Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Essentials for the first time visitor to Paris

John Talbott

Recommended Posts

Essentials for the first time visitor to Paris:

What you always wanted to know, but were too……

Publications about restos:


Patricia Wells’ Food Lover’s Guide to Paris – dated (1999) but still valuable

Emmanuel Rubin Gourmet Paris: What to Eat Where, Dish by Dish





Lebey Bistro

Gault Millau. “A great guidebook to restaurants & hotels, but you can’t really get any of it over the net you have to buy it for 29 Euro. My advice – don’t bother.” Dave Hatfield




oMni/Omnivore – for cutting edge stuff


Figaroscope in Wednesday’s Figaro also much is online

A Nous Paris available Tuesday AM in the subway only


Figaro, Saturday regularly, other days sporadically

Other, web-based

Best Restaurants of Paris – “incomplete, but you can make reservations online” hshiau

List of dining resources FoodMuse

General information:

Via Michelin “The first place to turn; The famous restaurant reviews are just the start. Both red & Green guides are on the site as well as maps and route planning.” Dave Hatfield

Bonjour Paris for “great Paris articles and great overview of all that Paris has to offer” FoodMuse

SlowTravel for “trip reports, hotel reviews, and how to order in a cafe.” hughw

SlowTravel User Forum (“like this one”) hughw

Paris e-guide “which is both a book and a website” – “There's a lot of info on restaurants, streetlife, art and architecture, hotels, bars, clubs, etc. I found it very helpful.” PatyGirl

TimeOut Paris guide another on line and as a book – “but found that the information isn't always that accurate” PatyGirl

The Paris convention and business bureau – “incomplete but some great links and a good place to start” hshiau

The Wine Geek's Guide to Paris Vinotas's 32 pages on everything from hotels to transportation (see right column).

Heather's Secrets of Paris! hshiau

Provence Beyond – “Great info for traveling all around France, not just Paris. I use it mainly for the maps and dictionary.” hshiau


Paris apartments

Small, romantic, centrally located, quiet, inexpensive hotels

Paris Net – “cheap apartments & hotels” hshiau

Craig’s List – “I found a lovely girl in paris who was willing to swap her little studio for my apartment in New York. I was able to spend the money I might have spent on a hotel on food!” FoodMuse

See also the compendium (below)

Gites de France publishes both regional (eg Brittany, Normandy) guides as well as national guides in French called Chambres et Tables d'hôtes + Chambres d'Hôtes de Charme (charm and character are code words = nice) each December; the last one, published by Federation Nationale des Gites de France in English is called French Country Welcome is quite dated (1992).

Logis de France. “Lots & lots of mid range hotels with restaurants all over the country. Their ‘chimney’ rating system is accurate in my experience. If they say the food is good you can pretty much count on it. A couple of tips; be careful when trying to book online directly with the hotel.” Dave Hatfield

Silence hotels. “This excellent guide to an association of small independently owned restaurant/hotels is our favorite.” Dave Hatfield

Relais et Chateau guide “of top places. Expect to pay, but mostly you do get what you are paying for. The majority of these establishments have upscale restaurants.” Dave Hatfield


The weather bureau. Dave Hatfield


Chic shopping blog hshiau


Description of a few Paris markets FoodMuse

See also the compendium (below)

Walking and eating

Paris Access

Slow Walks in Paris

Paris Walks

Frommer's Walking Tours

Michelin Green Guide

The French national walking club “France is one of the world’s great countries for walking. What better way to settle all of the wonderful food.” Dave Hatfield

Museums, Exhibitions, Sites, Music, Theater etc (1st two have times)

Figaroscope with much online


GoGo Paris In English, each week, “edgy” stuff

Paris Notes – In English. Some things are free but to get the Calendar of Events (which is the best there is) one must subscribe

Bonjour Paris – In English, again some information is free.

Museums of Paris Great if you know where you want to go.

Discover France Museums, Parks, Gardens

Discover Paris Sightseeing

plus the official websites of tourism offices – see below

Official Office of Tourism sites


Ile de France

TripAdvisor – “lots of information and reviews. Take all reviews with a grain of salt.” hshiau


Trips Outside Paris

Beyond "Another good site and not just for Provence. Good restaurant reviews and other useful information. Especially useful is their pretty comprehensive food dictionary both French to English & English to French." Dave Hatfield

Michelin Green Guides

Virtual Tourist. “Lots of information from individuals. Many restaurant reviews. The quality varies a lot, but the write ups have the advantage of being from real people many of whom can be contacted for follow up.” Dave Hatfield

Slow travel “Lots of user contributed restaurant reviews as well as other information. Read the reviews with care, they’re not all by eGullet type of folks. There is also a useful forum on the site.” Dave Hatfield

Provence-Cote d'Azur

Planning a Gastronomic Tour Dave Hatfield

See also our compendium on Cities, Towns and areas outside Paris below


France Festivals “all over the country. Not comprehensive, but a good overall guide.” Dave Hatfield

See also our compendium on Fetes/Festivals below

Holidays you might not expect

Check restaurants and transportation and other services’ schedules

Restaurants usually adhere to their weekly openings and closings

Date varies - Good Friday & Easter Monday – some folks may take a long weekend

May 1 – May Day, eg Labor Day

May 8 - Victory (WWII) Day

May 17 in 2007 (check each year) - Ascension Day

May 27 in 2007 – Pentacost - supposedly given up to support the care of the elderly

July 14 - the fete nationale – known in the US as Bastille Day

August 15 - Assumption Day

August 25 – Paris liberated (WWII) “by itself” – nice little reinactments

November 11 - Armistice Day – nice little commemorations, esp in the country


SNCF trains

RATP – Paris metro/bus in English – “Door to Door directions for Paris. Type in your starting and ending address and get detailed metro and bus directions. This was invaluable on my trip.” FoodMuse

To buy Paris metro cards at JFK airport before your trip. FoodMuse

Night time bus info FoodMuse

Michelin Route Planner


#11 Michelin Paris Atlas 1 cm:100 m – the “old version” is currently out of print but the new version, longer and thinner must suffice

Paris Par Arrondissement – many swear by this, I do not like the splits, however, it’s very useful for the suburbs

#2 RATP Grand Plan de Paris – has big maps of Metros/RERs and (on the other side) buses

Mappy – “Great for planning your walking or driving route through Paris and France. On the left side of the page enter starting address and where you'd like go.” FoodMuse

Michelin FRANCE Atlas Routier

All of the maps of France “you would ever want. Their service for ordering via the internet works very well.” Dave Hatfield

Maps of restaurants or food be found in certain areas (eg the Canal St Martin), or of certain types (steak frites, cheese), or in certain venues (museums, dept stores). Adrian Moore

A map of the city locating restaurants. Adrian Moore

Map of Paris restos, esp budget ones. Joe Knox

Restaurant location map

Budget places mjoeknox, initiator

Yellow and white pages

Yellow and White pages for France “type in your address and see photos of the street. Click A proximité under the listing to find nearby restaurants, boulangeries, patisseries. Fantastic resource!! It was so much fun to see photos of the street I'd be staying on.” FoodMuse

French Yellow pages. “Fear not if your French is not that great. The English version is amazingly good and easy to navigate once you get used to it. Here you have addresses & phone numbers for all of the restaurants, hotels, gites & chambre d’Hôtes in a given area. This is not to mention maps and in most cases aerial photographs.” Dave Hatfield

Yellow pages with photos of buildings in French

Locations, directions, photos in English

Translation French-English

Slow Travel Glossary

French Culinary terms

Patricia Wells’ Food Glossary

Chocolate & Zuccini's glossary

France Beyond Food Dictionary

A-Z of French Food: Dictionnaire Gastronomique: Francais-Anglais outrageously priced on Amazon.com, reasonable at Brentano’s

Food and Menu Pocket Translator

Food translation “a very useful site. I’ve pointed you at the food translation pages which are very useful, but there is much else of interest once you are on this site.” Dave Hatfield

Babel Fish

Free translation

Nice translation site. Dave Hatfield

Other dictionaries

Le Robert & Collins – best overall non-pocket dictionary

Le Petit Robert French-French

Le Robert Pour Tous – a French-French dictionary

Le Robert Dictionnaire de Synonymes et Contraires synonymes and antonyms

French spelling

How the critics work English notes on French critics’ books

Francois Simon

Gilles Pudlowski

Leo Fourneau aka Thierry Wolton



Money converter FoodMuse

Learning French

Free videos to help you learn to speak French FoodMuse

Eating, Shopping, Staying see compendia here

August open closed


Bars at which to eat


Boulangeries Bakeries


Brunch and breakfast


Cheap eats


Christmas, New Year's, holidays, fetes, etc. open/closed

Cities, towns and areas outside Paris

Confiseries Chocolatiers

Cooking Schools/Classes


Dining/Eating Alone/Solo

Fetes Festivals

Fromageries Cheese shops

Game, Gibiers

Gifts and Food - US-France France-US

Holiday eating

Housing, Rentals, Hotels

Inexpensive, student places

Late dinner & shopping

Lunch places

Marches markets

Mondays open closed

Paris Food by Arrondissement

Patisseries Pastry shops

Picnics in Paris

Private Rooms, Large Groups


Romantic meals, dinners and restaurants in Paris

Saturday openings

Stages, Stagiaires

Starred restaurants

Sunday Dining

Terrace Dining

Thé/tea Salons/Ceremonies/Purchase

Trip planning to France

Vegetarian, vegan, veggie friendly, etc.

Wine bars

Wine pronounciation

Wine tours and tasting

Acknowledgements: Dave Hatfield, Food Muse (Grace Piper), Felice (Phyllis Flick), Patygirl (Patricia), hughw and hshiau (Howard), Adrian Moore, Joe Knox as well as others.

Please post comments and suggestions for additions here. Thank you.

Edited by John Talbott (log)

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 9 months later...

Host's Note

I'm bumping this up simply to remind us that many of these pinned topics bear old dates but are periodically updated; for instance I just added our member Chocolate & Zucchini's Glossary of food terms for the first-time visitor to general information.

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Create New...