Ten historical Paris restaurants to tell your friends about

Paris is overflowing with restaurants. You can dine like royalty at three-Michelin starred places, and you can find bistros with food you wouldn’t feed to your own dog.

But we all know that the internet is full of recommendations for good food.

So instead, here are ten restaurants with a great historical backstory, a charm, a je ne sais quoi that makes for a good tale, or at least an interesting conversation point over dinner. We’ve linked to all the restaurants’ home pages, so you can find their menus and prices, and we’ve been sure to include a good mix of price points and dining experiences.

1. Le Train Bleu

An icon and nothing less. This restaurant is simply the standard by which Paris restaurant experiences should be measured. The interior of the restaurant is like a gilded museum, with homages to southern France throughout, from the time when diners would eat at the restaurant before taking the nearby train to the Riviera. Here is a link to more info and many more pictures from our recent visit. @restaurantletrainbleu Address: Pl. Louis-Armand, 75012

2. Le Vieux Belleville 

Up in Belleville, this restaurant offers an authentic singalong evening with talented French musicians. We went for the Edith Piaf singalong, which is only on Tuesday nights, but there are other themes on other nights too. Typical bistro food and not too expensive. The owner was born on the same street as the restaurant and will gladly share the local history with you, if you speak French 🙂 Address: 12 Rue des Envierges, 75020  @levieuxbelleville

3. Le Dôme 

This iconic restaurant still has the charm. You can’t get a full meal for a dollar like you could in the golden days of Hemingway and Picasso (who both used to visit regularly), but the seafood menu is a treat and the interior is stunning. Read a lot more about our visit and see more of the interior here@ledomemontparnasse Address: 108 Bd du Montparnasse, 75014

4. Andia

This building was once a train station on the petite ceinture railway line. You can see in the photos below, the diners sit where the tracks once ran, there are even tables on the “platforms”, and the ticket booths are now chef’s kitchens and bars. 

A wonderful light fills the room from the glass ceiling, the food was excellent and the staff was exceptional. We loved it. Address: 19 Chau. de la Muette, 75016 @andia_paris

5. La Rotonde

An elegant brasserie in a beautiful building. It’s a very Parisian vibe, with the interior decked out in walnut panels and Versailles marble, with top notch food to match. Address: 12 Chau. de la Muette, 75016 @larotondedelamuette

6. La Rotonde Stalingrad

This is a very happening place, both day and night. It has a great energy, lovely food, and the building dates back to the French Revolution when it was a toll gate to the city. I snuck up a staircase to those square windows at the top, and was treated with a great view over the Bassin de la Villette. Address: 6-8 Pl. de la Bataille de Stalingrad, 75019 @larotondestalingrad

7. Cafe du Commerce

Old-school Paris at its best. Charming waiters zip about this fun restaurant, which is stretched over three levels and is steeped in local history. It used to be the local hangout for car factory workers who were fed in the hundreds. No visit to the 15th is complete without a dinner here. @lecafeducommerce.1921Address: 51 Rue du Commerce, 75015

8. Bouillon Julien

This restaurant’s interior is an art nouveau wonder. A truly beautiful old brasserie with surprisingly affordable food. Go for the experience, rather than the dinner, and you’ll be satisfied. @bouillinjulienparis. Address: 16 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis, 75010

9. La Coupole 

We may have visited this place too late in the evening (or 100 years too late, perhaps), because it wasn’t exactly inspiring. But the historical side of this art deco restaurant was what drew us in, and if you’re also into chasing famous ghosts from the Lost Generation in Montparnasse, then this place is for you.  @la_coupole_paris Address: 102 Bd du Montparnasse, 75014

10. Le Moulin de la Galette

OK this isn’t something you’d find in the Michelin guide either, but the ambience is lovely, the waiters are on their A game, and the setting is remarkable – you’re under an ancient wooden windmill in Montmartre, which dates back to 1622. More amazing still, the back garden was immortalized in the Renoir painting Bal au moulin de la Galette, which is depicted on the restaurant’s facade. @lemoulindelagaletteofficiel Address: 83 Rue Lepic, 75018

Bonus: 11. La Tour d’Argent 

This iconic restaurant dates back to 1582 when it catered toward royalty and nobility. It moved upstairs to the top floor in 1936 with epic views over Notre Dame and Seine. In August 2023, the restaurant reopened after 16 months of renovation and it looks spectacular. 

Head here for extraordinary views over Paris, an unmatched wine menu, and a real show. The canard au sang (pressed duck) has been numbered ever since 1890 – and they’ve now served over 1 million ducks.

Read more about our own experience dining at the Tour d’Argent here. Incidentally, we got duck number 1,179,385. More info on their website here. Address: 19 Quai de la Tournelle, 75005 Paris

That will do for now! There are more tips in my Paris guide below (which is free if you’re a Patreon member). You can see inside all the restaurants above via our YouTube videos, which feature a good glimpse at each Paris arrondissement. Bon appétit.

6 thoughts on “Ten historical Paris restaurants to tell your friends about

  1. A French friend, très branchée, told me that you can usually find French politicians having lunch at La Rotonde….
    I believe I went to a tango soirée at a club in their cave many years ago. But maybe it was in La Coupole.

  2. Had dinner at Le Train Bleu Wednesday. Sometimes you get gorgeous setting, fabulous food or great service. Here we got all three!!! Loved it.

  3. Went to Lunch at Le Train Bleu and enjoyed everything. That day the head waiter spoke about the history of the restaurant to everyone in the dining room. Le Coupole was intersting to see but the food and the service were pretty mediocre, I won’t return. I will have to try some on the list when I am in Paris in April.

  4. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. I would love to dine in these lovely restaurants someday.

  5. I have been to Tour d’Argent & Pre Catalan in the Bois de Bolougne twice. They are much more elaborate than Cafe de Commerce (around the corner from where I usually stay when I visit). Cafe du Commerce is good, but not in the same league (or price) as the other 2. No opinion on the others mention as I haven’t been to them.

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