We all think of Paris as a bustling and romantic city of twinkling lights, magnificent historical architecture, and baked goods to die for. And it is. The Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Versailles, and walks along the Seine are all wonders to behold, but what about the Paris food spots that no one talks about? We did a little digging and found some fun and charming low-key spots from cafes to night clubs that won’t be bursting with tourists. Here are a few of our fav hush-hush little gems. Don’t tell anyone we told you.
Au Grain de Blé
If you ever want to have your mind blown by an authentic Pain Au Chocolat, you better get your hungry self over to this tiny patisserie in Republique. They’re cash only and closed on weekends (true Parisian style), but they can really lay it down. They have the standard options like croissants and baguettes, as well as special “sucrés” like tarts and cakes. But just trust us. Get the pain au chocolat if you want to enter another universe. And if you’re feeling ambitious, arrive at 6:30am when they open and you might be lucky enough to score one that’s freshly baked, warm, flakey, and oozing with chocolate. 5 Rue Beaurepaire, 75010 Paris.
2. Du Pain et Des Idées
Another bakery?! Duh. What did you think you’d be doing in Paris? This place gets real creative with their pastries. It’s a beautiful light blue corner store-front at the foot of a gorgeous french-style building. If strolling past their patisserie-filled windows or taking a big inhale of the sweet aroma billowing out the front door wasn’t enough (and it isn’t), just wait until you take your first bite out of l’escargot chocolat pistache. Don’t worry, it’s not actually escargot. It’s a croissant spiraled like a snail shell and filled with your wildest hopes and dreams a.k.a. pistachio and chocolate ganache. The name of this place translates to “bread and ideas,” a very accurate nomenclature for a place as imaginative as this.
3. Chez Prune
So maybe this one isn’t quite as low-key as the rest. But it’s so worth checking out! Misako found this buzzing café/bar the last time she visited Paris, and we were delighted to discover it was only a three minute walk from our apartment this time. We strolled in in the early afternoon on our first day and had glass of vin rouge at the bar while chatting with the owner. It’s a cozy, happy little place on the corner of Rue Beaurepaire situated right next to Canal Saint-Martin. Most of the walls are windows, and they leave the front doors open to their outdoor seating, as if the warmth and esprit from the inside effortlessly spills out onto the street, irresistibly inviting to passersby. Stop by during the day for a breezy lunch, or come through in the evening to be greeted by true French locals chatting with friends over wine and cheese. 36 Rue Beaurepaire, 75010 Paris.
4. Tien Hiang
Another tip for all you veggie-heads out there! This place is fresh, fast, delicious, and affordable. It’s a thorough selection of southeast Asian cuisine ranging from soups to curries to the beloved sticky rice. It’s a little tricky to find vegetarian and vegan-friendly eateries in the lang of fromage, but we got you covered with Tien Hiang! Make sure you check the hours, because, like most places in Paris, they take a little siesta in between lunch and dinner. Bon appétit! 14 Rue Bichat, 75010 Paris.
5. Bob’s Kitchen
The Frenchest of names. If you get homesick in another country, it helps a lot to find a place that makes you feel comfortable and welcome. Bob’s Kitchen is that place. It’s situated in a quaint alleyway near La Marais and is open for breakfast and lunch. Most of their menu is in English, and we were even more surprised when our Seattle-born waitress asked if we were “ready to order now?” in an American accent. The menu is perfect; full of healthy and simple fare ranging from toasted bagels with cream cheese and lox, to sushi burritos, to acai bowls and chia seed pudding (yes, vegans are embraced here too). We enjoyed some green smoothies and cappuccinos with our meals and took a short over to Notre Dame after eating. Thanks, Bob. 74 Rue des Gravilliers, 75003 Paris.
6. Les Pavillon des Canaux
This incredibly unique coffee house is just that… an incredibly unique coffee house. It’s a literal house that’s been transformed into a coffee shop and cafe. You enter through the front door to a foyer and living room/parlor where you place your order. Then you carry your café allongé or jus d’orange upstairs to sit and sip on the bed or in the bathtub (!!!). We sat with our chocolat chaud in a dining room while other French hipsters in the know lounged on the couch in the living room or the quaint counter in the kitchen. 75019, 39 Quai de la Loire, 75019 Paris.
7. Le Comptoir Général
Our friend Damon discovered this hideaway cafe-lounge during one of his many traipses through Paris and was kind enough to lead us into the plant-lined alley that unveils Le Comptoir Général. By day it’s a sprawling bohemian villa of sorts with different high-ceilinged rooms ranging from salons, to bars, restaurants and boutiques. The hanging plants, glazed skylight windows, and crushed velvet cushions upon antique metal carts make this place a romantic time-travelling getaway for anyone wanting to sit and get some work done or chat with friends. Oh, and at night? It’s a bumpin’ nightclub. Best of both worlds up in here! 80 Quai de Jemmapes, 75010 Paris.
8. Marché D’Aligre
You know this list wouldn’t be complete without an outdoor market. Marche D’Aligre is the spot to hit up if you’re hungry for food and inspiration. It’s straight out of a storybook; vendors overflowing with colorful fruits and veggies, fresh baguettes & pastries, gorgeous flowers, and even unique accessories (‘cause you know these LA girls forgot to pack warm scarves). This market is a must see for foodies and those wanting to be transported to the opening scene of Beauty and the Beast. And bonus! It’s open on Sundays, too. Place d’Aligre, 75012.
While you are exploring and eating in Paris, why not discover more of Europe (and its food) for cheap! If you only have limited time in the city of love, find out how to see Paris in a day.