Everyone comes to Paris to eat, a mission that can be equally inspiring and nerve-racking. Crack the code by letting culinary guide Wendy Lyn of the Paris Kitchen lead you on a tour, or just home in on some of her favorite places: In St.-Germain, she recommends L’Avant Comptoir, a standing-room-only tavern that serves inventive tapas—macarons of boudin noir; brochettes of foie gras and piquillo peppers. The smell of dark cocoa and butter hits you when you enter Patrick Roger, a nearby chocolatier that sells 40 different single-origin bars from around the world and ganaches flavored with basil, lime, Guinness, or Sichuan pepper. Lyn sends those harboring serious cheese fantasies to Laurent Dubois, a sleek, well-lit fromagerie with seemingly endless options, a few blocks east in the Fifth. A counterbalance to these well-heeled Left Bank spots is Aux Deux Amis, across the Seine in the 11th. What looks like a working-class café is actually the brainchild of David Loyola, a four-year veteran of elegant Le Chateaubriand. Loyola’s seasonal lunchtime menu might include a fillet of cod with roasted beets and a rhubarb crumble for dessert.
Paris Affordable Tip: Pâtissier Éric Kayser is a third-generation baker known for creative treats. Stop in his Latin Quarter branch for a bichon au citron, a flaky turnover filled with delicate lemon curd and sprinkled with just enough sugar for a caramelized crunch. Pastries for two $18.
Paris Family Tip: Bypass the Eiffel Tower crowds by purchasing tickets online in advance (access to the monument is free for children younger than four). Check out the website’s Eiffel Tower quiz, trivia, coloring pages, and more in English and French. 33-8/92-70-12-39; tickets from $6 per child, $12 for adults.
Paris: World’s Best Scorecard
No. 10 city overall
No. 5 city in Europe