Eating like a local: where to find a good crêpe in Paris
Crêpes are a typical French specialty from the Brittany region but you can find them basically everywhere in France. It’s a must try whenever you’re in the country not only because it’s what the locals eat but also because it’s easy food, kids love it, and overall, crêpes are pretty cheap. There is little not to like about these pancake-like wraps. Plus, trying local foods is a great way of discovering a country!
A crêpe is nothing like the pancakes you know in the USA or the Netherlands, where they are thick. The French ‘pancakes’ are thinner and come in two different sorts: there are the sweet ones made of wheat flour, filled or covered with anything sugary. The standard sweet crêpe is sprinkled with sugar, but a wide variety exists: other popular fillings are Nutella (yum!), fruits, jams or caramel. One very well-known crêpe is the ‘crêpe Suzette’ which is lightly grated with orange peel and a little bit of liqueur (usually Grand Marnier) which is subsequently lit upon presentation. Then there are the ‘salty’ pancakes made of buckwheat flour, called ‘galettes’. These are gluten-free so that’s a hooray for people with gluten intolerance. The galettes don’t include any sugar, are slightly darker coloured than their sweeter sisters, and can be filled with anything from ham, eggs, potatoes, chorizo, veggies to cheese. My favourite is the classic complète stuffed with jambon de Paris (Parisian ham), grated Gruyère cheese, and a softly-cooked egg in the middle. Your galette should be a little crispy on the edges and brown-coloured.
You can eat a French crêpe basically anywhere in Paris. The sweeties are sold at various street corners where you pay a few euros for one. I occasionally buy one in the streets, just to fill my tummy and when I crave something sugary. They also sell the sweet pancakes with salty treats, but be aware: these are not the real galettes. For a really good crêpe (salty or sweet), you’ll need to head to a crêperie. Yes, that’s a restaurant where they mainly sell crêpes. And thankfully, we have plenty of them in Paris. But only a few stand out for me. These are my personal favourites:
Breizh Café, 3rd arrondissement. Address: 109, rue Vieille du Temple Tél: 01 42 72 13 77. Metro: Saint-Sébastien Froissart or Filles du Calvaire (both line 8). Located in the hip Marais area. Breizh café also has an epicerie next door where you can buy their tasty crêpe ingredients and more.
West Country Girl, 11nd arrondissement. Address: 6, passage St. Ambroise. Tél: 01 47 00 72 54. Metro: Rue St Maur or Parmentier (both line 3) or Saint-Ambroise (line 9).The owner is from Brittany and is a real crêpe expert. It’s not located in a touristy area but if you happen to be around, please try it.
Crêperie Paris Breizh, 12th arrondissement. Address: 177, Avenue Daumesnil.Tél: 01 43 45 16 10. Metro: Daumesnil (line 6 or 8) or Dugommier (line 6). Large restaurant with friendly staff and both indoor and outdoor seating. Pleasant terrace.
Little Breizh, 6th arrondissement (Saint-German area). Address: 11, rue Grégoire de Tours.Tél: 01 43 54 60 74. Metro: Saint-German-des-Prés (line 4), Mabillon (line 10) or Odéon (both line 4 and 10). Excellent crêperie in a beautiful area of Paris. Nothing more to add.
Crêperie Framboise, in the 8th arrondissement. Address: 7, rue de Ponthieu. Tél : 01 74 64 02 79. Metro: Franklin D. Roosevelt (line 1 and 9) or Saint-Philippe-du-Roule (line 9). Wide variety of very nice crêpes, located in a modern setting with easy going staff.
Don’t forget to order a good glass or bottle of cider to go along with your crêpe (like a real Breton).