The ten most overrated streets in Paris to avoid

We asked the experts at Localers walking tours to come up with a list of the most overrated streets in the French capital - and some suggestions for nearby alternatives.

The ten most overrated streets in Paris to avoid
Photo: mountainpete/Flickr

1. Boulevard Saint-Germain

No one would fault you for enjoying some upper-class window shopping along this avenue, or even overpaying for a cup of coffee at one of its iconic cafés. But afterward, promptly escape the commotion (and exhaust fumes) by sneaking one block north onto Rue de Buci. Though technically not a pedestrian street, it has the chilled out feel of one and is packed with terraced eateries and an outdoor market type of atmosphere. The famed Berthillon ice cream – the best in town – is also for sale there.

Photo: Kent Kanouse/Flickr

2. Rue de Rivoli (West)

Everyone in Paris ends up along Rue de Rivoli at some point (Angelina hot chocolate anyone?). But a more intimate and stylish thoroughfare lies just north called Rue Saint-Honoré. Once the path that led Marie Antoinette to the glistening blade of the guillotine, today it’s one of the most chic shopping lanes in Paris. The window displays never disappoint, and the exciting buzz of well-to-do locals bobbing in and out of boutiques offers a slice of Parisian life…or at least wealthy Parisian life.

Photo: Joe Shlabotnik/Flickr

3. Rue de Rivoli (East)

Feeling claustrophobic near the Hôtel de Ville? Especially at rush hour the sidewalks of Rue de Rivoli are something locals avoid. Consider instead the street running parallel to it, Rue de la Verrerie. It’s not only much quieter but it offers great deals on food and fashion. Second-hand thrift stores like Kilo Shop and Free’p’Star will get you stylish on the cheap, and restaurant Le Chant des Voyelles serves all-you-can-eat moules frites at lunchtime. Major score.

Photo: Luc Mercelis/Flickr

4. Rue de Steinkerque

It’s a shame the majority of visitors to Montmartre approach Sacré-Coeur by climbing this street. It’s not an authentic experience by any stretch, saturated with souvenir shops and three-card-monte hustlers. Instead, approach the top of the hill like we do at Localers, by walking Rue des Abbesses. It’ll tap you into the charm of Montmartre’s calmer side as you pass small fashion boutiques, vibrant produce stalls, and one of the area’s original windmills from 1622.

Photo: osecours/Flickr

5. Rue Cler

Just about every guide book will send you toward Rue Cler at some point, which is a fine street. Problem is everyone else knows about it, so the sense of a unique discovery is diminished. Try popping over to Rue Saint-Dominque instead, where fewer tourists roam and more authentic residential life bubbles to the surface. Don’t miss the block of three restaurants owned by beloved chef Christian Constant (Les Cocottes is a favorite), for one of the most memorable meals in the 7th arrondissement.

Photo: mountainpete/Flickr

6. Rue de Sèvres

The popularity of Paris’ first department store, Le Bon Marché, ensures a constant flow of tourist crowds along this street. What few of them realize is that just one block south on the parallel Rue du Cherche-Midi, a treasure trove of trendy addresses can be found. Picture-perfect foods shops, uber-cool concept stores, and affordable restaurants are all secrets of the locals. A cozy stop for hot beverages and madeleines awaits you at tearoom Mamie Gateaux.

Photo: mbzt/WikiCommons

7. Place de la Bastille

This square feels like it was designed more for rush hour traffic than pedestrian enjoyment, and in fact the city plans to revamp it in the coming years. Until then, take advantage of a more intimate experience not far away called the Promenade Plantée. It’s an old elevated railway that meanders toward the city’s edge, transformed into a pedestrian lane full of plants, trees, and unique views of the surrounding neighborhoods. It’s the perfect embodiment of off-the-beaten-track Paris.

Photo: Panoramas/Flickr

8. Grands Boulevards

The Grands Boulevards area (Boulevard des Italiens – pictured below – Boulevard Montmartre, etc.) was once a chic playground of Parisian society. But arrivals like Starbucks, Chipotle, and Hard Rock Café have tarnished that historic luster. Luckily there’s the Rue des Martyrs just a few minutes north, a street so delicious you’ll forget you’re trekking up a hill the entire time. Every specialty food you’ll ever need is on offer: crèpes, waffles, jams, roasted chickens, lemon tarts—and some of the hippest coffee inside KB Cafeshop.

Photo: Mark H/Flickr

9. Champs-Elysées

There’s an easy way to abandon the overly commercialized Champs-Elysées for a concentration of truly elite boutiques. The Golden Triangle is delineated by a triangle of avenues: Montaigne, George V, and the Champs-Elysées itself. This is where you want to live out your Coco Chanel fantasy in Paris. Also don’t miss a chance to pop into some luxury hotel lobbies like the George V and Plaza Athénée, where Jack Nicholson filmed a scene for Something’s Gotta Give.

Photo: Jonathon/Flickr

10. Rue de la Huchette

Once you’ve made the obligatory (but worthwhile) stop at Shakespeare and Company bookstore, you’re bound to get sucked onto the tourist-laden Rue de la Huchette. If you do, duck away to the short-and-sweet Rue de la Parcheminerie. It’s named after the parchment merchants that once inhabited this medieval lane, and perhaps fittingly there’s a Canadian bookshop called The Abbey that sells English language books, with the welcome bonus of free tea and coffee. While you’re there, don’t miss the gothic church of Saint-Séverin around the corner.

Photo: Ninara/Flickr

These tips were provided by Corey at Localers, the friendliest walking tour guides in Paris, who offer small group and private tours of the French capital. Browse their selection of over 30 excursions and experiences by visiting them here.

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The bistros you just have to seek out in each Paris arrondissement

An unofficial list of 100 of the best bistros in Paris has been put together by top French chefs and the city's mayor. We've narrowed it down to 20, one from each arrondissement.

The bistros you just have to seek out in each Paris arrondissement
The Bistrot Vivienne in the 2nd arrondissement. Photo: WikiCommons

As one of the global capitals of gastronomy, Paris is a great place to dine on superb nosh and satiate your tastebuds with French flavours.

And to celebrate the culinary brilliance of Paris, Mayor Anne Hidalgo and seven top chefs released on Wednesday a list of 100 best bistros across the city.

These small, classy restaurants are quintessential to Parisian lifestyle and epitomise the creativity of French cuisine.

From the list we have selected a top choice in each of Paris’s 20 arrondissements. (For the full 100 see bottom of page)

1st arrondissement: L’Ardoise

With its slate covered walls, this gourmet bistro offers an innovative menu and serves game in the winter.

28 rue du Mont Thabor

Photo: Instagram, claraachard

2nd arrondissement: Bistrot Vivienne

In a gallery attached to the bibliothèque Nationale, this bistro pays tribute to very traditional flavours.

4 rue des Petits Champs

Photo: Wikipedia Commons

3rd arrondissement: Elmer

The skillful chef at Elmer produces delicious cuisine with international tones, against a backdrop of canteen style tables and a blazing roasting pit.

30 rue Notre-Dame-de-Nazareth


4th arrondissement: Metropolitain

With an Art Nouveau décor, go here for rich and creative dishes, not far from rue de Rivoli.

8 rue de Jouy


5th arrondissement: Café de la nouvelle Mairie

In this wine bistro, every glass of wine served is paired with typical regional food, at any hour of the day.

19 rue des Fossés Saint-Jacques

Photo: Instagram, wanderwonders

6th arrondissement: Le Timbre

Breaking down barriers between the cooks and the guests, with a big open kitchen, this bistro makes transparency central to a successful feast.

3 rue Sainte-Beuve

7th arrondissement: Plume

In a designer setting, the dishes at Plume are creative and modern, using very French techniques. Precision and freshness all round.

24 rue Pierre Leroux

Photo: Facebook, Plume Restaurant

8th arrondissement: L’Évasion

On the corner of Place St Augustin, the great classics of French Cuisine can be enjoyed on velvet covered sofas and wooden tables. It has a relaxed atmosphere with a large selection on French wine.

7 place Saint-Augustin

Photo: Facebook, L’Évasion

9th arrondissement: Comptoir Canailles

A love declaration to good meat, this little restaurant leaves it to mature for two weeks, finally perfecting it with his meticulous cooking technique.

47 rue Rodier


10th arrondissement: Bistro Paradis

In a minimalist restaurant interior the chef presents, with a smile, the sweet flavours of Brazil infused with the flavours of his own French culinary technique.

55 rue de Paradis


11th arrondissement: Le Villaret

A quaint market kitchen, Le Villaret has a wine list that reads like an invitation to travel. It is the hideaway for fans of good, unpretentious food.

13 rue Ternaux

Photo: Google Street View

12th arrondissement: Table

Every day, the chef sources seasonal produce from local sellers to create artistic dishes.

3 rue de Prague

READ ALSO: If there's one thing you have to do in each Paris arrondissement it's this

13th arrondissement: Tempero

Influenced by French, Brazilian and the Vietnamese cooking, the chef bends herself backwards to titillate all the senses with rigor and passion.

5 rue Clisson

Photo: Instagram, K_2blacka

14th arrondissement: Les Petits Plats

In an atmosphere straight out of the early 20th century, come here to be comforted by generous servings of Aubrac beef, charcuterie and cheeses.

39 rue des Plantes

15th arrondissement: Le Grand Pan

With a mosaic floor and good food on the plate, the chef, a butcher’s son balances generous meals with more delicate dishes.

20 rue Rosenwald

Photo: Google Street View

16th arrondissement: Le Petit Pergolèse

Here the menu features simple and carefully prepared dishes. The options vary depending on what the market has to offer, and the dishes are served in an “arty” atmosphere, as the chef is a passionate art lover.

38 rue Pergolèse

17th arrondissement: Le bouchon & l’assiette

In a setting nostalgic of South-Western warmth, Le Bouchon & l’assiette pays tribute to small producers.

127 rue Cardinet

Photo: Instagram,

18th arrondissement: Le Coq Rico

Here the chef gracefully accepts a celebrity status for their poultry and carefully selected ingredients.

98 rue Lepic


19th arrondissement: La table de Botzaris

In this elegant bistro, the chef recreates classical dishes, playing with herbs, spices and Mediterranean flavours.

10 rue du Général Brunet

20th arrondissement: Le Baratin

The Argentinian chef who works at Le Baratin takes great care, concocting perfectly flavoured dishes.

3 rue Jouye-Rouve

Photo: Instagram, petnathekmat

Here's an interactive map of the top 100 from the City Hall.