I'm writing an article with tips for dining well in Paris. The article is geared towards a novice audience - perhaps they haven't traveled much, have never visited Paris, or are just intimidated by dining in the city. Eating in Paris can be overwhelming and the goal is to provide advice and suggestions to help eliminate bad eating decisions, poor etiquette, and faux pas.
I've been to Paris many times myself and have read just about every blog post and article on the subject. I thought I would also post here to see if anyone had any unique tips or suggestions to share. I will give credit in the article.
(I did a few searches before posting but did not find any other posts like this one)
So, what are some common mistakes you see visitors to Paris make? What are the mistakes you've made yourself? What insider advice would you like to share? Also, if you disagree with anything I've listed below, please let me know.
Here is a simplified breakdown of the running list I have so far:
1. Do your research: figure out the types of dining experiences you want to have, think about the foods you want to eat in Paris, and research restaurants and read menus to find out what matches up. If you don't like fine dining, you don't have to eat at fancy restaurants just because you're in Paris. If you don't like fish, don't pick a seafood restaurant just because the guidebooks recommend it.
2. Plan ahead: Don't book your most exciting dinner on the day of your arrival or you may not enjoy it due to jet lag. Think about your schedule for your sightseeing and be smart when you make reservations. Don't overdo it.
3. Make reservations: Use your hotel to help you make reservations. Let them know about allergies or dietary restrictions. Cancel reservations if necessary (even if it is the day of)
4. Be mindful of space: Most restaurants are cramped. Use the bathroom before you are seated. Watch the volume of your voice. Just because you are seated close to someone, it's not an open invite to listen to their convo or join in on it.
5. Know the basics of French service: operating hours, slower pace, types of restaurants, paying the bill, tipping, etc.
6. Avoid tourist traps: as a general rule, skip anything close to a major tourist attraction, with laminated menus, and with the menu available in 8 different languages. Walk a few blocks away and pick a cafe there instead. You can always get a take out sandwich and eat it close to the landmark if you want the beautiful view.
7. Take a tour - if you're overwhelmed or intimidated by the Paris food scene then consider a guided tour. These are also fun if you are a food lover and trying to learn more. Your guide will have great recommendations. I recommend Context Travel but there are many companies that offer tours.
8. Don't Waste Time on Breakfast - forget the big breakfast of eggs and bacon. Grab a croissant and coffee from a bakery and eat it back at your hotel or in a park somewhere.
Looking forward to learning some great tips for dining in Paris. Thanks so much!