Since the 1920s bd du Montparnasse has been one of the city’s premier avenues for enjoying Parisian pavement life, with legendary brasseries and cafes.
The down-to-earth 15e cooks up fabulous bistro fare – along rues de la Convention, de Vaugirard, St-Charles and du Commerce, and south of bd de Grenelle.
In Chinatown, try av de Choisy, av d’Ivry and rue Baudricourt.
Villagey Butte aux Cailles, 13e, is chock-a-block with interesting addresses: rue de la Butte aux Cailles and rue des Cinq Diamants are the main foodie streets. Vibrant food markets fill the nearby bd Auguste Blanqui every Tuesday and Friday morning.
Trains depart from Gare Montparnasse for the windswept region of Brittany, a couple of hours west, but you don’t have to leave the capital for authentic Breton crêpes. Due to the Breton population congregating in this area, the station's surrounding streets – especially rue du Montparnasse, 14e, and rue Odessa, 14e, one block west – are lined with dozens of crêperies. Traditional favourites include Crêperie Josselin, named after a village in eastern Brittany, and Crêperie Plougastel, named for the Breton commune near Brest.
Breton crêpes are folded envelope-style at the edges, served flat on a plate and eaten using cutlery – and are best washed down with bowls of brut Breton cider. Savoury galettes use blé noir – (buckwheat flour; sarrasin in Breton), while both galettes and sweet crêpes made from white flour use salted Breton butter. Traditional toppings include andouille (Breton sausage), and caramel au beurre salé (salted caramel sauce; salidou in Breton).
Paris' traditional village atmosphere thrives along rue Daguerre, 14e.
Tucked just southwest of the Denfert-Rochereau metro and RER stations, this narrow street – pedestrianised between av du Général-Leclerc and rue Boulard – is lined with florists, fromageries (cheese shops), boulangeries (bakeries), patisseries, greengrocers, delis (including Greek, Asian and Italian) and classic cafes where you can watch the local goings on.
Shops set up market stalls on the pavement; Sunday mornings are especially lively. It's a great option for lunch before or after visiting Les Catacombes, or packing a picnic to take to one of the area's parks or squares.
A Gourmet Picnic
Stroll away from the crowds along the banks of the Seine to the staunchly local 15e where picnic aficionados can experience picnic heaven.
Enter Ladurée Picnic, the first specialist picnic boutique of the mythical Parisian patisserie. Alongside the signature rainbow of macarons arranged in glass cabinets, there are luxurious salads (lobster, salmon, tuna, artichoke), delicate finger sandwiches with imaginative fillings, traditional French pastries (including a walnut croissant to die for) and exquisite cakes. Wash it down with a creative juice (goji berry and pomegranate), flavoured water (ginger and coriander, verbena and lemon, mint and cucumber) or a flute of Champagne.
Limited seating is around a long marble counter with bar stools, or take your peppermint-green paper bag of deliciousness to nearby Île aux Cygnes to picnic in splendour with Eiffel Tower and Statue of Liberty view.