Paris is one of my absolute favorite places to travel to because of the stunning architecture, beautiful shops, and of course the amazing food. When I am traveling, I always like to have the local cuisine and try new foods. However, that doesn't mean that my focus on nutrition goes completely out the window, and it doesn't have to for you either!
French food is notorious for having a lot of butter, cream, and pastries, but it is also full of incredible tasting vegetables, fruit, high-quality cheeses, seafood, and more. I recommend going to the restaurants where the food is good, and then making conscious decisions about the menu when ordering.
Something I love to do is share a dish that may not be as nutrient dense with someone else so that I am not depriving myself and still get to have all of the delicious items, but am eating smaller portions of them. That way you can also order some of the healthier items to make sure your body gets what it needs to feel your best and fully enjoy your vacation. Trust me, some of the "healthy" items are just as delicious as the indulgent ones! I can never get over how much more flavorful all fruits and vegetables in Europe are compared to the US!
So without further ado, let's jump right in to some of my favorite places to eat in Paris!
One of the new French foods I tried this trip was escargot (snails), and I ended up loving them! Of all the places I tried them, Les Antiquaries was definitely my favorite! If you have never tried snails, think of them as kind of like the texture of clams or mushrooms with a lot of butter, garlic, and pesto. I also opted for a lighter pasta for my entree and got the Linguine al Vongole (pasta with clams, tomatoes, white whine, garlic, and parsley with a bit of lemon squeezed on top) which was incredible! My mom ordered the Nicoise salad (mixed greens, tuna, olives, green beans, pepper, hard boiled egg, anchovies, and tomato), which I stole a bite or two of because it was also delicious.
Address: 13 Rue du Bac, 75007 Paris, France
This was the restaurant that made me fall in love with Leeks Vinaigrette Salad the first time I came here back in 2013, and it is still just as good now as it was then! I also loved the daily special, which was a fish and lemon tartare with frisée greens on top. This old-school bistro-brasserie is only a 10 minute walk from the Eiffel Tower, making it the perfect place to eat before going to take some pictures.
Address: 129 Rue Saint-Dominique, 75007 Paris, France
The first location of this restaurant is one of my favorite places to eat in New York City, and it was such a success that the owner then opened a second location in Paris. It is now also located in London, Tokyo, Seoul, and Mexico City. This was the first time I went to the Paris location, and it did not disappoint. My favorite dishes this trip were the smoked salmon spread which came with a citrus butter-lettuce salad, the ricotta toast with macadamia nuts, almonds, and honey, and the mixed green salad with walnuts and goat cheese. Buvette does change their menu regularly, but I am confident that whatever they are serving when you go there will be equally delicious!
Address: 28 Rue Henry Monnier, 75009 Paris, France
The owner of our Airbnb recommended this place for breakfast, and we were so glad that we went! We walked back to our apartment with several bags weighed down with multiple types of veggie quiches, a croissant, and apricot marmalade. It would be next to impossible to say which of the quiches were my favorite, and if we had enough meals we would have happily gone back here to try other things every day. Just next door is a patisserie with the same name that is full of beautiful pastries and desserts. While we never had time to go there, I am sure they are all delicious as well.
Address: 14 Rue Rambuteau, 75003 Paris, France
This bakery is inspired by Mediterranean cuisine, and all of their products are made with wheat-alternatives and are gluten free. While I only got coffee here as I did not have a free meal that wasn't already planned out, all of the food, and especially the sandwiches, looked delicious! They also had a large assortment of unique pastries you won't see in all of the bakeries throughout Paris.
Address: Multiple locations. See here.
If you have been following My Healthful Life for very long, you may have noticed that I have an obsession with cute, small grocery stores and produce stands. Not only does Europe seem to have the best ones, but they are everywhere!! One of my demands while planning this trip was to stop at some of these road-side markets and get fruit and cheeses to make a picnic breakfast. We went to one place to get a melon, strawberries, figs, and blackberries, and then went to a fromagerie to get goat cheese, brie, and cottage cheese. This ended up being our breakfast for a couple of the days that we had really early mornings, and it was perfect!
Located a bit outside of the main parts of Paris, you may only be near this restaurant if you are going to the antique market called the Marche aux Puces de Saint-Ouen (which I also highly recommend if you are an antique lover like me). However, this restaurant is definitely worth going to if you are in the area and was one of my favorite meals of the trip! The menu was packed with healthy options that all sounded amazing. I loved the warm goat cheese salad with figs as well as a juice with apple, carrot, and ginger.
Address: 32 Rue Paul Bert, 93400 Saint-Ouen-sur-Seine, France
If you are wanting a break from French food, I cannot recommend this Chinese bistro enough! But be warned... it is on the pricey side. This Michelin star restaurant only has a prix-fixe menu which includes multiple courses, so make sure to pace yourself (I lost track of how many courses we had, but it was definitely more than five). When you first sit down, they ask if you have any dietary restrictions or food allergies, and then they just start bringing the food. It was honestly kind of nice to not have to read through a menu and make impossible choices after doing just that at so many restaurants throughout the trip. Every single item I had was incredible, and I also highly recommend doing the tea-tasting option, where they provide a small amount of hot tea paired with each course.
Address: 121 Rue Saint-Honoré, 75001 Paris, France
This restaurant is also a bit of a splurge, but once again it is well worth it if you love seafood. My friends and I really wanted to get a seafood tower (plateau de fruits de mer) because it just seems like such a quintessential French thing to do, and we were so glad we chose to get it here. This restaurant opened in 1898 and has been in business for over 100 years for a good reason... their food is incredible. We shared one of the smaller options for the seafood tower (which contained 12 oysters, a full lobster, crab legs, several types of snails and shrimp, and more) as well as the raw octopus salad and fish carpaccio among four people. It was all incredible, but we definitely had leftovers!
Address: 108 Bd du Montparnasse, 75014 Paris, France
Full disclosure... we did not have time to stop at this restaurant during this trip. However, I have been here twice on other trips to Paris, and I love it so much that I had to include it. This gorgeous cafe is located right across from the famous Paris Opera House and has been in business since 1862. I have only ever been here for breakfast (and still have dreams about their scrambled eggs nearly 10 years later), but their lunch and dinner menus look incredible too.
Address: 5 Pl. de l'Opéra, 75009 Paris, France
Desserts and Sweets:
Even as a dietitian without much of a sweet tooth, I don't think you can truly do Paris without trying some of the incredible pastries, chocolates, and desserts the City of Lights has to offer. The biggest tip I can give is to choose those places wisely. What I mean by that is don't waste the calories and sugar on places and desserts that are just "so-so." Get the things that you know you are really going to enjoy.
If you are wanting classic Parisian sweets, I highly recommend Stohrer. Not only is it my favorite place for finding delicious desserts, but it is also the oldest pastry shop in all of Paris. The store, which opened in 1730, now has a few locations due to its success, but I recommend going to the original (Address: 51 Rue Montorgueil, 75002 Paris, France). My favorite things are the strawberry or raspberry tarts and the dark chocolate covered candied orange peels. You can thank me later!
Copains, mentioned above, also has plenty of delicious looking pastries that are gluten free!
Tip for Getting Around:
This little piece of advice is not only good in terms of health, but also in terms of seeing as much of Paris as you can - walk everywhere!!!
I try to walk to places as much as possible on every vacation I go on, but particularly for cities like Paris. Not only is it a great opportunity to get your body moving and sneak in some physical activity, but it is also the best way to see as much as possible. Most of my favorite shops in Paris were places that I just stumbled on while walking somewhere else. It is also so much easier to appreciate the beauty of a place and really take things in if you are not underground in the metro or zooming by in a taxi.
With that being said, make sure to bring comfortable walking shoes. I actually had to get a new pair of tennis shoes while in Paris because my loafers and boots were not cutting it. Just to give you and idea, there was not a single day on our trip that we walked less than 20,000 steps, and one day my phone even said we had walked over 32,000 steps!
If you choose to walk the city, make sure to do some stretching in the evening and try lying on your back with your legs straight up in the air for a few minutes to help minimize swelling. Also, make sure to do your research on whether places are safe to walk to or not. For Paris, we had heard that the 19th and 20th arrondissements are not the safest, so we did not go to those areas and took a taxi if we had to go through them.
I hope this list is helpful if you or someone you know is planning a trip to Paris! Please comment below if you have any questions or if you have any recommendations for where I should go the next time I am in Paris!