Fine dining is one of the few elegant reasons why some tourists or travelers visit France. Aside from its historic past still manifested in its majestic buildings and pretty cobbled streets, distant hilltop villages and vibrant cultural scenes, France holds a top position when it comes to cuisine. This is a fact, and one that you have to discover for yourself whenever you visit the city of lights.
There's no better measure in identifying the gastronomic finesse of a gourmet space than the prized Michelin star. The Michelin Guide has been awarding stars to select establishments for excellence since 1926. Being awarded even a single star catapults an establishment into international heights, making it the most coveted badge in the industry.
In 2018, France boasts a record of 621 Michelin restaurants with at least 1 star. Fifty-four new restaurants have been incorporated under the banner including two new restaurants with three stars, bringing the total of three-starred French restaurants into 28.
In Paris alone, you can find just more than a handful of Michelin-starred restaurants. But to help you simplify your choices, here are our top picks:
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Located just minutes from the Louvre on the rue de Rivoli, this outstanding dining space provides refined dining choices under an elegant pastel-toned satin room with a high rococo ceiling, elaborate chandeliers, and Louis XVI chairs.
Restaurant Le Meurice features the works of multi-starred chef Alain Ducasse promises a culinary identity that leaves a lasting impression. The unique marriage of ingredients and advanced cooking techniques make the price worth it.
You are served with top-hatted doormen and uniformed concierges, all 400 staff that offer various assistance services. There are a total of 160 rooms in Le Meurice.
Location: 228, Rue De Rivoli, Paris, 75001, France
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Chef Sylvestre Wahid’s name may sound foreign but he is a classic Frenchman by heart. Under the training of Alain Ducasse, this naturally talented artist of the plate earned his two Michelin stars barely breaking a sweat. Patrons say it wouldn’t be a surprise if the restaurant receives its third honor soon, given the sumptuous delight reported of their delicacies. You will love their roscoff oilcake refreshed with caviar and the scallops with pumpkin and white truffle. The service is good and intimate space makes for a personal ambience. The desserts are top-of-the-game great. Each bite is absolute heaven at Chef Wahid’s kitchen.
The infamous chef is the successor of celebrity French chef Jean-François Piège at the Thoumieux Hotel. It was apparent he had some shoes to fill but he ended up exceeding all expectations. You could perhaps say there’s some gourmet revolution happening within Restaurant Sylvestre and we can’t wait to taste the results.
Location: 79 rue Saint Dominique, 75007 Paris, France
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Located in Le Bristol, Epicure is handled by chef Eric Frechon who has four Michelin stars and is known to be frequented by gourmands of the serious types. The restaurant is located on th Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. The Tuileries, Invalides and Musee d'Orsay are just nearby.
First opened to the public in 1925, the polished marble floors and crystal chandeliers all scream refined French elegance, made even more charming by delicate floral arrangements, grand Versailles-style furniture, and 17th-century antique tapestries. There are a total of 188 rooms.
Epicure offers rich contemporary French cuisine with interesting flavor fusions that is hard to find anywhere else.
Location: 112 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, 75008 Paris, France
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Literally translated as ‘Stories,’ the first solo venture of Bernard Pacaud’s son, Mathieu Pacaud has become a wild success. Himself a three Michelin star recipient, the younger Pacaud wonderfully creates an intimate space for culinary perfection.
The restaurant’s interior is a proud creation of Parisian interior design duo Patrick Gilles and Dorothée Boissier who combined pink and ivory hues with soft elegant lines and graceful prints. The restaurant only accommodates 12 guests every night so every occasion is private and personal.
The innovative culinary cooking will take you intro an ultimate gastronomic experience The dishes served are spectacular as they are beautiful. The desserts are delectable and the wine list is superb.
Location: 85 avenue Kleber, 75116 Paris, France
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Another fine dining space under the handle of super chef Alain Ducasse, the Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée offers silver banquettes, a wall cabinet of the chef’s culinary equipment and shimmering crystal-drop chandeliers. The majestic courtyard is formed into a skating rink on winter.
Famous for crafting remarkable dishes, Ducasse creates a beautiful contrast in ingredients that results to unique and unforgettable tastes. No meat on the menu. Instead, you are faced with a wide variety of seafood choices, and a spectacular range of vegetables from the gardens at Versailles.
Location: 25 avenue Montaigne, 75008 Paris, France
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On his retirement, 74-year-old leading French chef and practitioner of Nouvelle Cuisine Alain Senderens sold his shares to his associate Paul-François Vranken who entrusted the kitchen to Julien Dumas, a young chef trained in Alain Ducasse's dream team at Rech. What results is a culinary renaissance of Lucas Carton since its establishment in 1925. The staff are very caring and attentive and the atmosphere is particularly relaxed. Located just a stone's throw away from the majestic Madeleine Church, the mezanine gives you a great view of the structure and its surroundings. Food is exquisite and exceptional at all measures.
Location: 9 Place de la Madeleine
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Arpège is your three-star Michelin affair without the flashy flair. Who would have known that a heaven-like gourment experience is waiting for you just behind that nondescript frosted glass door just across the road from the infamous Musée Rodin?
This simple yet charming restaurant is composed of two levels. The street level dining space is brighter while the downstairs room provides a more romantic ambience.
Chef Alain Passard handles the resto and offers meticulously prepared dishes that are largely influenced by his personal upbringing in Brittany. His most sophisticated bests include beetroot sushi, flavoured with geranium oil and celery tagiatelle with creamy mushroom sprinkled with crunchy hazelnuts and doused in moorish parmesan and thyme sauce. Aside from the vegetables, he is also fond of cooking seafood.
Location: 84 Rue de Varenne, 75007 Paris
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A phenomenal restaurant situated near L'Étoile, Pages’s inventive menu produces an assortment of gorgeous dishes with interesting flavors. The restaurant is under the handle of Francophile Japanese chef Ryuji Teshima dit Teshi. You will love the wonderful selection of beef and wine. Asian inspirations are successfully blended into French cooking, creating a unique taste that is uniquely unforgettable.
Location: 4 rue Auguste Vacquerie, 75116 Paris, France
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Located on the banks of the River Seine, Guy Savoy's La Monnaie de Paris is one of the most calming places to eat Parisian gourmet. The pleasant interior features floor-to-ceiling windows that perfectly frame scenes from the river as well as the marvelous architectures and structures in the distance.
The famous chef is widely respected in the industry. He puts solid emphasis on the art of cooking and performs wicked methods that bring out mouthwatering flavors from the simplest of ingredients. The consistent inventiveness and technique allows for the interplay of different flavors and textures which makes dining at the La Monnaie quiet an experience.
Location: Monnaie de Paris, 11 Quai de Conti, 75006 Paris
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“Using top quality ingredients, dishes with distinct flavours are carefully prepared to a consistently high standard” per its official Michelin guide description.
This one-star restaurant located at 4, rue Auguste Vacquerie is said to have a very Japanese kind of poetics about it. Established by young Japense chef Hideki Nishi, Neige d’Eté "makes the most impeccable French terroir vibrate," says Le Fooding. The chef's taste for contemporary French cuisine shines in his salmon with a Gorgonzola millefeuille. The menu changes with the season and with the market so you will have something new to look forward to every time you visit.
Location: 4, rue Auguste Vacquerie 75016 Paris
Just last year, France acquired 54 new restaurants with Michellin stars to a total of 621. Paris being the city capital makes it well-positioned to house the finest dining spaces in the world. The prices can be extreme but the experience is priceless.