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What are your must-see places and must-try restaurants in Paris?

Hi, we'll be in Paris at the end of May, and we're overwhelmed by the extensive lists in travel books of "must see's" in Paris, along with lists of restaurants to try (not the wildly expensive kind). Suggestions? We don't eat shellfish, such as oysters and shrimp, or pork, so great shellfish and pork on the menu is not an enticement for us. And we try to stay away from rich, creamy stuff too for obvious reasons (like waistlines).

Thanks for any hints you care to offer, Mickey

Posted by
1724 posts

Must sees_ the towers of Notre Dame--get in line 30 minutes before it opens. Luxembourg Gardens and the Cluny Museum are also on our list of favorites. Other than that, carefully planned walks for people watching and soaking up the ambiance. Our favorite restaurant was Montebello on Quai Montebello---simple food, modestly priced, and the outdoor seating has views of Notre Dame.

Posted by
320 posts


For a great take on Paris and many detailed restaurant reviews (representing everything from haute-cuisine to comfy corner bistros) take a look David Lebovitz's blog on his life in Paris. Have fun.

Posted by
11 posts

Thanks for the tips. The David Lebovitz blog has some great suggestions (as well as places we'd want to avoid). Much appreciated!

Posted by
711 posts

We love to go to the outdoor markets. There are almost too many to count. My favorites are the President Wilson market and the Saxe Breteuil Market. If you want the times and metro stops send me a private message. We like to get our lunches there .We also love the Porte de Vanves brocante market. They have everything French.. from old wooden teeth to lovely oil paintings.This may seem weird, but the cemeteries are really neat.... Pere la Chaise and others.

Posted by
245 posts

Saint-Chapelle on a sunny day - and then at night for a concert. Place des Vosges in the Marais. People often overlook the Roman arena - Arenes de Lutece.

But the best part is just the wandering around.

Posted by
180 posts

Hi Muriel:

In terms of restaurants-- you won't have any problems, there are a million places to eat in paris, and they all post their menus outside, so you can take a peek and see if you're interested.

In terms of prices, most places offer a fixed price dinner option every night (3 courses) which is very reasonable.

I love the marais, Ile St. Louis, the Jewish Quarter (best falafel in the world!!) and the left bank.

My favorite thing to do in Paris is get off the tourist path, sit in a cafe, with an espresso or a glass of wine, and just watch life go by...

Jealous of your trip! Enjoy!

Posted by
875 posts

Chez Calde on 54, rue St. Andre des Arts is a favorite place of ours. The owner changes the menu daily using whatever is best and freshest at the market each morning. Amazing quality and very reasonable prices. Close to Place St. Michel just off the Seine. We stay in an apt on St. Andre des Arts because there are so many great shops and restaurants/cafes in the 6th arrondissement.
We love museums but have to space them out -- this year it was the Louvre. We skipped the Orsay, one of our faves, because of the major renovations taking place. Luxembourg gardens are beautiful; the Cluny Museum is fascinating. If you like Impressionist art, be sure to visit the Marmotten for the Monets.

You and your husband will just have to decide what kinds of things you really like before you'll be able to decide what to go see. Don't go see anything just because it was on a recommended list if it is something you're not interested in. Paris has so many wonderful things to offer, you are sure to find many things that should interest you both.

Posted by
47 posts

Do you like art? Do you like history? Do you like bones? I've been taking groups to Paris for six years now, and it is hard to go wrong with any of the main attractions. In two and a half days, we do:
Top of the Eiffel Tower
Top of Arc de Triomphe
Sacre Couer
Notre Dame
Latin Quarter

(high energy group, or maybe crazy tour director, but nobody complains!)

sometimes Pantheon
sometimes Invalides
sometimes Carnavalet (fits well with a visit to the Jewish Quarter for lunch)

Food is easy to find - you don't need to seek out certain restaurants. If you want to try something specific, such as the best falafel you'll ever eat (Jewish Quarter), then do your research beforehand and make that part of your plan for the day. If you want a decent meal, large portion, quick and easy, try some of the self serve restaurants (Monte Carlo half block down Champs Elysee from Arc De Triomphe is always filled with locals / on Rue de Rivoli right across from Tuileries(near Louvre)has more tour groups than locals, but very good cheap food - not great ambience though!)

Have fun.

Posted by
54 posts

A favourite restaurant of mine is "La Framboissy" on Rue Charlemagne in the Marais. Take the metro to St Paul, walk up Rue St Paul and right into Rue Charlemagne. Small family restaurant with a great chef and frequented by the locals. Loved it.