- August 1, 2019
- All things Paris
- Anna Livesey
We all come to Paris seeking the city’s very best: the best bread, the best food and wine, the all-round best sightseeing experience. But with a city so huge and full of choice, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by your options. Here’s a handy tip from Theatre in Paris: try taking the advice of the experts. Every year around the city, various jury-led competitions don the official verdict on all kinds of Parisian staples, from the finest of fine dining to the most original event for expats. Our list of 2019 award-winners will help you head straight to the top with everything Paris has to offer.
The Best Baguette
Let’s start with the fundamental base of all French society: the baguette. Anyone who has spent a day in Paris will know that the city is no less than brimming with baguettes of every size, sort, and softness. But with boulangeries on every street corner, how does one know where to find the crunchiest crust or a dough that truly melts in your mouth? Every year the City of Paris awards one talented baker their Grand Prix for the Best Baguette. Proud winner of the 2019 edition was Fabrice Leroy of Boulangerie Leroy-Monti in Paris’ 12th arrondissement. Now hordes flock every day to get their hands on one of Leroy’s loaves, which judges deemed the very epitome of wheaty, doughy perfection.
The Best croissant
Moving swiftly onto another sacred Parisian patisserie: the croissant. This time it’s the Greater Paris Baker’s Union that roll out this annual competition, where the principle is the same but the baked good in question is that little bit softer and butterier. In 2019 the Best Croissant award went to La Fabrique aux Gourmandises, a classic style boulangerie in Paris’ 14th arrondissement. It might be situated at the city’s very outer limit but for pastry this mouthwatering, you will not regret making the pilgrimage.
The Best restaurant
Since 2000, trendy restaurant guide Le Fooding has been publishing an annual list of its favourite Parisian restaurants across a whole host of categories. Their overall Best Table award for 2019 went to Le Rigmarole, a Japanese fusion restaurant serving up truly sumptuous grilled meat and seafood. Masters of the ‘binchotan’ technique (grilling over white charcoals), chefs Robert Compagnon and Jessica Yang marry a shared passion for traditional Japanese cuisine with their own American, French and Taiwanese heritages. Le Fooding finds the flavours of their prize-winning restaurant nothing short of ‘stratospheric’.
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The Best shows
Thought Molière was a dead white playwright? Think again! These days the father of French theatre resembles a classy gold statuette and he’s awarded each year in the prestigious Molière Theatre Awards. This annual prize is considered the highest honour for live theatre in France, equivalent to the American Tony Award or the British Olivier Award. The runaway success at this year’s edition was new show La Machine de Turing, which walked away with prizes in four categories, including Best Show in a Private Theatre. Also amongst nominees were sell-out musical Chicago and society comedy Le Prénom (aka Hello my name is) both of which Theatre in Paris was proud to have championed in our English-language box office.
The Best experience
You might think a prize for the number 1 holiday experience would be hard to quantify – but that’s exactly what TripAdvisor does in their yearly Travelers’ Choice Awards. Determined algorithmically using the ratings and reviews provided by TripAdvisor users, this prize is about as mathematical as it gets. France’s winner for 2019 is a wacky private tour of Paris in a vintage sidecar. Available from 40 minutes up to 7 hours, this tour will zoom you round all Paris’ key sights and hidden side streets, with anecdotes from your driver guide providing the low down along the way. 420 out of 426 TripAdvisor users gave this retro travel experience a perfect 5* rating, with one enthused punter calling it “the best and only way to see Paris!”
The Best expat event
Traveller’s experiences are all well and good for travellers… but what about those of you who are in this for the more long-term? Every year, the thousands-strong readership of Expatriate Magazine check out the journal’s ‘Best of Paris’ awards for city life recommendations that are tailor-made to expats. Most recently, the magazine’s prize for the Best Expat Event went to Lost in Frenchlation, which hosts weekly film screenings of contemporary or classic French films with added English subtitles. Theatre in Paris was thrilled to win a notable mention for our own subtitling services, which render French-language plays 100% accessible to English speakers. Find out more about our accessibility guarantee.
The Best park
Paris may be a capital city but it’s got more than enough green space to give residents a taste of the countryside. In Timeout magazine’s latest annual poll, the Love Paris Awards, users voted Buttes-Chaumont their favourite park in Paris. Perched in the north of the city, safely outside of the main tourist hubs, it’s no surprise that locals covet this hilltop spot over busier equivalents like the Jardin des Tuileries or Luxembourg. The park’s steep sloping sides and artificial rockery give it a magical feel, with a view that stretches right out over the rooftops of Paris. Only don’t bother bringing a picnic – unless you want your camembert to roll clean away...
The Best Bar
Parisian bars are like nowhere else in the world: think breezy terraces, (occasionally) grumpy waiters, and sweet sweet dirt cheap French wine. It comes as no surprise, then, that there is always a healthy roster of Parisian contenders in the World’s 50 Best Bars annual ranking. Voted for by drinks industry experts from across the globe, this list provides an ultimate guide for barhoppers and cocktail connoisseurs everywhere. In at number 24 in the 2018 ranking, is Le Syndicat, Paris. Don’t trust the rough-around-the-edges exterior of this establishment in Paris’ 10th arrondissement. Inside you’ll find an ultra classy cocktail bar complete with vintage liquors and glinting golden curtains. Two other Parisian bars also make the list: Little Red Door and Candelaria, both of which can be found in the stylish Marais district.
The Best tour guide
Freetour.com is an online catalogue of free and budget walking tours in over 110 countries. For two years now, the company has been organising an annual prize rewarding the highest quality walking tours offered at the most affordable prices. Winner in the Best Free Tour Company Worldwide category this year was the Paris branch of European-wide operator, Discover Walks. This team of enthusiastic locals and residents are committed to sharing their weird and wonderful Parisian knowledge. Whether it means sightseeing, food tasting, or anecdote sharing, a Discover Walks tour is guaranteed to give you a more offbeat glimpse of the city.
The Best pizza
Last up is another Best Of winner from restaurant guide Le Fooding. Situated in the heart of the theatre’s ever-growing theatre district, Da Graziella’s pizzas have been deemed to spread the most flavoursome toppings in Paris onto the city’s most perfectly kneaded pizza bases. Le Fooding’s top picks from the menu: an explosively spicy ‘nduja sausage number or the ’suprising’ Carbonarammare (cured pork, leek, and Japanese tuna). And, since you’re in the area… why not catch a show afterwards!
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