Thursday, January 24, 2013

Dining in Paris

One of my absolute favorite aspects of Paris is the food.  I have always been a lover of French cuisine {in particular the cheese, pastries, and wine}.  I dined on some of the best meals of my life during my three weeks in Paris, but not every meal was outstanding.  Initially when I traveled to Paris with my boyfriend we were hesitant to use any of the guidebook recommendations as we were worried they would be "tourist traps."  We planned on getting lost in tiny alleyways and stumbling across the perfect Parisian bistro {where preferably we were the only English speakers}.  However, this plan didn't work so well for us, so after a few overpriced and overrated meals we decided to use the list of restaurants I had made from my earlier research that included guidebooks, blogs, Bon Appetit, Tripadvisor, and a Parisian friend's recommendations.  I have to say this was the best idea ever, and once we did a little research we were hitting the French food jackpot.  There are a few reasons why I think it is crucial to do a bit of restaurant research prior to arriving in Paris:

Everyone who goes to Paris comes back raving about the food.  This gives you the expectation that every meal will be truly top-notch, so when this isn't the case it is much more disappointing than if you were served an average meal at a restaurant back home.  Because so much of what makes Paris special is the food, it is just that much more important to make sure you choose the places you will be eating carefully.

Initially when we arrived in Paris I following my rule of thumb of picking the restaurant that was the busiest...but many times once we were seated we realized most of our fellow diners were tourists.  A better rule of thumb is to pick places where the majority of patrons there speak French, and to steer clear of restaurants that are in close proximity to famous monuments {however this is easier said than done because you seem to stumble across one every few blocks in central Paris}!

Paris is HUGE and is littered with restaurants.  On many blocks you will find five or six restaurants side by side, all with very similar menus.  In a city with literally thousands upon thousands of restaurants the probability is that there will be good ones {LOTS of them} but there will also be bad ones.  There were nights where we were completely overwhelmed with the plethora of options and kept saying "this place looks good, but let's keep walking and see what else there is" until it was 10:30PM and due to our insatiable hunger we finally succumbed into picking the next bistro we came upon.  It can also be a bit overwhelming looking on Tripadvisor and seeing over 5,000 restaurants, so that's why doing some research prior to your trip can save you stress {and precious vacation time} while you are in Paris.  

Going to a highly acclaimed restaurant does not have to break the bank.  I noticed that some of my favorite restaurants were less expensive {and infinitely more special} than many of the places that we stumbled upon.  I would highly recommend before your trip to Paris doing a bit of research about restaurants - I can almost guarantee it will reward you with some of the most delicious food {and memories} you have ever experienced!

PS - Because I'm just not ready to stop thinking about Paris, tomorrow I will be telling you some of my favorite eateries in the City of Light!

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  1. ugh, so jealous of all your travels! i wish we were dining in the restaurant above, right now!

  2. amazing pictures :) xxx

  3. You are making me hungry! Need fresh croissant NOW!