The French invented the bistro. So a visit to Paris without enjoying this delightful gastronomic custom would be unthinkable (find a different bistro each day of your trip, preferably).

With so many to choose from in Paris, and with so much good food around, you’re unlikely to choose badly. But if you want to know the really good, most authentic eateries on offer, here’s our list of favourites.

4 of the best

  • Jaja

    3 rue Sainte-Croix de la Bretonnerie, 75004 Paris

    From the outside, Jaja is easy to miss. But the best things come in small, hidden packages and this is one of them. The tiny doorway leads away from the hustle and bustle of the Marais and into a sweet little courtyard for peaceful alfresco dining.

    With beautiful, traditional fare on the menu (and even vegetarian dishes – not always easy to find in this city) you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to leisurely dining and local wines.

  • La Pharmacie

    22, rue Jean Pierre Timbaud, 75011 Paris

    Once upon a time, this beautiful building was indeed a pharmacy and some of the 1900 woodwork still remains – where the bottles and jars of medicine once stood, now there are wine bottles and glasses.

    Very close to Place de la Republique, this is an intimate bistro serving traditional French dishes with a modern twist: think shrimp and orange tartar with dill, grilled veal chop with pumpkin and stuffed pigs’ feet.

  • L’Escargot

    50 rue de la Villette, 75019 Paris

    If you’re lucky enough to stumble upon this beautiful, incredibly local bistro, you’re in for a treat. Not only is it authentic but extremely cheap for the capital. Sample pigs’ cheeks, beef steak, lamb shank and, of course, escargots.

    This honest, unassuming place doesn’t have fancy décor or an extensive menu, but what it does have, it does well and with heart. You’ll find some brilliantly priced wines here too, so get them to help you match a delicious glass to your dish.

  • Café Constant

    139 rue Saint-Dominique, 75007 Paris

    This tiny, affordable and friendly bistro is only 10 minutes from the Eiffel Tower so avoid those overpriced alternatives and head here, instead. You’re packed in with the tables almost touching, but this proximity lends the place a cosy, intimate atmosphere.

    The chef has a Michelin star so everything is exquisitely homemade on site – helpfully, all starters are priced the same (11 euros), likewise with mains (17 euros) and desserts (7.50 euros), making it easy to add up at the end of the meal.