Where to Eat While Sightseeing in Paris
The top tourist attractions in Paris are some of the most famous in the world, which means plenty of crowds, so don't be afraid to walk a few minutes away for an excellent lunch. Museum cafés are a dependably delicious option, and top-rate coffee has become popular in Paris, as well, which will keep you going during long days. Whether you want a croissant on-the-go or a full Michelin-starred meal, you'll find exactly what you want to eat near the most beautiful museums, landmarks and cathedrals in the city.
IF YOU'RE NEAR THE LOUVRE MUSEUM
If you only have time to go to one museum in Paris, chances are that it will be the Louvre. It's a massive institution with an extraordinary amount of art, which means you will be starving by the time you leave. The museum complex itself has great options with Le Café Marly (Cour Napoleon) and Loulou at Les Arts Décoratifs (107 Rue de Rivoli), which both have lovely outdoor seating options in good weather.
Stop for breakfast on the way in at Claus (14-15 Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau), which specializes in le petit dejeuner, or Telescope Café (5 Rue Villedo), a favorite of coffee connoisseurs. If you need an afternoon pick-me-up, satisfy your sweet tooth with the legendary hot chocolate at Angelina (226 Rue de Rivoli) or select a tart at Sebastien Gaudard (1 Rue des Pyramides). For a more leisurely lunch, pick from two restaurants that face each other—Ellsworth (34 Rue de Richelieu), which has gained a reputation for its fried chicken, or Juveniles (47 rue de Richelieu), which is a classic Paris wine bar.
IF YOU'RE NEAR THE EIFFEL TOWER
The Eiffel Tower literally towers over Paris, but as omnipresent as it is in the skyline, there's nothing like going to see it up close. Set in a park just off the Seine, the restaurant scene around the landmark is constantly evolving. You can enjoy a Michelin-starred meal at Les Fables de la Fontaine (131 Rue Saint-Dominique) or enjoy fine dining with a view at Les Ombres on the top of the Musée Quai Branly (27 Quai Branly). You can choose from chef Christian Constant's offerings with Les Cocottes Tour Eiffel (135 Rue Saint-Dominique) and Café Constant (139 Rue Saint-Dominique) conveniently located next door to each other (but with different menus!). Grab a strong coffee at Terres de Café (67 Avenue de la Bourdonnais), and then settle into the recently renovated L'Ami Jean (27 Rue Malar) for a hearty meal capped with its famous rice pudding for the table.
You can also choose to view the Eiffel Tower from the Trocadero across the river, which offers a prime photo opp. Once you've crossed to the Right Bank, walk to the Palais de Tokyo for a meal at the new and buzzy Les Grands Verres (13 Avenue du Président Wilson).
IF YOU'RE NEAR NOTRE DAME
The Notre Dame Cathedral began construction in the 12th century and has become the most famous Gothic cathedral dating from the Middle Ages. Its place on the Ile de la Cité may come as a surprise to visitors, and while there aren't as many choices on the small island itself, you are perfectly situated to choose from the Left or Right Banks for your meal. Paris's most iconic ice cream can be found on the next island over at Berthillon (29-31 Rue Saint-Louis en l'ile), or you can satisfy your sweet tooth with a cream puff at Odette (77 Rue Galande). On the Left Bank, you can try the elegant, Michelin-star holder Itinéraires (5 Rue de Pontoise). If you can't splash out for dinner at Tour D'Argent, you can stop into the venerable restaurant's new bakery, Le Boulanger de la Tour, across the street (2 Rue de Cardinal Lemoine).
On the Right Bank, you can go classic and sit outside for a bistro meal at Chez Julien (1 Rue du Pont Louis-Philippe). If you want something lighter, you can try the healthy fare at Café Pinson (6 Rue de Forez) or grab a well-brewed coffee and beloved waffles at Le Peleton Café (17 Rue du Pont Louis Phillipe). For a cozy dinner (and a break from French food), try the global-inflected menu at Pamela Popo (15 Rue François Miron).
IF YOU'RE NEAR THE ARC DE TRIOMPHE
Standing at the western end of the Champs-Élysées, the Arc de Triomphe is positioned in the center of the Place Charles de Gaulle, which connects twelve radiating avenues. The Champs-Élysées offers both the super-high end and the lower-brow in terms of restaurants, but Le Drugstorestands out for its newly renovated dining room design by Tom Dixon (133 Avenue des Champs-Élysées). Further down the avenue, you can have high tea at Ladurée—pick up macarons to bring home on the way out. (75 Avenue des Champs-Élysées)
For the see and be seen experience, head to L'Avenue, located near some of the world's best-known luxury boutiques (41 Avenue Montaigne). Bread and Roses is a respite from the bustle for lunch—try the framboise tarte if they have it. (25 Rue Boissy d'Anglas) Or stop into the Jacquemart-André Museum and head to the café for a light lunch surrounded by a lavish interior space (158 Boulevard Haussmann). And for dinner, steak is famously the main event at Relais d'Entrecote (15 Rue Marbeuf).
IF YOU'RE NEAR SACRE COEUR
The Basilica of Sacre Coeur rises dramatically over the city on the hill of Montmartre (take the funicular up for a unique view of Paris). Montmartre has a reputation for being overly-touristy but a new wave of hip restaurants and bars is counter-acting that. Hardware Societé is an Instagram darling for its photogenic food and latte art (10 Rue Lamarck), while nearby Soul Kitchen offers a light touch with plenty of vegetarian options (33 Rue Lamarck). Poulet-lovers will want to go to Le Coq Rico, which specializes in perfectly done poultry (98 Rue Lepic). Finish with a beautiful pastry from Patisserie Gilles Marchal (9 Rue Ravignan).
A short cab ride or a steep walk will place you in nearby buzzy Pigalle, where restaurant options abound. Buvette brings Jody William's pitch-perfect French bistro from NYC to Paris with all-day options (28 Rue Henry Monnier), while Rose Bakery is a delicious lunch spot with noteworthy tea cakes for dessert (46 Rue des Martyrs). Pink Mamma is the latest from the Big Mamma group, offering steak and Italian favorites in a greenhouse-like space (20bis Rue de Douai). If you just want a quick snack to keep you going, stop into top-notch patisserie Arnaud Delmontel (39 Rue des Martyrs).