Six Dishes to Discover the Soul of Paris

Happy Monday everyone! I’ve got a guest post up from Marta Lopez, a travel writer based in London. You’ll love the insider tips she has to share. (And since I don’t get out much, someone’s got to tell you about these things). Please welcome Marta.

Six Dishes to Discover the Soul of Paris

There is much more than moules frites, baguettes and cheeses when it comes to choosing le plat du jour in the French capital. Paris is a beautiful mixture of 20 arrondissements and behind each one, there is a whole world of contrasts and cultures. Forget what you have learnt about French cuisine and prepare yourself to travel around the City of Lights. Here you have six different dishes to get the real image of each quartier.

Marta - ParisImage Source

  1. Champs-Elysées: A sophisticated seafood menu

There is no other arrondissement like the 8th when it comes to choosing a chic and expensive Parisian menu. From La Concorde to the Arc de Triomphe, you will be able to find historical and art nouveau-inspired style restaurants. If you want to savour the real taste of this quartier, don’t hesitate to ask for a seafood dish – or what the French call “un plateau de fruits de mer”.

Going to Les Champs-Elysées? Don´t miss your chance to visit an exposition at Le Grand Palais (3, Avenue du Général Eisenhower)

  1. Montmartre: Experience Amélie´s quartier with a crêpe

Montmartre – located in the 18th arrondissement – used to be an independent village in the North of Paris, and it was a breeding ground for artists like Picasso and Dali. Today this little village pleases travellers, with its little cafés and narrow streets during the day, and vibrant clubs at night.

Marta - MontmartreImage: M. López

Going to Montmartre? Don´t miss a bière at Le Café des 2 Moulins, where Amélie Poulain worked as a waitress.

  1. Le Marais: The most exquisite falafel in Paris

It has become one of the most fashionable quartiers in the city at the moment. Le Marais in the 4th arrondissement catches tourists’ attention with its wide variety of cafés, art galleries, and chic boutiques. Le Marais is home to the largest Jewish community in Paris; that’s why you’ll find here the most delicious falafels in the city. After a visit to the beautiful Place des Vosges – where Victor Hugo used to live – pop in at L’ As du Fallafel (34, rue des Rosiers)- You might have to wait, but it’s definitely worth it!

Marta - Marais 2Image: M. López

  1. Quartier Latin: Le poulet de la Rue Mouffetard

La Rue Mouffetard is located in the 5th arrondissement, and was described by Hemingway as a ‘wonderful, narrow crowded market street.’ A former Roman thoroughfare, La Rue Mouffetard hosts a good number of merchants selling fruits, cheeses, and all kind of delicatessen. If you wonder what dish to try, have a go with le poulet á la broche (roast chicken). The delicious smell from the rotisseries will invite you to come in …

Going to Le Quartier Latin? Don´t miss the chance to visit Hemingway´s house (74, Rue du Cardinal Lemoine)

  1. Belleville: Noodles with the best views

La Belleville (“beautiful city”) is the second highest hill in the city, and is considered to be the new Montmartre. Spanning four arrondissements – the 19th, 20th, 10th and 11th – it used to be the Chinese quartier in Paris, and is now home to a large community of immigrants, bohemian artists, and musicians. If you want to embrace the real soul of the streets where Edith Piaf was born, you won’t want to miss Le Marché Belleville, which opens Tuesdays and Saturdays. Don’t hesitate to taste some Asian noodles and Arabic baklavas. And if you fancy some amazing views, follow the hill until you see a green area without tourists.

Marta - BellevilleImage: M. López

Going to La Chapelle? Don’t forget to visit La Maison de L´Air (Parc de Belleville, 47 Rue des Couronnes, 75020 Paris) 

  1. La Chapelle: Couscous at the best price

La Chapelle is located in the 18th arrondissement, and is famous because of its multicultural atmosphere. It’s been chosen by immigrants and young couples looking for a break from the touristic centre. The variety of ethnic restaurants available is just amazing; for those wondering about the real taste of the neighbourhood, don’t hesitate to try the couscous – the star dish here due to the large African community that has settled in the area.

Marta  - La ChapelleImage Source

Going to La Chapelle? If you want to buy local products, visit L’ Epicerie Indienne Exotique (197, Rue Fbg St Denis).

Author Bio

Marta Lopez GarciaMarta López is a travel writer based in London. She loves travelling, Mediterranean cuisine and French cinema. She is currently working on her first novel, based in the City of Lights. Follow Marta on twitter  @Martazepol.


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I am the daughter of a symphony musician who was raised in upstate New York, and I simply breathe all things classical, be it music or 19th century literature (English and Russian). I married Sir Renaissance in New York City, and before I knew it, he had swept me up and brought me back home to his own country. So here we are. Three children, a rather ordinary life in a rather exceptional place. I am now ‘A Lady in France.’

Posted in France, Tourism
9 comments on “Six Dishes to Discover the Soul of Paris
  1. Alison says:

    I wish I knew Marta before we headed to Paris :)
    Alison recently posted…Things I Want To Remember Right NowMy Profile

  2. Val says:

    Six more reasons to visit Paris!
    Val recently posted…DIY Open Shelving by Lemon ThistleMy Profile

  3. Rod jetton says:

    Great article and makes me want to be in Paris so badly right now. I’m hungry but in Dexter MO. So ill just have to get buy with a pizza for lunch. The Lady in France has such sophisticated friends. Enjoyable read.

  4. Jennifer says:

    I will have to bookmark this in case I ever get to go to Paris!
    Jennifer recently posted…Minecraft ConversationsMy Profile

  5. Leigh Ann says:

    I really really really really want to go there. Montmartre sounds wonderful!
    Leigh Ann recently posted…this online lifeMy Profile

  6. I actually went to the Fallafel place! And yes it was gooooooooood.
    Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes recently posted…From Friday to Sunday, capturing the momentsMy Profile

  7. I just reviewed The Hundred Foot Journey … and wanted to move!
    Sisters From Another Mister recently posted…Facebook. The Real World.My Profile

I'm Jennie. Welcome to A Lady in France! I write books, and also this blog on faith, French culture and recipes ... ( To continue reading, please click here. )

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