The Paris Black Book

by TheTasteEdit

View of the Eiffle Tower and Sein River from Chaval Blanc Hotel and restaurant in Paris

 

Paris is one of the most visited cities in the world, so our Black Book is designed to help you experience it in a unique way . We live just several hours away, speak French, and are in the city so often that we are able to find what we are confident are the best hotels, restaurants, and cultural activities — some of which are frankly inaccessible unless you ask a true Parisian in French.

Notably absent from the Black Book are most places you see on Instagram. Popular spots like Cafe de Flore or Brasserie Lipp, while historic, have become so inundated with tourists that they aren’t worth our time (or yours). We are bluntly honest when we have a bad experience. We also realize not everyone wants all classical French food all the time, and because we live where we live, we tend to frequent Paris for global cuisine — notably sushi, anything spicy, and natural wine bars.

We are constantly updating and adding to the Black Book so you will always have our most current views — good or bad.

Last updated January 2023. Check back often. 

 

Where to Stay

Hotel Lutetia Paris exterior Rive Gauche

Hôtel Lutetia
Hôtel Lutetia is the grande dame hotel on Paris’s Rive Gauche. This historic property is especially unique because typically hotels in the Rive Gauche are tiny, boutique properties hidden among residential buildings. Hôtel Lutetia is a luxury palace hotel with a truly unique grand exterior. Inside, the rooms are modern and luxurious, with marble bathrooms, iPad-based automation, sumptuous linens, and Etro toiletries. We loved the dark, glossy wood-paneled halls and dark blue color theme.

We loved the Lutecia so much, we extended our stay for an extra night! See more from our stay at Hotel Lutetia

 

Hotel Le bristol at night bar in Paris

Le Bristol Paris
This hotel is part of the Oetker Collection, a small family-owned group of a handful of the best hotels in the world. The group’s focus is on luxury and service and Le Bristol is located in the heart of the design and shopping districts, just steps from Champs Elysées and La Madeleine Place. Le Bristol Paris is particularly interesting for people who love food. It offers both three-star and one-star restaurants, as well as a chocolaterie, fromagerie, and cave. They are the only hotel in the world to grind their own flour daily for all of the bread and pastries produced in-house. It can be child-friendly and has a pool on the top floor with an amazing view of the city. Go here if you’re looking for a bit of luxury in Paris and be sure to book your La Prairie spa treatment ahead of time as the spa can book up quickly. See more from our stay at Le Bristol Paris.

 

Le Pavilon de la Reine Hotel Paris

Le Pavillon de la Reine 

This charming boutique hotel on the edge of the Marais is located on one of Paris’s oldest squares, the Place de Voges. A 17th-century palace, it now offers well-appointed, spacious rooms and a Michelin-starred restaurant. Just steps from some of Paris’s best natural wine bars and most interesting restaurants, it’s easy to enjoy the nightlife before turning into your luxurious accommodations. Treat yourself by booking the expansive Suite de la Reine.
See more from our stay at Le Pavillon de la Reine.

 

Hotel de Crillon Rosewood hotel Paris

Hotel de Crillon

If you want to be in the center of it all, treat yourself to a room at the iconic Hôtel de Crillon. Located directly on the Place de Concorde, the location is ideal for exploring some of Paris’ most famous landmarks, including the Jardin des Tuileries, the Louvre, and the Musée d’Orsay.

While all of this is at your doorstep, the interiors of the Hotel de Crillon make it difficult to want to leave. The hotel is impeccably furnished in a style that combines opulent elements of the former palace with fresh, modern furnishings and art. See more from our stay at Hotel de Crillon.

 

 

Brach Paris

If you’re planning a trip to Paris and are keen to experience the city like an actual Parisian, head to the 16th Arrondissement. This super-chic district on the west side of the city features grand apartment buildings on wide, tree-lined boulevards where older women walk their dogs in Balenciaga sneakers at night. Long home to the wealthiest families of Paris, its stately buildings offer much larger homes than can be found in the rest of the city and it attracts virtually no foreign tourists. See more from our stay at Brach Paris.

 

 

Hotel Bourg Tibourg in Paris

Hotel Bourg-Tibourg
A great location in the heart of the Marais. They have close parking if you plan to venture into Paris with a car. We stayed here and we were pretty happy, but the rooms are extremely small and border on a caricature of what you would imagine a classic Belle Époque hotel to look like. The decor is dark and moody – a bit reminiscent of Hotel Costes (both hotels have the same owners and designers). You’ll also find the toiletries from Hotel Costes in your room. We skipped breakfast here as we preferred to seek out a delicious pastry instead. There are lots of cafes and restaurants nearby, but that also meant that there were people outside until 1-2 am and the windows aren’t quite as soundproof as you might like. One night we decided to just stay out at a cafe with them all since we couldn’t sleep anyway. See more from our stay at Hotel Bourg-Tibourg

 

Sinner Paris Luxury Hotel

Sinner Paris
For a totally different vibe, we stayed here for a weekend to check out this newer hotel located in the Upper Marais. You’ll find a younger, hip crowd with DJs at night, fog machines, and decor that’s focused on the more…romantic side of Paris. While still considered a luxury hotel, it’s very different in the service, style, and price point of Le Bristol. The rooms seem larger and more modern than most traditional Parisian hotels. We wouldn’t suggest having dinner at the hotel but they offer a fantastic brunch on the weekends and the nightlife is worth stopping in for after dinner. If you are visiting Paris with children, we are confident that the vast majority of parents would deem the hotel inappropriate for kids in some way and we generally avoid parts of the Marais at night with our son.  See more from our stay at Sinner Paris

Crown Plaza Republique
We had a bit of a snafu and accidentally had to stay here due to some mixups with a hotel we booked one weekend (a Marriott property gave away our room after we had checked in and left our luggage). They ended up moving us to this clean budget-friendly hotel located very close to a good metro stop with main lines. It’s just north of the Marais so it’s easy to walk to lots of great, non-touristy restaurants and wine bars nearby. The big drawback is that it’s more of a large conference hotel and the Place de la République can be really loud. Fellow guests are more likely to be attending a pharmaceutical sales event than people deeply interested in the culture of the city. The Place de la République hosts numerous protests during the day and in the evening you’ll find lots of teenagers hanging out and skateboarding. We stayed on the top back floor and could still hear the noise until the wee hours of the morning, but you really can’t beat the location.

 

 

Cocktail bars + Live Music

A waiter serving cocktails in Paris at Cheval Blanc hotel. Find where to get the best cocktails and live music in Paris with our Paris Black Book. For members only. These cocktails are served on one of the best places for a view of the Eiffel Tower and Seine River. Click to find out where to go for this great photography location. #cocktails #photography #Paris

Cheval Blanc’s La Table de Partage
The views from the Seine-side balconies alone are worth going for a cocktail.
Get all the details.

Ritz Bar Vendome
Expensive cocktails but beautiful and fantastic people-watching. There are a few bars in the hotel like the historic Bar Hemingway (in the back) and the new Lantern bar (we recommend skipping – see why here).

Hotel Crillon Les Ambassadeurs
Opulent bar with an in-house jazz trio playing after 8pm.

Four Seasons V George Le Bar
Great live music and a good cocktail list.

Chez Papa
Order a glass or bottle of bubbles or wine and enjoy the music! You need to call well in advance for reservations.

Combat Bar
Gritty neighborhood cocktail bar in Bellville.

 

Caves a Manger

A plate of radishes and cheese with wine at Paris ICI mem wine bar and cave manger Paris. Know what a Cave a Manger in Paris is? This is important if you want to go to one of the most up and coming wine bars in Paris. Use our Paris Black Book to find out about the rules and where the best wine bars are in Paris. #wine #Paris #restaurant

You can find out everything about Caves a Manger here. The short of it is that you need to order food with your wine. They aren’t legally allowed to pour wine without food.

Passerina Cave
Newly opened addition to Passerina Italian restaurant. We have yet to go to the restaurant, but the cave serves natural Italian and French wines along with a short menu of Italian-inspired dishes to share. It’s a very small space with a beautiful wooden bar and friendly staff.

Ici Même
Wine shop and wine bar.

Frenchie Bar a Vin
Wine and snacks by day and a restaurant at night (doesn’t take reservations).
Get all the details.

 

Where to Eat

 

The counter bar with pink tulips and liquor at Petrelle restaurant in Paris. This restaurant was once visited by Madonna to Mick Jagger. It's been transformed into a lovely intimate restaurant serving natural wine. One of our favorite new restaurants in Paris. Use our Paris Black Book to find out where it is and more tips on the best restaurants in Paris. #wine #restaurant #Paris

Petrelle
One of our favorite new restaurants. Petrelle is a cozy rustic restaurant with modern touches (mid-century glassware, etc.) and a modern take on French cuisine. Using fresh ingredients and serving natural wines. With only 8 tables, you’ll want to book ahead. We went for lunch but we can’t wait to visit again for dinner.
Get all the details.

Huîtres et Saumons de Passy
Natural wine, oysters, and seafood in one of the city’s most exclusive neighborhoods.
Get all the details.

Yen
According to French Vogue, Yen is Jane Birkin’s favorite sushi restaurant and is now one of ours. Located on the Rive Gauche, this Japanese institution is located just steps from Le Bon Marche and next to Cafe de Flore. The sushi is beautifully presented and the French wine selection is on point. We even found a bottle from Domaine Simon Bize et Fils from Savigny-Les-Beaune, our favorite restaurant, and winery in Burgundy.

L’Orangerie
All vegetarian and fish Michelin-starred restaurant has only eight tables and offers only a tasting menu. Located in the Four Seasons V George, the setting is fabulous and the service is on point.
Get all the details.

114 Faubourg
Located inside of Le Bristol, the service and food was excellent. With one Michelin star, the food and service far surpassed our 3-Michelin star experiences in the United States. With options for a tasting menu or individual dishes, you’ll find a choice of delicate seafood, pasta, game, etc.
Get all the details.

Le Saint Sébastien
Cozy restaurant with a vegetable-focused modern cuisine with natural and traditional wines. We thought the rabbit meatballs were fantastic. Note that they’re only open for dinner.

Le Mary Celeste
Small bites, oysters, cocktails, and a killer natural wine list. There’s no phone to make reservations, so be sure to try to book a spot online via Instagram or get on the list in person.
Get all the details.

 

Cache Paris order the luxurious whole turbot fish dish served in butter sauce with radishes that look like the scales of the fish. A restaurants for Parisians only. Now we're letting you in on the secret spot. It's not in the center of Paris but it's worth the trip. Serving some of the best seafood in an opulent and hidden space. Use the Paris Black Book to get the insider info on where to eat in Paris and eat like a Parisian. #Paris #local #seafood #restaurant #fish

Caché
If you’re looking for a glamorous local restaurant in Paris, Caché would be the place to go. The name means “hidden,” which the restaurant certainly is, and the menu is focused on vegetables, fish, and seafood.
Get all the details.

Loulou
In the summer you can sit in the garden looking over the Tuileries gardens and the Louvre. Nothing special to say about the food but the setting is really pretty. You need to call far ahead for reservations and cross your fingers you won’t be seated next to an “influenceuse.”

Les Bon George
Wonderful service. Delicious food. The small menu is written on a chalkboard. Prices are a bit high compared to other bistros. Call ahead and make a reservation. Open every day of the week – Sunday can be a difficult day to find a reservation since so many restaurants are closed.

Le Bar des Prés
Restaurant from chef Cyril Lignac so we went in a bit skeptical but the team at this Saint Germain sushi spot was all Japanese. We went for lunch where you sit at the bar and can watch the chefs craft dishes to order.
Get all the details.

 

You won't want to miss the Grand Mariner souffle made to order at Josephine's Parisian bistro in Paris France for dessert. Don't be a tourist. Eat like a local in Paris. Know where to eat in Paris with the Paris Black Book. You won't want to miss the epic Grand Mariner souffle made to order at this local Parisian bistro in Paris France for dessert. If you don't order it with your dinner you'll be fresh out of luck. #Paris #souffle #dessert #travel

Josephine’s Chez Dumonet
Known locally as Josephine’s, this Paris neighborhood bistro serves a limited menu with really good food. It’s almost higher-end elevated bistro food. Don’t miss the pigeon and the souffle.
Get all the details.

Juveniles
Family-run restaurant serving simple “unfussy” French food with a great wine selection. You’ll find natural and traditional wines but GOOD!
Get all the details.

 

Order the fried chicken at Ellsworth restaurant in Paris. The fried chicken at this restaurant in Paris can be the perfect break from traditional Parisian food. Sit at the bar or book a table for more modern Parisian food. #restaurant #Paris

Ellsworth
From the team who opened Verjus Paris, this little romantic restaurant is just across the street from Juveniles. The dishes are good and a bit eclectic, with natural wines. We sat at the bar here which was still charming. If available, order the fried chicken (seriously) and carrot cake eclair.
Get all the details.

Chez Fernand
A hidden traditional restaurant in Saint Germain. Super nice staff. The menu changes seasonally but we loved the scallop risotto.
Get all the details.

 

The smoked fish at sur mer paired with a crisp white natural wine is the perfect lunch order in Paris. This natural wine and raw bar is one of the best places for seafood in Paris. You'll also find cooked dishes and smoked fish which is the perfect lunch order in Paris on a hot day.

Sur Mer
I prefer this to Clamato when looking for fish and wine. For lunch, you’ll find lots of raw fish and seafood dishes with a few plates in addition to a great natural wine selection.

Clamato
Sister restaurant to Septime. More casual simple seafood and natural wine restaurant. It’s on all the lists, so the vibe is more New York than Paris at this point. They speak English and you’ll probably hear lots of Americans.
Get all the details.

 

Huitrerie Régis offers some of the best oysters, clams, and shrimp at this oyster bar in Paris. Use the Paris Black Book to know where to find the best oysters, clams, and shrimp at this oyster bar in Paris. They have a great patio to slurp your oysters in the sun with a cold bottle of wine. #oysters #Paris #restaurant

Huitrerie Regis
Go here for some of the best fruits de mer. Open all day you’ll find beautifully shucked oysters, giant prawns, etc.
Get all the details.

Freddy’s
Great place for wine and snacks by day and a restaurant at night that doesn’t take reservations.
Get all the details.

L’avant Comptoir de la Mer
Oysters, small plates, and natural wines. Don’t miss the butter! Also becoming more popular with Americans than with the French but the wine selections are interesting.
Get all the details.

Il Carpaccio
Stunning Michelin-starred Italian restaurant located in the Le Royal Monceau, just steps from the Arc de Triomphe.
Get all the details.

 

Au Pied de Cochon Restaurant Paris is open 7 days a week and late for a bowl of onion soup or a pork trotter

Au Pied de Cochon
Old school brasserie style with hands down still the best onion soup we’ve had. Open 7 days a week and late at night.
Get all the details.

Breizh Cafe
They say they serve the best Bretagne crepes in Paris. We went to the original location in the Marais and it felt a bit like an American breakfast spot filled with Americans. The crepes were good and there were many to choose from.

Sip Café Babylone
Great bistro for people-watching. Located across the street from Hotel Lutetia in Saint Germain. Great burgers and the baked Camembert if it’s chilly out.

 

Try this refreshing rose pamplemousse cocktail at a sidewalk cafe in Paris. Find out where it is with our Paris Black Book.

Le Pré aux Clercs
One of our go-to bistros on the Rive Gauche. It’s not the best food but the service and drinks are good. Try the Pamplemousse Rose cocktail.
Get all the details.

L’Assiette
This out-of-the-way bistro is in a very local neighborhood and is known for its cassoulet.
Get all the details.

Le Flandrin
Upscale brasserie in Paris’ 16th arrondissement is located in an old train station. The space has been transformed into a modern-luxe space with chic decor and an expansive terrace suitable for proper outdoor dining on a nice day.
Get all the details.

Vantre
Serving seasonal dishes and offering a wine list with over 12,000 bottles of wine. You’ll find traditional and natural wines here.

Lao Siam
Laotian food paired with natural wines in a 100% non-touristy neighborhood.

 

Candelaria mexican restaurant paris

Candelaria
For the best Mexican food in Paris, head to this Marais taqueria and speakeasy. Serving excellent tacos by day, as well as a weekend brunch.
Get all the details.

Bocamexa
Quick taco fix. Decent Mexican food that’s actually spicy with several locations around Paris. If you’re visiting from California or somewhere with good Mexican food, you won’t need this, but in case of a Mexican-food emergency their frozen margaritas are good and the hottest salsa is appropriately spicy.

Hando Parisian Handrolls
On the menu, you can find a small variety of fresh sashimi options like salmon, tuna, yellowtail and more. The handrolls are unique – they’re cylinder shaped vs the traditional temaki cone shape.
Get all the details.

Jugaad
Indian cuisine focuses on meats cooked with a hot fire in a tandoor. You won’t find dishes with tons of sauces but you will find tons of flavor.

Chez Omar
Some Parisians love this place and some hate it. It’s a French version of a Morrocan restaurant. The tables are close together and you can order roasted meats and couscous. We recommend skipping the typical Parisian dishes. No reservations, so go early.

 

Places to skip:

Chez Paul
This is one of the restaurants often recommended to go to on a Sunday. However, we went and had a horrible experience. They stuck us in the back and overcooked our meat. I would never recommend anyone go here.

Hotel Costes Bar
You can go here for dinner or a drink at night for the music (and check out their lists on Spotify) and amazing people-watching. However, their new bar is only for guests of the hotel. You can still have a drink in the new lounge but we found the setting and the drinks to be very boring.

What’s on all the lists that are filled with Americans and have gotten a bit boring for us:
Places like Clamato, Septime, L’Avant Comptoir, Angelina

 

Pâtisseries et Boulangeries

You'll find some of the best pastries at the French Bastards bakery in Paris like these flaky babkas

The French Bastards
The name might turn you off but it’s a riff on a batard (like the bread loaf, which means the same thing). The star baker was given the nickname French Bastard when he was working in Australia and they used that as their name. It’s become our favorite bakery offering amazing croissants, chocolate babkas, bread, and more.

Epicerie Le Bristol
You’ll find bread, pastries, chocolates, cocktail mixes, and other items used at Le Bristol Hotel

Cedric Grolet
We recommend only going here if you make a reservation at the cafe or order ahead to click and collect. Cedric Grolet imagines and creates incredible fruits and pastries. Check out his Instagram account to see how he makes these creations. Just beware that there will be long lines and everything sells out, so we would never recommend waiting in one. The fruits can also be very delicate. We ordered two and one collapsed so we would recommend asking if it must be kept cold or eat it right away.

 

Where to Shop

Shop for copper pans at the best cookware shop in Paris E Dehillerin where Julia Child and Chuck Williams bought their copper

E Dehillerin
An institution where Julia Child and Chuck Williams purchased their copper – find pans and cookware.
Get all the details.

Buly 1803
For fabulous scents and beauty products. They have several locations but we truly love Le Haut-Marais with the bar counter at 45 rue de Saintonge

Fromager Maison Jouannault
Go here to find some of the best cheeses and butter in Paris.

Mariage Freres
Gourmet tea shop with several locations around Paris. Personal favorites are the French Breakfast and Wedding Imperial teas but there are hundreds to choose from!
Get all the details.

Conservatoire des Hémisphères
The most exquisite boutique tea shop on the Rive Gauche of Paris.

Compagnie Française des Poivres et des Épices
Go here for their spices and especially their spice blends. We love the poulet roti blend for chicken.

Le Bon Marche
It’s like the Barney’s of Paris. Even though the name means good deal or cheap in French, that’s the opposite of this store. You’ll find all of the top designers like Dior, Gucci, and Chloe under one roof. It’s also open on Sundays, so if you want to do shopping while in Paris, you can plan to shop here while everything else is closed.

 

Museums to Visit

 

Musee de l'orangerie Paris waterlilies paintings by Monet

We suggest skipping the Louvre and heading across the river to these fantastic art museums instead. Read more about why here.

Musée d’Orsay
1 Rue de la Légion d’Honneur, 75007 Paris, France, Closed on Mondays
Purchase tickets to Musée d’Orsay here.

Musée de l’Orangerie
Jardin Tuileries, 75001 Paris, France, Closed on Tuesdays
Purchase tickets to Musée de l’Orangerie here.

 

 

 

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