquillière
You quite literally cannot miss this very ostentatious restaurant in the 2nd arrondissement. Whether you’re headed here specifically to eat or you’re simply passing by in a free guided walking tour you’ll see the double story, red and beige banisters a mile away!
My favorite dish here is the French onion soup. They also do wonderful red wine braised pork, escargots and a traditional crème brûlée.
I should also mention that Au Pied de Cochon doesn’t close. Yes, you read that correctly. The restaurant is perpetually open for business and serving up the full menu. It truly is an institution to Paris.
Wagon Bleu in Paris
7 Rue Boursault
The Blue Wagon is a bit of a hidden gem in the 17th arrondissement of Paris. As the name suggests, the restaurant is built into an old blue train car that wen tout of service during the resolution years.
The interior is cosy and charming as anything! You’ll feel like you’re in some elegant express train carriage traveling to some exotic land by the night.
You’ll find Wagon Bleu right by the Rome metro stop. You could also continue on to the La Fource stop and get off here first; the Montmartre cemetery is right here and worthy of a stroll before walking the few minutes down to the wagon.
The Wagon Bleu also boasts an impressive range of French wines to pair with all of their authentic dishes.
Constant Cafe in Paris
139 Rue Saint-Dominique
It doesn’t get more charming or more French than Constant Cafe in the 7th arrondissement. The cafe is just right of the Eiffel Tower, at the middle-most exit of the Champ du Mars.
Constant Cafe is not open at all hours like our first restaurant, however they are open until 11pm daily — the perfect spot for late night dining after seeing the tower light up on the hour.
They also open their doors early; from 7:30am daily you’ll have access to their breakfast and pastry menu to start your day.
By night this is where you’ll enjoy foie gras and ratatouille made just as the first chefs of Paris did many years ago. The dishes at Constant Cafe are also reasonably priced considering the restaurants very desirable location.
Aside from the Champ du Mars and Eiffel Tower looming nearby, the 7th arrondissement has many attractions to enjoy throughout the day (Read more about Discover walking tours).
Chez Dumonet in Paris
117 Rue du Cherche-Midi
South of the 6th arrondissement, this French restaurant is renowned for their duck confit. The rest of their menu includes all the French classics that one needs to try to get the perfect sense of the cuisine of the land.
Even the interior of this bistro is undeniably traditionally French. The leather couches, white tables and cold, tiled floors make for the most wonderful ambiance while dining here.
Start with the duck and end your meal with their impressive rendition of the classic French soufflé.
The staff at Chez Dumonet need to be given homage as well. Every time I’ve dined here they have gone out of their way to accommodate every guest who enters the space; be it with dietary requirements, language barriers or physical disabilities.
Bouillon Chartier in Paris
7 Rue du Faubourg Montmartre
This beautiful Belle Époque dining space in the 9th arrondissement was officially made a historic landmark of Paris back in 1989. The restaurant itself was founded in 1896.
In spite of its undeniable opulence, Chartier makes a point of keeping their food affordably priced so that people from around the world can enjoy French cuisine as it was originally intended.
At Chartier enjoy all of the French delicacies cooked to perfection. Blood sausages and escargots are what the people come for, but all of their dishes are cooked to perfection and won’t break the bank.
Dining here is like a blast into the past of French cuisine and hospitality. Book a table in advance to avoid disappointment.
Bon appétit, ma cherie! Lots of traditional French cuisine to enjoy around the arrondissements of Paris — be sure to sample one or two while in town!