Fabulous Food and Drink in Paris
Paris is a world centre for gastronomy and you'll be spoilt for choice in good restaurants around the city.
Obviously, in a city of Paris's size cuisine from all over the world is on offer but French food dominates menus throughout the city. Traditional French fare revolves around fine fresh ingredients served up in delicate sauces - the greatest element in French cuisine. The areas in the centre with the best choices include the streets north of the Louvre, especially around the Palais Royal and the Rue St-Honore, and the Marais. On the Rive Gauche, St-Germain-des-Pres has the most chic selection while the Latin Quarter boasts a good range. Bute aux Cailles (13e) has a predominance of food from the Southwest of France, while Rue de la Gaiete (14e) and Mouffetard (5e) are both good areas for traditional cuisine.
In particularly touristy areas like the Champs-Elysees, the area around the Centre Pompidou/Forum des Halles and the Latin Quarter you'll find a plethora of cheap, basic restaurants offering bargain tourist menus. By French standards these places tend to serve mediocre to bad food, so try to avoid them - just a short walk away you should be able to find something more genuinely Parisian.
Paris restaurants will generally take orders at lunchtime between 12h00 and 14h00, and in the evening between 19h00 and 22h30. Bistros, brasseries and cafes, which most often serve simpler food than restaurants but offer a lot of traditional French dishes, often have longer opening hours. Always book ahead for good restaurants at weekends and note that many places are closed Sunday evening and Monday.
Paris's numerous cafe-bars define the city. It is in the city's cafes that coteries of great Parisian thinkers such as Derrida and Sartre formed their philosophies in conversation and camaraderie - Victor Hugo being moved to write that "loafing" in the city's cafes was an essential characteristic of being a Parisian.
Even today it is in the cafes that modern day Parisians relax, do business and fall in and out of love - this is one of the world's most romantic cities after all. From the smokiest drinking den to the finest pavement cafe and through to the ultra modern bar, cafe-bars are integral to any experience of Paris.
Suzain Allen is a travel consultant and she has years of experience in travel industry. She in now sharing her views about river cruise in Paris.
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