Travel

Paris in August

goop

Paris gets quiet in August, when—in a stroke of brilliance—France gives itself the month off. While many restaurants and boutiques shut down for vacances, there’s something nice about visiting during this quiet spell, and some of our favorite places do stay open. Although our Paris-in-August guide has become an annual goop tradition for this reason, it feels like France deserves our support this year more than ever before—and if you have the opportunity to show your love in person, now is a wonderful time to do it. Below, a roundup of our tried-and-true Paris spots, plus a bunch of new-to-us restaurants, bars, and shops whose doors will be open this August. (Of course, the department stores, big-name boutiques—Chanel, Louis Vuitton, etc.—museums, and hotels—like the freshly re-opened Ritz—will be fully functional, too.)

Le Relais de l’Entrecôte

20 Rue Saint-Benoît, 6th | +33.01.45.49.16.00

You know exactly what to expect at this kind-of kitschy, family-owned establishment, and that's the best steak frites in town, topped with buttery, herby “secret” sauce. That’s it, and it’s worth lining up for—this is a no-reservations locale. Touristy as it is—they’ve since opened locations in London and New York—it remains a local’s mainstay, proof of its excellent quality. There are now locations in the 8th and 6th, too.

Les Cocottes

135 Rue Saint-Dominique, 7th | +33.1.45.50.10.28

The only thing that outshines Les Cocottes’s brilliant use of glass jars and Staub cast-iron cocottes is the menu itself. Chef Christian Constant has developed a robust offering of salads (a non-traditional Caesar salad), soups (pumpkin, seafood bisque), and mains (ratatouille, langoustine ravioli) that satisfy without breaking the bank. And then, of course, there’s Constant’s famous chocolate tart. Those who fly by the seat of their pants will appreciate the no-reservations policy, even though there’s almost always a wait—which isn't bad, as it’s conveniently located near the Jardin du Luxembourg and the Eiffel Tower.

Aux Prés

27 Rue du Dragon, 6th | +33.1.45.48.29.68

This cozy spot in the 6th is open through the entire month of August, and we’re grateful for that because their dishes are a perfect showcase of France’s summer garden bounty. Their burrata starter comes with fresh cherry tomatoes and a pistachio pesto, and their brunch dishes (yes, that means French toast and crêpes) revolve around around summer raspberries and strawberries.

Ladurée

75 Avenue des Champs Elysées, 8th | +33.1.40.75.08.75

Thanks to loads of press and a swift global expansion in 2005 (there are now outposts in New York, London, Lebanon, Japan, Sweden, Hong Kong, Brazil, etc.), the Ladurée celadon green is almost as iconic as Tiffany’s robin’s egg blue, or Hermes’ orange: It all started in 1862 at 16 rue Royale, when writer Louis Ernest Ladurée opened a pastry shop. Though macaroons had been kicking around France since the 16th century, when Catherine de Medici introduced them from Italy, Ladurée’s grandson revolutionized the concept in 1930 by using a bit of ganache to create a macaron sandwich. That said, their dinner service is great, with a kid-friendly menu that adults can enjoy too. Although the original Ladurée is a fixture on the Champs-Elysées, there are multiple locations throughout the city to enjoy.

Hotel Particulier Restaurant & Bar

Pavillon D, 23 Avenue Junot, 8th | +33.1.53.41.81.40

The Hotel Particulier’s on-site restaurant and bar (both open to the public) are designed to offer a respite from the craziness of the city. The food (a love letter to classic French cuisine) and the seasonal cocktails (the absinthe-spiked Montmartre julep is dangerously delicious) can easily stand on their own, but when enjoyed within the confines of the property’s hidden gardens, turn into an experience. The gardens also provide the kitchen with fresh ingredients, including honey from the resident beehives and eggs from the house hens. The weekend brunch is legendary.

Glou

101 Rue Vieille du Temple, 3rd | +33.1.42.74.44.32

The Marais is flush with casual dining spots, which means this two-story restaurant fits in perfectly. There are communal tables on the ground floor for larger parties and walk-ins, and the menu, though rife with French delicacies, isn’t the least bit pretentious. The wine list is nicely reasonable, too, in both selection and price.

Le Comptoir du Relais

9 Carrefour de l'Odéon, 6th | +33.1.44.27.07.97

If you find yourself with time alone, grab one of the single-occupancy tables outside, which face onto the small square; that said, if you’re saddled with the little ones, this spot is blessedly kid-friendly, too. A bottle of red and the boeuf bourguignon—served with lemon rind, pasta, and pine nuts—is the meal to get here.

Le Café du Commerce

13 Rue de Clignancourt, 18th | +33.1.46.06.25.63

Smack in the middle of Montmartre, this is a perfect, quick pit-stop for steak frites, roast chicken, and côte de boeuf—at great prices. The excellent lunch deal means that crowds swell, but it’s spacious and comfortable enough to accommodate.

Le Chateaubriand

129 Avenue Parmentier, 11th | +33.1.43.57.45.95

The dining room might not look like all that much, but this is one of those restaurants that changes how people think about food. Chef Inaki Aizpitarte, a pioneer in Paris’s neo-bistro scene, deconstructs traditional French dishes and reassembles them in wildly inventive, globally influenced ways. Despite the kitchen fireworks, it never feels pretentious here, which is probably why locals and tourists alike line up out the door to get a table (they only take reservations for the first seating).

Le Mary Celeste

1 Rue Commines, 3rd | +33.1.23.45.67.89

Named for an infamous shipwreck—the boat was found intact, including its stores of liquor, though the crew had vanished—Le Mary Celeste is one recent opening that’s getting a lot of ink in the press: the young team behind this newcomer in the 3rd is the same one behind taqueria Candelaria. Like its sister restaurant, the drinks menu is long and formidable, while the food menu is a bit more succinct: It’s all about oysters, and other small plates, that are intended to be shared. Though they do take reservations, it's just as well to grab a seat at the bar.

Le Fumoir

6 Rue de l'Amiral de Coligny, 1st | +33.1.42.92.00.24

With the style of a ’40s British lounge, this is the perfect respite after a morning haul through the Louvre. They have a great value prix-fixe menu, but we usually come for a snack, savored over an international paper on one of the library room’s overstuffed leather couches. Creaky wooden floors, a constant stream of jazz, and a well-heeled clientele make any pitstop here feel like a dignified affair.

Joséphine Chez Dumonet

117 Rue du Cherche-Midi, 6th | +33.1.45.48.52.40

Chez Dumonet has been serving up classic bistro fare (beef bourguignon, a delectable duck confit) for decades, in a dining room that dates back centuries (1880 to be exact). Its belle époque vibe is totally charming, made even better by the clientele: You can be assured that everyone in the dining room is likely a grandparent a few times over. Keep in mind that Chez Dumonet offers many half-orders, which is key if you’re not staying in a spot that can accommodate leftovers (portions tend to be generous).

Dim Sum Cantine

15 Rue Manuel, 9th | +33.1.73.70.76.71

Much like the Cantonese-style dumplings that are its claim to fame, this restaurant is compact but mighty. The house-made dim sum (mushroom, shrimp, lacquered pork, and more) is steamed and then immediately served by the basket, accompanied by salad and rice. Lest you forget you’re in Paris, the steamed brioche buns make for the perfect dessert. Since this restaurant is often packed, check out their second location in the 2nd arrondissement.

Café Charlot

38 Rue de Bretagne, 3rd | +33.1.44.54.03.30

This bustling bistro is particularly great for late dinners and brunch: The menu is nice and succinct, offering the classics you want after a few glasses of wine. You’ll find steak au cheval, steak tartare, a selection of burgers, and a sampling of salads, plus a small wine list mostly offered by the carafe. This is one of the few places open on Sunday.

Café Pinson

6 Rue du Forez, 3rd | +33.9.83.82.53.53

The focus here is on California-style, organic vegetarian fare; healthy, wheat-free, veggie-centric dishes that don’t skimp on taste. The interior is all wood floors, stone walls, and mix-and-match seating. Come for lunch on weekdays, as dinner can get a little hectic. There's another location in the 10th.

Le Bistrot Paul Bert

18 Rue Paul Bert, 11th | +33.1.43.72.24.01

Bistro Paul Bert is what any French restaurant ought to be: It features old-school yet understated décor, simple but solid food at reasonable prices (including an excellent entrecôte), and brusque waiters. Don’t skip dessert, particularly the not-too-sweet Tarte Tatin.

Café de Flore

172 Boulevard Saint Germain, 6th | +33.1.45.48.55.26

This classic Parisian Art Deco café on the corner of Boulevard Saint-Germain has played host to everyone from Sartre to Picasso. They came for the coffee and the people-watching, as should you: When the weather’s nice, find a spot on the outdoor patio and get a big café au lait and an omelette.

Chez Janou

2 Rue Roger Verlomme, 3rd | +33.1.42.72.28.41

Popular with locals and staff from the nearby galleries, this lively and unpretentious Provençal-centric restaurant offers a set lunch menu that’s a total steal: €14.50 nets you either a main and an appetizer, or a main and dessert. If you opt for the latter, they make the most memorable and dangerously delectable chocolate mousse—which just so happens to be all-you-can-eat.

La Closerie des Lilas

171 Boulevard du Montparnasse, 6th | +33.1.40.51.34.50

La Closerie is in the same league as historic cafés like Les Deux Magots and La Palette. And while some might say this Montparnasse standby is past its prime, many insist it’s still very much happening—after all, Hemingway (there’s a handy sign indicating his preferred spot at the bar), Picasso, and Beckett used to hang out here all the time. We recommend springing for a full dinner in the formal main hall. That said, the brasserie-slash-piano-bar is great for a drink, and to get a feel of the place without spending a fortune.

Miznon

22 Rue des Ecouffes, 4th | +33.1.42.74.83.58

This tiny, super-casual Tel Aviv transplant, located in the center of the Marais (known for its large concentration of falafel shops), doesn’t offer much in terms of seating—other than a small communal table and a few counter seats—but what it lacks in accommodations, it more than makes up for in really good food. (You will most likely want to take your meal to go, anyway.) The menu offers loads of veggie options and is a cross between Israeli street eats and French cuisine: think beef bourguignon pita with a side of whole-roasted cauliflower, washed down with beer or a glass of Israeli wine. For dessert, try the tarte tat, also served in pita form.

Cinq-Mars

51 Rue de Verneuil, 7th | +33.1.45.44.69.13

Unpretentious and laid-back, this is the sort of restaurant that’s the perfect reprieve after a few days of big, loud brasseries. The food is simple but well-prepared, and nicely affordable, too.

Le Comptoir de la Gastronomie

34 Rue Montmartre, 1st | +33.01.42.33.31.32

This quaint little restaurant serves excellent French—cassoulets, steak tartares, and chocolate cakes—in an un-stuffy art nouveau dining room. The adjoining shop, complete with ham hocks hanging from the rafters, has a killer selection of French wines, cheeses, and other specialty items.

La Palette

43 Rue de Seine, 6th | +33.1.43.26.68.15

This café looks straight out of central casting: The large main room, complete with mirrored walls and dotted with paintings, is almost always packed. Despite the area's popularity with tourists, La Palette still feels undiscovered, as it’s predominantly peopled by locals.

Le Dauphin

131 Avenue Parmentier, 11th | +33.1.55.28.78.88

Immediately next door to its sister restaurant, Le Chateaubriand, locals hover around the marbled bar (there are only a handful of tables) for well-priced—though complex—small plates, and surprisingly affordable wine. That said, we recommend the cocktails, which are every bit as good as the food.

Buvette

28 Rue Henry Monnier, 9th | +33.1.44.63.41.71

It takes nerve (and talent) for an American to take a French concept and recreate it for a famously hard-to-please Parisian audience. In chef Jody William’s case, her French-inspired wine bar, Buvette, has been adopted with open arms. She tested the concept in New York first—there is a much-loved West Village outpost—and exported her “gastrotheque” back to Paris in 2013, to rave reception. In this romantic, perfectly Parisian little wine bar, you can expect a wonderful cocktail and wine list, and a petite menu of small versions of dishes like Coq Au Vin and Moules and Tartines. They also serve several local, seasonal salads—good ones are still a hard to find in many traditional French restos.