Paris Travel Tips from Lindsey Tramuta, Parisian Journalist

Conversations with Locals

Having lived in Paris for more than a decade, ailurophile Lindsey Tramuta is well-versed in the ins and outs of the city and chronicles her Parisian life on her blog. She is a writer for Condé Nast Traveler, Bon Appétit, and The New York Times. Lindsey talks about why you should skip Chartier, where to get the best pastries in Paris, and about the museum you can’t miss. 

about-lindsey

Photo: Lindsey Tramuta

What do you feel defines Parisian cuisine?

Parisian cuisine today isn’t hemmed in by Escoffier, heritage or ethnocentrism but rather an openness to outside influences and cultures. The food scene has never been so refreshingly diverse.

What is the one local dish you feel travellers can’t leave Paris without trying? 

As a pastry fanatic, I’m keen to cite a handful of exquisite desserts or treats. The chocolate and pistachio escargot from Du Pain et Des Idées, the Lily Valley from Carl Marletti, the ricotta cheesecake with seasonal fruit from Acide which is also available at Fou de Pâtisserie, the Ispahan croissant from Pierre Hermé, sablés from Bontemps Pâtisserie. As you can see, it’s impossible to narrow the selection to just one speciality!

What about your favourite restaurants?

Many of them are concentrated on the east side of town – Tannat, Le 52, Anahi, Le Richer, Café Méricourt, La Fontaine de Belleville. But I do have a few favourites elsewhere – Kitchen Ter(re) on the left bank and Balagan near the Tuileries Gardens to name a couple. 

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Café Méricourt. Photo: Lindsey Tramuta

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Kitchen Ter(re). Photo: Lindsey Tramuta

Name one Parisian dining etiquette most travellers miss

Making a concerted effort to speak French, at least greeting restaurant staff in French. It isn’t all that difficult to show them you’re trying your best.

What is one travel tip you would give to travellers heading to Paris?

Go beyond the obvious. My book dives into so many other neighbourhoods that are worth exploring. 

Name one best kept secret of Paris

The Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature. It’s in all the guidebooks and yet it never seems to earn the attention it deserves. It’s unusual, for one – it’s the hunting and nature museum. On top of that, it feels like a cabinet of animal curiosities. It’s fascinating! 

What do you feel are the most common misconceptions about Paris?

There are two – that it’s a city that never changes and that Parisians are unfriendly. I’ve had plenty of chilly service in London and New York! 

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Photo: Lindsey Tramuta

Name some tourist traps travellers should avoid in Paris

Please please please stay away from Chartier off the Grands Boulevards. Go to Bouillon Pigalle instead. Chartier has terrible quality food, comically poor service, but because it’s an institution, it still gets traction. 

What’s your favourite day trip to take from the city? 

I love going to Chantilly for the day, walking around the gardens and visiting the Château

What should travellers bring home with them from Paris?

Something French! The new gourmet food hall from Printemps department store, called Printemps Du Goût, offers a selection of 100% French products so you can be sure to take home something, whether it’s caramelised hazelnuts from the south of France or a small jar of regional honey, truly unique. 

 

WHERE TO EAT IN PARIS


Du Pain et Des Idées
Where: 34 Rue Yves Toudic, 75010 Paris, France
For: Chocolate and pistachio escargots

Acide Macaron
Where: 24 Rue des Moines, 75017 Paris, France
For: Ricotta cheesecakes with seasonal fruit

Carl Marletti
Where: 51 Rue Censier, 75005 Paris, France
For: The Lily Valley cake

Pierre Hermé
Where: 72 Rue Bonaparte, 75006 Paris, France (and others) 
For: Ispahan croissants

Bontemps Pâtisserie
Where: 57 Rue de Bretagne, 75003 Paris, France
For: Sablés

Tannat
Where: 119 Avenue Parmentier, 75011 Paris, France
For: French fusion food

Le 52
Where: 52 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis, 75010 Paris, France
For: Tradtional french food 

Anahi
Where: 49 Rue Volta, 75003 Paris, France
For: Argentinian food

Le Richer
Where: 2 Rue Richer, 75009 Paris, France
For: Bistro food

Café Méricourt
Where: 22 Rue de la Folie Méricourt, 75011 Paris, France
For: Brunch

La Fontaine de Belleville
Where: 31-33 Rue Juliette Dodu, 75010 Paris, France
For: Breakfast

Kitchen Ter(re)
Where: 26 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75005 Paris, France
For: Set menus

Balagan
Where: 9 Rue d’Alger, 75001 Paris, France
For: Shakshuka

Bouillon Pigalle
Where: 22 Boulevard de Clichy, 75018 Paris, France
For: French food
 

WHERE TO GO IN PARIS


Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature
Where: 62 Rue des Archives, 75003 Paris, France
For: Museums

 

Printemps Du Goût
Where: 21-25 Cours de Vincennes, 75020 Paris, France
For: Local French products
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Paris Travel Tips from Alex, Youtube Chef of French Guy Cooking

Conversations with Locals

Alexis Gabriel is the man behind the Youtube channel French Guy Cooking, where he showcases his food hacks and cheat sheets to classic French recipes. The witty Parisian reveals where to find the ultimate croissant, his favourite view of the city (it’s not from the Eiffel Tower), and what “l’art de vivre” is to him. 

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Photo: French Guy Cooking

 

What do you feel defines Parisian cuisine?

The Parisian cuisine has got to be associated with the restaurants. From a humble but decent café where you can have a sandwich at the counter, to a busy brasserie where you’ll get an entrecôte with french fries, then to a bistrot where you’ll be dining out of hearty modernised dishes, to finally a Michelin starred restaurant which will always remain a proud icon in our city.

What do you feel are the most common misconceptions about French food? 

People see French food as a posh, high-end and overcomplicated affair. And I believe it is not their fault but ours. Expensive ingredients, chef’s whites, the white table setting and expensive silverware can be appealing, but in my opinion it can be repulsive.

How is Parisian cuisine different from other parts of France?

Paris takes influences from all around the country, so you can taste many different and authentic French specialities in the city. But Paris also takes influences from all over the world. Being an international capital, this city sucks in all the latest food trends that can be found, be it from Asia, Africa or America.

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Photo: French Guy Cooking

 

Which parts of Paris is the best for food?

I believe the East of Paris, especially the 11th arrondissement, produces the best food. This is not based on any kind of fact, but on something arbitrary – I was born there! (laughs)

What are some local food you feel travellers can’t leave Paris without trying?

Don’t leave without trying a baguette; go for a traditional baguette. Also, the jambon-beurre sandwich, which is the most classic Parisian sandwich you’ll find. If you feel adventurous, go for the raw steak tartare.

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Pastrami and kalamata olives tapenade in traditional baguette. Photo: French Guy Cooking

 

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Jambon-beurre sandwich. Photo: French Guy Cooking

 

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French steak tartare. Photo: French Guy Cooking

 

What is a typical Parisian breakfast for you?

Croissant and coffee at the counter in a busy café.

Where are your favourite cafés in Paris for a good croissant?

When it comes to the almighty croissant, the best place would not be at a café, but at the most amazing boulangerie – Blé Sucré, located on 7 Rue Antoine Vollon.

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Photo: French Guy Cooking

 

Where are your favourite restaurants or cafés in Paris?

I’ll give you three of my favorite foodie streets in Paris. They are the Rue des Martyrs, located in the 9th arrondissement. It is a beautiful foodie street with plenty of places to eat but mostly takeaway.

Rue Paul Bert, located in the 11th arrondissement where you can find a few of the finest Parisian bistrots. For an authentic French meal, I would visit Bistrot Paul Bert on Paul Bert street.

Rue du Cherche-Midi, in the 6th arrondissement, where you can find many foodie spots and great Italian food as well. Let’s stay open minded shall we?

What do you feel most travellers miss out on when they are visiting Paris?

Tourists – and I can’t blame them for that – prioritise the famous attractions such as the Notre Dame, the Eiffel tower and the Champs Elysées. These are all great and superb places, but from a foodie point of view they are definitely not. My advice is to take some time, walk off the beaten paths and you’ll find gems in the side alleys.

Wander and get lost in the alleys of the 10th and 11th arrondissements, instead of walking straight into the beautiful yet massive and overcrowded avenues of the 8th arrondissement.

Where can we go to see your favourite view in Paris? 

It can be a bit dark at night so I would prefer a day visit to le Parc de Belleville, where there’s one of the most beautiful views of Paris, and a café where you can enjoy l’art de vivre.

What do you mean by l’art de vivre? 

“L’art de vivre” is a French expression which literally translates into “the art of living”. It means to take the time to embrace life with your eyes, your ears and your mouth. Savour each and every moment, instead of wasting them.

What is on your travel bucket list?

They would be: getting cooking knives in Seki, Japan; visiting and eating in the 23 provinces of China; learning Persian in Teheran; jumping high with the Maasai in Kenya; cooking on an Asado in Argentina; walking sleepless on a bright night in Iceland.

 

WHERE TO EAT IN PARIS


Blé Sucré
Where: 7 Rue Antoine Vollon, 75012 Paris, France
For: Croissants

Bistrot Paul Bert
Where: 18 Rue Paul Bert, 75011 Paris, France
For: Authentic French food

 

WHERE TO GO IN PARIS


Le Parc de Belleville
Where: 20th Arrondissement, 75020 Paris, France
For: A panoramic view of Paris