Even Paris, the revered epicenter of gourmet cuisine, is not immune to the fast-food craze sweeping the globe. Street food, and quick-service spots imported largely from the U.S. and the U.K., are all the rage. And perhaps no one menu item is as iconic in this trend as the hamburger. In France, the burger has an exotic—almost sophisticated—quality. It conjures images of American-cool, of freedom, and of international youth. Our favorite burger restaurants all pay special attention to the quality of their ingredients, with meat sourced from small, often organic, farms, and with distinctly French elements. Some of the masterminds behind France’s best burgers reinvent the traditional drive-through recipe with hyper-local iterations, featuring French blue cheese, Herbes de Provence, or even foie gras. But of course, who can take the signature-side more seriously than the Parisians? French fries are always homemade, never frozen, and rival even the best chips in America.
Stalk this food truck on Twitter, or head to the new brick-and-mortar outpost on Rue de Turbigo. Cantine California was a pioneer of the American street food concept, and after two years, hungry Parisians can now chow on Bay Area burgers at both the curb and the restaurant’s communal tables. Avocado and bacon are key in the “Cali’Classic,” while Obama’s eponymous burger gets gouda and arugula.
This bespoke-burger bar gets bonus points for sleek fixtures (exposed Edison light bulbs) and stylish servers (black berets; checked button-front shirts). Pick from beef, lamb, veal, or chicken, and a variety of cheeses, vegetables, and sauces. Top with fresh grass—chive, coriander, or tarragon—and don’t pass on the complimentary fernandines, or French fries. For the indecisive, five signature burgers are ready-to-order.
Quality meat sourced from Yves-Marie Le Bourdonnec is minced on site, making for top-notch burgers: but it’s the handmade details (house-baked buns; fresh-cut fries; homemade pickles) that keep the lines at Blend steady. This French-based burger house is even a favorite amongst vegetarians. Order the Tale for a breaded mozzarella patty with sun-dried tomatoes, house-cooked tomato sauce, and basil.
Paris New York
Chic interiors by local architectural firm, Cut, include an Escher-esque tiled floor and a grid of light bulbs on the all-black ceiling. The ultra-modern spot is the perfect backdrop for complex, contemporary burgers: try the Banh-mi-inspired chicken burger, Indochine Mon Amour, marinated in five spices, topped with Thai basil, and served cold. Wash it all down with a homemade lemonade.
Out by Bastille, this casual burger joint in one of the trendiest arrondissements doesn’t sacrifice quality for their budget prices. Ten Euros will get you a burger and fries (homemade, of course). Choose from four stalwart menu items (Cheddar, Blue, Spicy Cheddar, and Chicken) and vie for one of the vintage schoolhouse stools beneath an unexpected graffiti-print. Starvin’ Joe will also flip mini and maxi versions of his signature burgers.