On this page: The difference between Paris restaurants, bistros, and brasseries. The cheapest bars in Paris. A Paris street with good restaurants.









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In Paris, there is such a plethora of restaurants that you can eat well and happily by simply wandering and reading the menus that are posted by law in front of each establishment. The terms restaurant, bistro, brasserie and café might seem confusing to Americans, but the distinctions are easy enough.

The name restaurant is usually reserved for very fine dining, the pricey haute cuisine of such world-famous destinations as Taillevent and Alain Ducasse. Bistros tend to be much smaller places, run (if you're lucky) by a family or small staff who care about the quality of the food. A bistro may be only open for lunch or dinner at specific hours.

Brasseries, once places that served beer, are now establishments larger than a bistro that serve food around the clock. And either a brasserie or a bistro qualifies as a café if they allow tables to be used only for beverage service. If all the tables at a sidewalk place are laid with a cloth and place settings, you're probably required to order food in addition to your glass of wine or cup of espresso.

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Prices for drinking out in Paris are generally regarded as astronomical. However, if you know the right place to go at the right time, it IS possible to avoid paying 40F for a pint of cheap beer in a dingy bar. To find out more, visit the Guide to Paris Pubs and Bars


My recommendation is to find a small cafe near your pension (hotel), and stop in there every day, to have a coffee and write your postcards. The patron (owner) will get to know you, and you will find that Parisians can be very welcoming and kind (it also helps if you try to speak French - even if you end up mangling the language, your efforts will be much more appreciated than if you speak only English). Before you travel to Paris, check out the film "Diva" to get in the mood. And have a wonderful time!

(from Guestbook)

I lived in Paris for two years, and after time spent there I can say that it is prettiest city in the world. One place I strongly recommend is Rue Montmartre. It is full of small cafés and some night clubs. There are always a lot of people in the street.

(from Guestbook)

Do you have any memorable Paris travel tips and stories? E-mail them to me for inclusion on this site!

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