Paris is one of the most sophisticated gastronomic places in the world, where diners enjoy fine dining that combines the highest quality ingredients with the most glamorous of atmospheres. It is a wonderful romantic experience for couples. For children however, it is less than stellar. Many of the fine dining establishments in Paris are not child-friendly in any way, shape or form. There are always those international chain restaurants that are family-friendly, but the last thing visitors in Paris want to do is eat what they can get at home. So seeing the City of Light with a young family can be a bit of a challenge when it comes to finding a place to eat. Many families have to search for it, but there are some more kid-friendly establishments that still encompass the fine dining experience of Paris. Here are some of our favourites...
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Breizh Cafe is just one of the many wonderful cafes littered throughout Paris, but it is quite a unique one. It seems to want to be three different things at the same time – part creperie, part cider house and part seafood restaurant. Diners may start off with a plate of creuse oysters, move onto a crepe and then end the meal by sipping on one of fifteen artisanal ciders. The good thing about this very random little cafe is this it welcomes children. While adults enjoy their local seafood and cider, children enjoy crepes filled with all kinds of goodies and topped with whipped cream.
By lunchtime the queues outside of the falafel shops on Rue des Rosiers are out the door. This long established purveyor of falafel and shawarma is somewhat of a local secret in Paris. Chez Hanna is classy, but much more laid back, like any good falafel place should be. Due to its laid back atmosphere, this is an excellent place for families. A hearty pita sandwich filled with chickpea and herb balls, tahini sauce and vegetables isn't exactly the French delicacy that escargot is, but when trying to get a taste of what local Parisians love, it is the best.
Breakfast In America
Even in Paris there comes a time when you just need a solid hearty breakfast of eggs, bacon and pancakes. Breakfast in America is a great place to take the family that is being especially resistant to trying French food. This is American fare, plain and simple. Surprisingly, even with all the great places to eat around the city, Breakfast in America is almost always packed full of local families.
Chez la Vielle Adrienne
Chez la Vielle Adrienne is a small, traditional French bistro located in the popular Les Halles quarter of Paris. Although many French bistros cater to a classy, usually child-free clientele, Adrienne is prized for its family-friendly atmosphere.
Due to its small size and perhaps because this establishment is family owned, this is a great place to introduce children to the French bistro atmosphere. Families can enjoy fantastic beef bourguignon, veal foie and pot au feu. Of course, as a reward of good children, the homemade dessert list cannot be missed. The tarte tatin or creme brulee are great for showing children that if they behave, French cuisine has some great rewards afterwards.
La Bonne Franquette
La Bonne Franquette is one of the best kept secrets in Paris. This is where artists like Pissarro, Sisley, Renoir, Monet and Van Gogh often met to talk shop and eat a great meal. Diners can expect some traditional and down to earth French cuisine like French onion soup, Burgundy snails, millefuellie and duck liver pate.
What makes this little cafe so good for families is that a fussy child is no more of a nuisance to diners than any of the passing cars. This open air cafe is noisy and vibrant, which makes it hard for the behaviour of one person to stick out.
In many of the family friendly restaurants in Paris, parents have to sacrifice having a wine list, but at La Bonne Franquette that’s not the case. As this cafe is located so close to the Montmartre vineyards, it has an extensive wine list for adults to enjoy. With over 150 different vintages, the bottles come to the table perfectly decanted and ready to enjoy.
Le Carre sits opposite to the beautiful St Augustin Church and its invitingly homely decor lures gawking tourists off the streets in their droves. Le Carre is a cozy, family oriented restaurant that serves up elegant French classics without being snooty about it.
Diners enjoy dishes such as cod and chorizo, Pastilla St Marcelin and succulent smoked duck. Come lunch time this is a popular hotspot for local businessmen, but the dinner hour attracts a full gamut of clientele to this wonderful little restaurant. While the interior has made a point of making everything as comfortable as possible, when the temperatures rise, guests are given the option to sit out on the beautiful terrace to enjoy their meal.
Le Palais d'Agadir
Le Palais d'Agadir serves up authentic Moroccan fare. This Moroccan jewel is run by two brothers who took it over after their father. They have strived to keep the same quality food that their father served for many years.
Diners can enjoy Moroccan staples like tangines, cous cous and zesty harira. As the restaurant is on the outskirts of Paris, Le Palais d'Agadir doesn't so much market to local businessmen or other high class diners – but to local families – so visiting families will feel right at home.
Families shouldn't be ashamed to go to Paris only to end up eating pizza. There are many establishments in Paris that serve up pizza the real Italian way, so visiting families get some great culture as well as one great pizza.
Pizza Marzano in the Toulouse district is one such place. The restaurant's name has become synonymous with quality, fresh ingredients and tradition. The pizza Parmentier is a beloved French favourite with potatoes, free range eggs, parmesan, oregano, rosemary, mozzarella and fromagere with brie.
Auberge Angevine is also as much as an eatery as it is a place to take in a show. Diners are seated at one of the many long medieval style dining tables to feast like a king. Amid all the feasting, crowds of jugglers, fire eaters and acrobats perform. With the crowded setting and all the entertainers, this restaurant is definitely a family affair. So while adults enjoy the extensive wine collection and traditional French cuisine, the kids will be happily entertained.
Auberge Angevine has traditional dishes like Moules Marinieres, Hachis Parmentier, Pot au Feu and Marget de Canard. There are also medieval dishes on offer, like an entire leg of turkey, mutton and whole roasted chickens. There is also something present that is not often found in French restaurants – a kid's menu full of chicken fingers and sliders. This is easily one of the best restaurants to take the kids to in Paris.