Iconic Bites: Things To Do In Paris If You Love Food With A Side Of History

From grabbing a drink at author Ernest Hemingway's favourite bar to visiting the oldest patisserie in Paris, believed to be the birthplace of Baba au Rhum, here are the best things to do in Paris if you love food with a side of history
Best cafes in Paris
Café de Flore was frequented by Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. Shutterstock.com

Who isn't a fan of French food? Known for its intricate techniques and sublime flavours, some of which date back to the 14th century, the cuisine has cast its influence over various Western culinary traditions, earning it a spot in UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage list in 2010. Therefore, if you are heading to Paris and are wondering how exactly you can experience the true essence of Parisian life, your answer is food. From the delectable French pastries to the indulgent bouillabaisse and coq au vin, French food can convert anybody into a gourmand and any history-lover to a foodie. So, if you are ready to become one or you already count yourself as one, here is our list of things to do in Paris:

Start Your Morning With Coffee And Croissants

Best breakfast in Paris
Carette was started in 1927carette_paris/Instagram

If you are not a breakfast person, you better become one in Paris because resisting freshly baked, perfectly flaky and buttery croissants is next to impossible. In Paris, the best way to begin your morning is to head out for a nice breakfast of croissant and coffee by the sidewalk and people-watch. Luckily, there are many places in Paris to enjoy a hearty breakfast, but few places are definitely a must-visit if it is your first time. Carette (4 Pl. du Trocadéro et du 11 Novembre) is one such place. Started in 1927, the café is known to serve amazing viennoiseries, hot chocolate, and gourmet toasts. Another iconic spot is Café de Flore (on Bd Saint-Germain), which is known for serving irresistible croissants, butter brioche, and great coffee. Fun fact: This café was frequented by Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir.

Shop For Artisanal Cheeses, Wine, And Butter

best places to visit in Paris
Rue de Martyrs is a market street lined with boulangeriesShutterstock.com

There are three cornerstones of French food: wine, cheese, and butter; and if there is any place around the world where you should go shopping for them, it is Paris. Moreover, they also make for fitting souvenirs, and if you are a foodie yourself, you might want to hoard them for later. While you can pick up good quality cheese and wine from most convenience stores, there are several boutique stores selling locally produced, artisanal ones. Rue de Martyrs is one such market street lined with boulangeries, artisan bakeries, concept coffee stores, and more. The best part is that if you feel hungry midway, you can also stop by local favourites, like Rose Bakery (known for their carrot cakes), Mesdemoiselles Madeleines (known for their madeleines with unique flavours), and Maison Brémond (founded in 1830 and loved since for their almond candy).

Head To Paris' Oldest Patisserie

Best cafes in Paris
Stohrer (on Rue Montorgueil), Paris' oldest patisserie that is also listed as a historical siteaparisianmoment/Instagram

If you have a sweet tooth, then Paris is just the right place to indulge and, that too, with a side of history. While you will find yourself unable to resist the window displays of any French bakery in every two steps, take the time out to visit Stohrer (on Rue Montorgueil), Paris' oldest patisserie that is also listed as a historical site. Started in 1730, Stohrer was founded by King Louis XV's pastry chef—Nicolas Stohrer. While it is believed to be the birthplace of the delicious Baba au Rhum, Stohrer's every creation is unlike anything you would have tasted before.

Dine Where The Greats Did

Paris has been the epicentre for many art and literary movements that transpired in history and shaped the world as we know it today. It is no wonder, then, why many great thinkers and artists called the city their home. While it is difficult to go back in time and have the "Midnight in Paris" experience, the next best thing you can do is dine and drink where these personalities did. One such place is L’Escargot Montorgueil, located on Rue Montorgueil. Dating to 1832, the restaurant is historically known to serve delicious escargot and was a favourite haunt for writer Marcel Proust and French actor Sarah Bernhardt.

Places to visit in Paris
Le Train Bleu, located in Gare de Lyon train station, was frequented by Coco Chanel and Salvador DaliLe Train Bleu/Instagram

The iconic Le Train Bleu, located in Gare de Lyon train station, is another beautiful culinary institution that has served to greats like Coco Chanel and Salvador Dali. And once you see the frescoes adorning the ceiling, you will understand why. Here, try the foie gras and steak tartar. Another place you must visit is the legendary Le Procope, near the Odéon area, a favourite among philosophers like Rousseau, Voltaire, and Diderot. It is said that Voltaire would drink 40 cups of coffee here every day. The restaurant also has Napolean Bonaparte's iconic hat on display—which he was believed to leave as collateral to the restaurant's owner to pay off his debts back in 1795 when he was serving in the French army. And if you are a fan of Pablo Picasso and James Joyce, head to Les Deux Magots on St-Germain-des-Prés.

Bars in Paris
Le Procope has Napolean Bonaparte's iconic hat on displaypaulor.saboia/Instagram

Grab A Drink At Bar Hemingway

Iconic spots in Paris
Dedicated to the most revered patron, Bar Hemingway is decked with memoribilia and reminders of the bar's heritageritzparis/Instagram

If you are looking for a nightcap, head to the iconic Bar Hemingway at the Ritz, named after its most dedicated patron. Filled with memorabilia from centuries ago, the dark, wooden interior and warm interior of this legendary cocktail bar instantly transports you back in time. The bar's heritage is palpable as you sit and sip on legendary cocktails. And if you love talking about history, strap in for awe-inspiring tales that the bartenders will regale you with. One such story is of how author Ernest Hemingway liberated the bar from the Nazis. If you are wondering which cocktails go best with the stories, a clean dirty martini or Ritz Pimms is the way to go.

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