Paris in August
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—some for the entire months, others for a week or so to give their staff a break—there’s something nice about visiting during this quiet spell. And best of all, some of our favorite places do stay open. Our Paris-in-August guide has become a goop tradition for this reason. 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 reopened Ritz, will be fully functional, too.) Rule of thumb: Bars and restaurants belonging to hotels are always a safe bet this time of year.
Café Pinson6 Rue du Forez, 3rd | +188.8.131.52.53.53
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.
Miznon22 Rue des Ecouffes, 4th | +184.108.40.206.83.58
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 tatin, also served in pita form.
Glou101 Rue Vieille du Temple, 3rd | +220.127.116.11.44.32
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 full of French delicacies, isn’t the least bit pretentious. The wine list is nicely reasonable, too, in both selection and price.
Le Bistrot Paul Bert18 Rue Paul Bert, 11th | +18.104.22.168.24.01
Bistrot Paul Bert is what any French restaurant ought to be: It features old-school, 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 Charlot38 Rue de Bretagne, 3rd | +22.214.171.124.03.30
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.
La Closerie des Lilas171 Boulevard du Montparnasse, 6th | +126.96.36.199.34.50
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. But the brasserie-slash-piano-bar is great for a drink and to get a feel of the place without spending a fortune. Note: In August, the restaurant is open only in the evenings.
Joséphine Chez Dumonet117 Rue du Cherche-Midi, 6th | +188.8.131.52.52.40
Chez Dumonet has been serving up classic bistro fare (beef bourguignon, a delectable duck confit) for decades, in a dining room that dates back over a century (to 1880 to be exact). Its Belle Epoque 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).
Cinq-Mars51 Rue de Verneuil, 7th | +184.108.40.206.69.13
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.
Hotel Particulier Restaurant & BarPavillon D, 23 Avenue Junot, 8th | +220.127.116.11.81.40
The Hotel Particulier’s 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 beehives and eggs from the henhouse. The weekend brunch is legendary.
Le Dauphin131 Avenue Parmentier, 11th | +18.104.22.168.78.88
Le Dauphin is 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.
Le Mary Celeste1 Rue Commines, 3rd | +22.214.171.124.67.89
Named for an infamous shipwreck—the boat was found intact, including its stores of liquor, though the crew had vanished—Le Mary Celeste got a lot of ink in the press when it opened: The young team behind this restaurant in the 3rd is the same one behind taqueria Candelaria. Like its sister restaurant, Le Mary Celeste has a drinks menu that's 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 it does take reservations, it's just as easy to grab a seat at the bar.
Le Comptoir du Relais9 Carrefour de l'Odéon, 6th | +126.96.36.199.07.97
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 Commerce13 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 them.
Les Cocottes135 Rue Saint-Dominique, 7th | +188.8.131.52.10.28
The only thing that outshines Les Cocottes’ 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 nontraditional 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.
Ladurée75 Avenue des Champs Elysées, 8th | +184.108.40.206.08.75
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, Los Angeles, and more), the Ladurée celadon green is almost as iconic as Tiffany blue or Hermès orange. It all started in 1862 at 16 rue Royale, when writer Louis Ernest Ladurée opened a pastry shop. Though macarons had been kicking around France since the sixteenth 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. Beyond sweets, Ladurée's 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.
Café de Flore172 Boulevard Saint Germain, 6th | +220.127.116.11.55.26
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, and so should you: When the weather’s nice, find a spot on the outdoor patio and get a big café au lait and an omelet.
Le Chateaubriand129 Avenue Parmentier, 11th | +18.104.22.168.45.95
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 (reservations are available only for the first seating).
Dim Sum Cantine15 Rue Milton, 9th | +22.214.171.124.76.71
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 the perfect dessert. Since this restaurant is often packed, check out the second location in the 2nd arrondissement.
Aux Prés27 Rue du Dragon, 6th | +126.96.36.199.29.68
This cozy spot in the 6th is open through the entire month of August, and we’re grateful for that because the dishes are a perfect showcase of France’s summer garden bounty. The burrata starter comes with fresh cherry tomatoes and a pistachio pesto, and the brunch dishes (yes, that means French toast and crepes) revolve around around summer raspberries and strawberries.
Buvette28 Rue Henry Monnier, 9th | +188.8.131.52.41.71
It takes nerve (and talent) for an American to take a French concept and re-create it for a famously hard-to-please Parisian audience. In chef Jody Williams's case, her French-inspired wine bar, Buvette, has been embraced with open arms. She tested the concept in New York first—there is a much-loved West Village outpost—and exported her gastrothèque to Paris in 2013, to rave reviews. 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, moules, and tartines. They also serve several local, seasonal salads—good ones are still hard to find in many traditional French restaurants.
Chez Janou2 Rue Roger Verlomme, 3rd | +184.108.40.206.28.41
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 a 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.
Le Comptoir de la Gastronomie34 Rue Montmartre, 1st | +33.01.42.33.31.32
This quaint little restaurant serves excellent French food—cassoulet, steak tartare, and chocolate cake—in an unstuffy 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.
Le Relais de l’Entrecôte20 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—locations have opened 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.
Ober Mamma107 Blvd. Richard Lenoir, 11th | +33.158.306.278
This is a true trattoria in the middle of Paris, with great platters of antipasti, thin-crust pizzas, and surprisingly big bowls of house-made pasta (definitely not the skimpy starter size—these are mains). The interior immediately suggests a good time with long electric-blue leather benches running the length of the walls, offset by yellow table mats on quintessentially Parisian round tables. Expect a tight squeeze: This place is perpetually packed with locals downing glasses of sparkling Lambrusco and rounding off with a few bites of the sublime tiramisu.
Le Petit Lutetia107 Rue de Sevres, 7th | +33.145.483.353
La Petit Lutetia has become a favorite ever since it was taken over and face-lifted by Jean-Louis Costes, the man behind city institutions Hôtel Costes and La Société. The décor is still that of a classic Paris bistro, with charming mirrored walls, monogrammed dishes, haphazard stacks of newspapers, and too-small tables. While the food is certainly good, you're here for the people-watching, an endless parade of beautifully outfitted Parisians ducking out for cigarettes between courses and drinking seemingly endless glasses of red wine like water. Photo credit: @parisinfourmonths
La Fontaine de Mars129 Rue Saint-Dominique, 7th | +33.147.054.644
In a city filled with good, classic restaurants, it's hard to narrow it down to a few favorites, but Le Fontaine de Mars is one of those old-world bistros that constantly draws you back in. Once inside, no one would blame you for thinking that nothing has changed in a hundred years—and maybe it hasn't: Pink tablecloths, mirrored walls, and retro floor tiles abound. Keep your order to the tried-and-true classics, good steak-frites or coq au vin with a large glass of red is the way to go here.
Bonhomie22 Rue d'Enghien, 10th | +33.983.888.251
If you've overindulged on steak-frites and can't handle the thought of another buttery sole meunière, eschew the delicious but heavy bistro classics for some Mediterranean at Bonhomie. A café meets cocktail bar meets restaurant near the chic Marais district, sitting on a royal-blue leather stool in the beautiful, modern, white-and-gold interior feels like a breath of fresh air. The menu leans on Moroccan influences with a former Frenchie chef at the helm—dishes like minty chickpeas and labneh and harissa lamb with tabbouleh take center stage. If you happen to pass by at an odd afternoon hour, a coupe de champagne at the long marble bar is the way to go.
Wild & the Moon55 Rue Charlot, 3rd | +33.186.954.046
&A welcome addition to Paris's growing roster of health-centric restaurants, Wild and the Moon hits that sweet spot of tasty health-conscious food that is actually filling. The menu has been formulated by vegan nutritionists, with over half of it dominated by juices and tonics—adaptogenic coffee chaga shakes, blue algae smoothies, charcoal lattes, and golden mylks. The food centers around hearty, flavorful grain and lentil bowls packed with vegetables and topped with inventive miso-based vinaigrettes. For the traveler seeking a little balance with their crème brûlée, stocking your hotel room with a mini-bar-friendly assortment of the café's raw bars, chia puddings, cold-pressed juices, and zucchini muffins is never a bad call.
Bouillon Pigalle22 Boulevard de Clichy, 18eme | +220.127.116.11.69.31
Bouillon Pigalle is a restaurant of the proletariat. Though it would be more accurate to call it a restaurant of the proletariat of Paris who favor watercress salad, escargots, beef bourguignon, frites, and a menu that is as true to a bistro menu as it can be. Historically, in French restaurant vernacular, a "bouillon" is a restaurant that served bouillon-which is to say good, afforable food, that appealed to the working class. And Bouillon Pigalle is the 2018 version: 300 seats; a festive, bustling vibe; and a crowd willing to wait the better part of an hour for table. No matter. The profiteroles are that good.
Blueberry6 Rue du Sabot, 6th | +18.104.22.168.21.56
Travelers missing their sushi fix usually slink over to Blueberry on night three in Paris, when the capacity to consume another plate of steak-frites is officially no more. Purists be warned: The maki are on the innovative side, imbued with tropical, citrusy flavors like mango and yuzu (trust us: These rolls are next-level good). The atmosphere is more disco than serene. Whitewashed stone walls are illuminated electric blue and neon pink, while dozens of low-hanging lamps dispel any notions of a romantic dinner. Come at lunch for value, but dinnertime is when the ambiance reaches a celebratory fever pitch, when the lighting is most dramatic. Somehow, those perfect, umami-rich mouthfuls just taste better after dark.