Did you know that at least half of Paris restaurants are closed on Sunday? We’ve put together this list to help you find a great meal on this very tricky day of rest.
Here’s our annual calendar of what’s open during the summer holiday, based on information that we’ve confirmed directly with Paris restaurants. We’ve organized the findings by arrondissement, so you can scroll to see the schedule of your favorite restaurant, and we’ve added color and descriptions to to let you know more about these restaurants at a glance.
In Paris, where restaurants are tiny and can sometimes contain only a handful of tables, dining en masse requires a certain level of strategy. If you’re trying to book dinner for a large group (more than six people) or are planning a special event, we’ve found a selection of restaurants that can welcome a crowd.
The French have had a love affair with chocolate since 1615, when Anne of Austria (confusingly, actually Spanish) married Louis XIII of France and packed cocoa beans for drinking chocolate in her Paris-bound valise. 400 years later, French chocolates are some of the finest in the world and among the best souvenirs to take home.
The giant madeleine door handle and the tiny seashell shaped sweets printed on the wallpaper are a good indicator of what lies within. The classic childhood treat is here elevated to a work of art in a variety of flavors. Delicately perfumed with crisp, buttery edges, the lemon glazed and salted caramel were particularly excellent. Madeleines were invented in Alsace where pastry chef Gilles Marchal hails from, and, while his are more expensive than most, they’re superlative within their category. It’s no surprise given that Marchal was the pastry chef for a number of years at Le Bristol, Plaza Athénée, and La Maison du Chocolat before striking out to open his own neighborhood bakery. The madeleines might be the stars of the show, but there are numerous other options including breakfast pastries, after school snacks, an ice cream cart in summer, and artfully presented tarts, such as a piquant lemon tart garnished with meringue cigarettes. There’s even occasionally a solid gluten-free option in the form of a “sacher cake” which resembles a chocolatey tiramisu. There’s no space to sit so plan on taking your pastries to-go and snacking on the steps of Sacre-Coeur.
— Catherine Down, September 2015
Selected addresses for gluten-free goods:
Thank You, My Deer – It’s a silly name but they’re serious about gluten-free goods, good coffee, and good service. This little café bakes their own doughy bread, has soups, salads & sandwiches for lunch, and more involved fare like homemade gluten-free ravioli or potato gnocchi for dinner. Brunch with homemade waffles and other items available on the weekends.
Chambelland – An excellent gluten-free bakery that specializes in crusty rice/buckwheat breads using flour from their own mill in Provence. A selection of cakes, tarts and even gluten-free chouquettes are available at this trendy café that your wheat-eating friends won’t even realize is gluten-free.
Ob-La-Di might be the most Instagrammed café of the 2015 rentrée, but there’s real substance at this stylish spot in the Haut Marais. Most of the baked goods are made in-house, and many of them manage to be vegan and gluten-free, and still actually taste good. Coffee is expertly prepared with Lomi beans by Lloyd, formerly of Boot Café, who also curates a killer playlist most days. Creative offerings include an affogato made with cookie dough ice cream, horchata, a vegetarian burger, and avocado toast that is worth an eye-popping €9 price tag due to the homemade purple potato bread and chimichurri sauce, plus pomegranate seeds.
— Catherine Down, September 2015
An Absolute Favorite
The Champs-Élysées is one of the most historic and beautiful promenades in all of Paris. Chestnut trees line the streets, as do some of the best (and most astronomically expensive) restaurants in the city, but the high-rent real estate also means that there is an abundance of large, mediocre multinational chain restaurants. It's slim pickings, but these are our pickings for what's actually worth seeking out along la plus belle avenue du monde.
It's truffle season in Paris, and the knobby tubers are turning up on restaurant menus all over town. Many people, however, don't know their Alba from their elbow, and can't understand why a kilo of fungus might sell for thousands of euros. Are are some basics, with a little help from truffle maven Patricia Wells.