The Top Spots To Eat In Paris If You Only Have A Day

Paris street with a cafe
Paris street with a cafe - Catarina Belova/Shutterstock

Paris is known as "the City of Light," and some say it's the world's most romantic destination. Whether you're there with your better half, visiting with friends, traveling for a work trip, or doing the city solo, there's so much to experience — and so many amazing places to eat that it can be hard to know where to start.

If you've only got 24 hours in Paris, you'll want to eat and drink at all the best places. We've rounded up some top spots, including hidden gem restaurants and out-of-the-way cafes for you to check out. If you're visiting the city in August -- the month most Parisians take their summer vacation -- don't forget that many bars, restaurants, and cafes are closed or have reduced opening hours.

Let's dive into our top spots in Paris to check out if you're only here for a day. To make life easier, we've included the Paris neighborhoods — known in the city as arrondissements — for each location. The only question is, which spots will you head for first?

Read more: 16 Essential French Snack Foods You Need To Try

Le Sancerre (18th Arrondissement)

Le Sancerre exterior
Le Sancerre exterior - Facebook

While it's true that Montmartre can feel a little touristy at times — after all, it's home to the Moulin Rouge and Amelie's cafe — it's still one of the most scenic arrondissements of the city. Exploring its cobbled streets and uncovering cool wine bars and cafes is all part of the experience here, and there are plenty of great spots to check out. Exploring its cobbled streets and uncovering cool wine bars and restaurants is all part of the experience here, and there are plenty of great spots to check out.

If you're pushed for time, don't miss out on a trip to Le Sancerre. This neighborhood institution is always packed with locals and frequented by expats who call Paris home. Come for a cocktail or glass of red wine, or settle in for a late, French-style lunch or dinner. Treat yourself to a croque monsieur, or enjoy the homemade donuts.

In summer, the huge floor-to-ceiling windows in front open onto the street, as lively, buzzy chatter and the smell of steak frites fill the air. You'll find yourself lingering longer at La Sancerre than you expected.

Berthillon (4th Arrondissement)

Ice cream cone outside Berthillon
Ice cream cone outside Berthillon - Yelp

Berthillon is a must-visit on any trip to Paris. Opened in 1954, it's considered the best spot in the city for ice cream, though it also serves up amazing pastries, cakes, and more. You can even come for breakfast if you're here early enough.

Located on the picturesque Île Saint-Louis, one of the city's two natural islands, Berthillon gets exceptionally busy, especially during the hot Parisian summer. Though you can expect queues, it'll never feel like a chore waiting in line here as you can spend the time taking photos of your stunning surroundings.

You'll find almost every flavor of ice cream and sorbet imaginable, from simple fruit flavors to delicious, inventive combos like wood strawberry and hazelnut or pear and caramel. You can enjoy your ice cream in the charming tea room, but we'd recommend getting your treats to go and enjoying a stroll around the island. The neighborhood is packed with quaint cafes, shops, and wine bars.

Angelina (Multiple Locations)

Pastries and omelet at Angelina
Pastries and omelet at Angelina - Instagram

Paris is beautiful all year round, but if you're there in the winter months, you absolutely can't afford to miss Angelina. It may not be one of the city's best-kept secrets, but this little tea room has been known for decades as the best spot in Paris to get a hot chocolate.

Today, there are several branches scattered across Paris' arrondissements. We'd go to the original, exquisite tea room on Rue de Rivoli — which opened in 1903 — to warm up after a stroll around the Tuileries or a visit to the Louvre. If you can't make it to this location, the others will also have delicious offerings, as well.

Alongside your hot chocolate, choose from a range of cakes and pastries, with a seasonal pastry on offer that changes every month. As well as classics like Paris-Brest and Mont-Blanc, you'll find exclusives like the Antoinette and Richelieu, plus a regularly changing savory menu if you feel like something more substantial.

Crêperie Du Manoir Breton (14th Arrondissement)

Crêpes at Crêperie Manoir Breton
Crêpes at Crêperie Manoir Breton - Crêperie Manoir Breton

No visit to Paris is complete without crêpes, and though you'll find them sold on practically every street corner, we'd recommend making your way to the 14th district for some at this Breton-style pancake place. What does Breton style mean, you might be wondering? Well, this place is all about traditional buckwheat galettes.

The menu is packed with savory options, with fillings from simple ham and eggs to more complex, delicious house specialties such as goat's cheese with honey and walnuts or Reblochon cheese with bacon and creamy potatoes. Don't fancy savory? There are also dessert crêpes with fillings including fruit, Nutella, chestnut cream, and Chantilly. Don't forget to order a rustic pitcher of Breton cider to wash everything down.

Crêperie Manoir Breton is located in the 14th arrondissement of Paris, which is packed with chain and independent cinemas showing everything from the latest blockbusters to afternoons of classic films. If there's time to spare, why not combine your trip for crêpes with a movie?

Saigon Sandwich (11th Arrondissement)

Saigon Sandwich exterior
Saigon Sandwich exterior - Yelp

Don't be fooled — this little gem in the 11th arrondissement may have a rather casual exterior, but it serves up some of the best banh mi in the city. Shhh, we're trusting you to keep this one to yourself!

Sandwiches at Saigon Sandwich are always fresh, delicious, and made from scratch, and we'd highly recommend stopping off here if you're planning a picnic on a hot sunny day. In fact, this would be the perfect place to grab lunch before heading for the grassy Champ de Mars, with views of the Eiffel Tower. Closer at hand, the Parc de Belleville is just a ten-minute walk away.

Not only are the banh mi here out of this world, but they're also extremely affordable. Reviews on TripAdvisor mention the pork or chicken versions with chả lụa (Vietnamese mortadella), vinegared carrots, and Maggi sauce. If you fancy something different, why not try the special, which changes regularly?

Indiana Café (Multiple Locations)

spread at Indiana Café
spread at Indiana Café - Indiana Café

Tex-Mex in Paris? It may not be the first food that comes to mind, but we highly recommend a visit to Indiana Café if you're looking for authentic Tex-Mex food in the heart of the city.

Located in lively Montparnasse, the 14th arrondissement that's also home to some of the city's best cinemas, this is the perfect place to grab a bite to eat — and a few cocktails — before or after a movie. On the menu, you'll find everything from fajitas to wings to nachos and more.

Indiana Café is at its best in the evenings, with a buzzy yet laidback vibe from the after-work crowd. It's open pretty late, too, so you've plenty of time to pop in after a late-night movie.

If you're in Paris on a Sunday, check out the Sunday brunch menu here, served from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Many of the district's smaller cinemas show classic movies on Sundays, too.

Hippopotamus (Multiple Locations)

steak at Hippopotamus
steak at Hippopotamus - Hippopotamus

Hippopotamus may be a chain restaurant, but it's been a Parisian stalwart for a long time, specializing in beef since 1968. That means you can rely on this place for excellent steak frites.

With several branches open until midnight or 1 a.m., Hippopotamus is a solid choice for a late-night meal. Prices are on the reasonable side, with a prix fixe menu that offers excellent value for money and doesn't skimp on portion sizes. You'll even get 5 Euros off the price of your meal if you present a cinema ticket from the same day (a minimum spend applies).

What to order from the expansive menu? Really, it has to be beef. We'd try the Entrecôte with fries, or the Classic Horse Steak, which — thankfully — isn't horse at all but minced steak topped with a fried egg. The beef rib for two or Irish Angus Sirloin Bavette are excellent choices, as are the beefburgers, made with 100% French meat.

Café Des Deux Moulins (18th Arrondissement)

Café des Deux Moulins interior
Café des Deux Moulins interior - Café des Deux Moulins

Our next top spot needs no introduction for fans of the movie "Amélie." Yes, it's a bit pricey. Yes, it's definitely touristy. But Café des Deux Moulins is the cafe from Jean Pierre Jeunet's movie, "Amélie."

Where else can you sit and people-watch with a hot chocolate or a cup of coffee while taking in the interiors from everybody's favorite French romantic comedy? This quaint little 18th arrondissement café is the perfect place to live out your very own little Parisian dream — and to snap a few pictures to make everybody back home jealous.

You could also eat here, if you like, with a menu packed with French classics like croque monsieur alongside burgers and salads. The café even serves breakfast, with a set menu starting from around 8 Euros.

If this is on your to-do list for your Paris trip, don't forget to make reservations. Café de Deux Moulins gets very busy, especially on weekends, and if you don't have a reservation, you might face a long wait, or even be turned away.

La Pâtisserie Cyril Lignac (Multiple Locations)

Cakes at La Pâtisserie
Cakes at La Pâtisserie - La Pâtisserie Cyril Lignac

You simply can't come to Paris without being wowed by rows of exquisitely crafted French pastries peeking out at you from pâtisserie windows around every corner. Though you're practically reassured of delicious pastries and cakes at every pâtisserie in the city, some stand out from the crowd.

La Pâtisserie Cyril Lignac is owned and run by renowned restaurateur Cyril Lignac, together with pastry chef Benoit Couvrand. With five shops across the city, there's sure to be a branch close to where you're staying on your Paris trip. There's even a chocolaterie with a tasting area on Rue Chanzy in the 11th district, not far from Faidherbe-Chaligny on Metro Line 8 or Charonne on Metro Line 9.

Try the Baba Au Rhum, the Chocolate Eclair, the beautiful Kouign-Amann with caramelized layers of flaky pastry, or the delightfully fruity and colorful raspberry tart. You can't go wrong with whatever you choose from the menu. Everything tastes as good as it looks and looks so fabulous that you won't be able to resist snapping some shots to share on your Instagram.

Le Train Bleu (12th Arrondissement)

Le Train Bleu interior
Le Train Bleu interior - Yelp

Next on our list is a healthy dose of old-school Parisian charm. Le Train Bleu is a breathtaking art-nouveau-style restaurant, with fittings and decor dripping in gold. Located in the Gare de Lyon, it opened in 1900 and is a must on any visit to the City of Light, particularly if you're on a date.

Expect typically brusque Parisian service here — it's all part of this place's traditional charm. The menu is packed with delights, making it difficult to choose what to eat.

We'd go for the indulgent lobster rigatoni gratin or the roasted leg of lamb, carved at your table, with creamy dauphinoise potatoes. The octopus mince with lime sounds amazing, too!

Let's face it, though, you're really here for the decor and ambiance, and you won't be disappointed. If there's one Instagrammable restaurant to include on your Paris itinerary, this is most definitely the one.

Cedric Grolet (1st Arrondissement)

Cedric Grolet pastries and cakes
Cedric Grolet pastries and cakes - Cedric Grolet

You should definitely come early to either of Cedric Grolet's two Paris locations. The queues here are always long, and for good reason — this shop's breakfast and pastries are amongst the best in Paris!

We'd recommend heading over early to enjoy a delicious breakfast. With croissants, pain au chocolat, Paris-Brest, and cakes and pastries topped with tiny exquisitely crafted sugar flowers and fruits, everything here looks to die for — and tastes just as great.

Located in the heart of the city's 2nd arrondissement, Cedric Grolet is the perfect place to start your day off the right way. The Musée Grevin wax museum is just a 15 minute stroll away, you're only a stone's throw from the Louvre and the Tuileries, and a 10 minute metro ride will take you to Les Halles for a spot of shopping in the subterranean mall. Cedric Grolet is open Wednesday through Sunday starting at 9:30 a.m.

La Tour d'Argent (5th Arrondissement)

La Tour d'Argent interior
La Tour d'Argent interior - La Tour d'Argent

La Tour d'Argent is one of those places that's expensive, but totally worth it. This Michelin-starred eatery offers one of the city's best views over Notre Dame Cathedral and the Seine.

The first thing you'll notice when you walk in is the elegant decor. This is the place to don your finest suit, dress, or other outfit of your choice and enjoy a celebratory lunch or dinner. You don't even need a special occasion to celebrate — after all, this is Paris! Reservations here are pretty much essential to guarantee you aren't disappointed.

Chef Yannick Franques serves traditional French cuisine with a modern edge, and the menu is packed with tempting dishes. The four-course lunch menu includes delights like red mullet with licorice-flavored black sausage and fish soup, soy-sauce glazed duckling with black garlic juice and zucchini, and roasted Provençal apricots with coconut ice cream.

Dine here in the evenings, and you can enjoy a set five-course menu or choose from the a la carte menu. Highlights include the milk-fed veal with artichoke, roasted blue lobster with plantain gyoza and Bombay curry, and Crêpes Mademoiselles.

Les Deux Magots (6th Arrondissement)

Les Deux Magots
Les Deux Magots - Les Deux Magots

Les Deux Magots opened in 1884 and was once the famous haunt of writers from Hemingway to Simone de Beauvoir. These days, it may be a bit of a tourist trap — and is renowned for being overpriced — nonetheless, it's somewhere everybody should visit at least once when in Paris.

The best place to sit is out on the terrace, under the shade of the awning. Get a coffee, hot chocolate, or a glass of wine and soak up the ambiance and history of the place. The opportunity for people-watching on the chic Place Saint Germain des Prés is a treat, too. If you absolutely must eat, try the Tarte Tatin with its rich, buttery pastry.

If you're spending the day in Paris, we'd recommend this as the first place you should visit. There's nowhere quite like it, with its charming Parisian vibe and elegant patrons.

Le Mary Celeste (3rd Arrondissement)

Le Mary Celeste
Le Mary Celeste - Le Mary Celeste

Le Mary Celeste does what Paris does best: It's a cozy neighborhood bar serving wine by the glass and small plates that are great for sharing with friends or just enjoying by oneself. This is a great place to linger in the evening, as one glass of wine turns into two, two turn into three, and the empty small plates stack up on the table.

As well as wine, Le Mary Celeste has a small but perfectly formed menu of digestifs. The bartenders can also whip up an excellent cocktail on request.

From the food menu, try the Thai-style mussels or oysters. The Tartare de canard (duck) with smoked beetroot and tamarind is perfect with a glass or two of red. We wouldn't say no to the lamb shoulder with aioli and gremolata, either.

For dessert, try the choux pastry with craquelin (a crunchy, cookie-like topping), chocolate, and little balls of hazelnut praline. The Pedro Ximinez makes an excellent digestif alongside.

Dong Tam (13th Arrondissement)

Vietnamese food at Dong Tam
Vietnamese food at Dong Tam - Dong Tam

It may not be the first type of cuisine you find yourself craving on a trip to Paris, but the city is renowned for its Vietnamese food. Those in the know head for the 13th arrondissement where you'll find plenty of small, unassuming-looking Vietnamese cafes serving up some of the most delicious dishes you've ever had in your life.

Dong Tam is one such establishment. Tucked away down a side street, this tiny restaurant is decorated simply and always packed with locals — that's how you know you're in for a treat.

Authentic Vietnamese dishes are served piping hot and freshly cooked, with the bánh xèo (Vietnamese pancakes) in particular some of the best in Paris. One reviewer on Trip Advisor highly recommended the hủ tiếu noodle soup, calling it "delish."

Prices are great here, too. You can enjoy a satisfying meal with generous portions for a lot less than you'd think in France's capital city.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.