Paris: eat and stay

Paris is the world’s most visited city. With a population comparable to Perth of 2.2 million, Paris attracts around 27 million visitors per year, or if you include the region, 44 million. Blimey, that’s a lot of ‘étrangère’ in the city. You’d think that the French would have a reputation for welcoming visitors given there are so many and that it’s obviously a major economic driver for the capital.

Paris is divided into numbered neighbourhoods. Saint Germain is the 6th. Some say it’s off the beaten track, not so touristy, but really, it was very touristy.  It is also known for having lots of little French bistros and great cafes. Not anymore. It’s full of tourist traps, so research is required if you want to eat well, which of course is what we wanted!

We used a mix of websites to guide us on where to eat in Paris:

Like all big cities, the best restaurants get fully booked, so it’s best to make a reservation. We found that each time we called a restaurant, the person on the other end spoke English. Quite helpful really given my French is limited to cafe au lait, s’il vous plait, and merçi.


Paris is expensive, make no mistake. Even the ‘cheap’ hotels are expensive. We stayed in a gorgeous boutique hotel in Saint Germain, thinking we were choosing a less touristy neighbourhood. Now that I know 27 million people visit Paris each year, perhaps there’s no such thing as a less touristy neighbourhood?

Our hotel, La Villa Saint Germain, was in a terrific location for walking to city’s sights. It was also close to the very efficient and user friendly metro – the Saint Germain stop.

The room was fairly small, but gorgeously decorated and comfortable. The bed was large, comfortable and fitted with quality linen, and we had a fabulous rain shower in the bathroom. It’s the best shower we’ve had on this trip thus far.


Little luxurious touches like free bottles of water on arrival, use of slippers and robes made it feel extra special. There was also free wifi which used a registration system with hard to remember login and passwords that had to be reset after four hours usage, and entered each time our devices were used. A slight annoyance. The layout of the room was a little strange in that the separate toilet was near the entrance, not near the bathroom. Hardly a deal breaker. Breakfast was charged at an additional 22 euro per person per day, which we declined. The staff were very friendly and helpful.

La Villa Saint Germain
29 rue Jacob, 75006 Paris
+33 1 43 2 66 000


The thought of eating out in Paris conjures up images of cute little bistros, gorgeous wine bars, cafes filled with chic women wearing over sized sunglasses, and gorgeous food everywhere you turn. Having learned our lesson in Nice, we did our research rather than just lobbing up to the first cute bistro we came across (and there are many in Paris).  Our research told us:

  • Saint Germain, the Latin Quarter and Paris in general is filled with tourist trap bistros serving below average expensive food
  • A meal for two with wine at a bistro would generally cost us 100 euro on average
  • There aren’t many restaurants recommended by foodies in Saint Germain

We did, however, find a couple worth telling you about:

Terroir Parisien, owned by well regarded local chef Yannick Alléno who earned three Michelin stars for his restaurant Le Meurice, is about serving traditional Parisien dishes using the best local produce. This was our favourite restaurant in Paris. You can read my review about it here.

French onion soup

French onion soup

Another restaurant that looked good according to Michelin and Time Out was La Ferrandaise. The owner sources a special breed of cow, ferrandaise, for the beef in the restaurant. The prices are reasonable and the quality of the food is good. The quantity of food in each serve had Zorba the Greek in a flap. As the dutiful wife, I gave him what little I had left of my fish dish so the man would be fed. The service was terrible. Not so much for the other patrons, but we were somewhat ignored. Still, for a bottle of wine, three courses each and sparkling water, our bill came to a very reasonable 94 Euro. It was our least favourite dining experience in Paris, despite the good food. There just wasn’t enough of it and the service was bordering rude.

Terroir Parisien – Maison De La Mutualité 
20 r. St-Victor 75005 Paris 05
Tel: +33144315454

La Ferrandaise
8 r. de Vaugirard 75006 Paris 06
Tel: +33143263636

Patisseries: The Ladurée

The Ladurée is a famous patisserie that first opened on Champs Elysées in 1997. Now there are found across Europe. The beautiful window displays are enough to entice anyone in.

We also had breakfast in the gorgeous cafe. Gold-rimmed pastel coloured tea cups and saucers and silver jugs and tea pots were standard wares. Sadly, the scrambled eggs were mush, probably because they were stirred to much when cooking. The consistency was like lumpy porridge. The bacon was a bit ‘meh’ too. It didn’t help that their coffee machine was broken.  However, that forced me to choose a hot chocolate instead that was divine – silky and thick, it coated my entire mouth and felt completely luscious.

But the patisserie is where this place shines. Neat rows of colourful macrons, beautifully displayed sweet temptations including eclairs, mille feuilles, and profiteroles adorned the glass display. We had an eclair each – mine coffee and Zorba’s chocolate, and

Ladurée Bonaparte
21 rue Bonaparte, 75006 Paris
Tel: +33 (0)1 44 07 64 87

Other cuisines and our great find

Paris is known as a cultural melting pot, and as such, there are plenty of good restaurants of cuisines other than French.

On our last night in Paris, fed up with having to research where to eat so we weren’t throwing away good money on a bad meal, our indecisiveness left us little option. It was 9.45pm and the restaurant we wanted to go to had closed their kitchen. Walking up and down the streets of Saint Germain and the Latin Quarter, our moods were deteriorating. We decided to just get some cheese and bread from the supermarket and make that our dinner. We walked to Monoprix, arriving at 10pm, and it too was closing. The security guard was not going to let us in no matter how much I pleaded. Frustrated beyond belief and swearing at Paris with every step, we walked past a neat looking Lebanese restaurant.

Zorba loves Lebanese food, as do I. I could eat mezze every day and be happy. We stopped and looked in. I suggested we go there and just have hummus, babaganoush, tabouleh and pitta bread.  How much could they stuff up those things?

As it turned out, Assanabel, this little Lebanese restaurant served some of the tastiest Arabic food I’ve had. It was a perfectly light dinner and cheap, which is saying something. We didn’t have wine, just sparkling water. We also had falafels that were crisp on the outside and moist inside. Our bill came to less than 32 Euro. A surprise find and a real winner.


Terroir Parisien – Maison De La Mutualité
20 r. St-Victor 75005 Paris 05
Tel: +33144315454

La Ferrandaise
8 r. de Vaugirard 75006 Paris 06
Tel: +33143263636

Ladurée Bonaparte
21 rue Bonaparte, 75006 Paris
Tel: +33 (0)1 44 07 64 87

38 Rue Jacob, 75006 Paris, Francia

+33 1 42 96 89 85

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4 thoughts on “Paris: eat and stay

  1. Pingback: Best food market in Paris | Travelletto

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  3. Ayman

    Good to know about Assanabel !! After 4 weeks in EU I will miss my lebanese food so will try Assanabel which turned out to be just a walking distance from where I will be staying 🙂

    1. Travelletto Post author

      It’s nothing flash Ayman, but their hummus and babaganoush were some of the best we had. We just had meze so hopefully their other dishes are just as tasty. Best of all, it’s open late x

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