Paris: The 5 Basic Food Groups

Many who visit Paris will want to indulge by dining at fancy, Michelin-rated restaurants. We’ve splurged instead on short trips to Normandy and to England and found that it’s tough to get a bad meal in Paris. In the process, Paris has given us a new set of the 5 food groups for basic sustenance. Plus, we’ve included a bonus item.


The French spin butter into croissants. That’s become our staple breakfast, along with a bit of fresh fruit. If you’re in Paris, we recommend sampling croissants from a variety of boulangeries and patisseries, as there are usually several in the neighborhood. While the former focuses on bread products (and often has a selection of sandwiches) and the latter focuses on fancy sweets, we’ve found that both often carry croissants.



Bread. Pick up a baguette on your way home. Nibble on slices that waitstaff bring to your table. Oh my, the butter too! Or cheese with your bread. Seriously, French bread can sustain you. The cheese, tomato, and egg sandwiches we’ve had from boulangeries in Paris and in Normandy have been fantastic, in part because the mayonnaise here is awesome. Also, Dijon mustard is the real thing here.

bread  breadcheese



We’ve come to appreciate wine since moving to California, and we have our favorites, leaning toward the drier reds. We’re no experts, but we had a good Bordeaux with dinner at Cafe Louis on Boulevard Exelmans. The wine at the grocery store is excellent for the price, and we especially like a Languedoc we found there.



L’Empire on Boulevard Exelmans is the closest restaurant to our apartment, so that’s our go-to for going out. The salmon tartar–think poke stack–is really good and complements the bread well. The French fries are amazing! We’ve sampled the frites elsewhere in Paris as well and concluded that you can’t go wrong ordering fries in Paris. These, however, remain our favorite frites.



We’ve sampled fruit tarts and flan. We’ve tasted cheesecake like never before, with an amazing real-cheese flavor and yummy crust. You’d think we’d have more dessert photos to share, but it’s tough to snap one before the dessert disappears. Even the store-bought dark chocolate sandwich cookies are really good. Here’s Doug’s family enjoying a creme brulée.


Bonus: Entrées of all varieties

Paris is a city of many cuisines in addition to traditional French fare, and our schedule has been such that we tend to stop for a convenient meal instead of seeking out a specific restaurant.

Su Misura is the Italian restaurant on the corner of Avenue Rapp, which we walk from the Alma Marceau metro stop, and rue de Général Camou, where The American Library in Paris is situated. Doug had smoked salmon, and Anna had ricotta and spinach tortellini in a light, buttery sauce. Our meals were delicious!

We highly recommend Cafe Mars on rue Augereau. The chef hails from California and makes a terrific veggie burger, in addition to a variety of entrées. The library staff favor the hypocrite burger, which is a veggie burger with bacon. And the potatoes are cooked in duck fat. This place is definitely requires saving room for dessert–go for the chocolate cake or maybe the cheesecake with berries or the figs doused with thick cream.

salmon  Pasta.jpg  cafemars

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