Book Review: Food Lover’s Guide to Paris

Patricia Wells has released the 5th edition of her highly acclaimed book “The Food Lover’s Guide to Paris”. First published in 1984, this is the first update since 1999.

Food Lover's Guide to Paris
Food Lover’s Guide to Paris

Patricia Wells, food critic for the International Herald Tribune for more than 25 years, has written 13 other books including several books on French cooking. Patricia also conducts French cooking classes in Paris and Provence at her cooking school – At Home with Patricia Wells.

Patricia is the only woman and only foreigner to serve as restaurant critic of a major French publication, the newsweekly L’Express. She has also been a writer and editor for The Washington Post and The New York Times.

Patricia Wells at Cafe Flore in Paris - photo by Stephen Ellison
Patricia Wells at Cafe Flore – photo by Stephen Ellison

Her impressive background and experience are evident in the layout and content of “The Food Lover’s Guide to Paris”. The world has changed a lot since the last edition of this book in 1999, and so has the food scene in Paris. According to the author Paris has become much more casual, prompting inclusion of a chapter on Cafes and Casual Bites that was not present in the last edition.

The chapters are organized by types of establishments such as: Restaurants; Bistros and Brasseries; Cafes and Casual Bites; Bakeries; or Cheese Shops. Within each chapter the listings are grouped by arrondissement, then alphabetically.  Each listing includes: name; type of establishment or food served; address and phone number; closest metro stop; opening and closing times; website address and email when available.

Restaurant listings also include information about reservations, atmosphere, specialties, and price. A reference section in the back of the book offers, among other items, information on vegetarian-friendly menus.

Ms. Wells states that taken into consideration when reviewing restaurants are the quality of the ingredients, the chef’s creativity and overall service. The book describes her specific criteria for judging the menu and wine lists. According to the author, “you know it’s a good restaurant when you are already planning and looking forward to a return visit before you pay the check.”

The reference sections at the end of the book allow the reader to search for establishments by arrondissement or alphabetically. There is also a French/English Food Glossary.

Having read “The Food Lover’s Guide to Paris” I cannot imagine a trip to Paris without it as my trusty companion. In fact, it has me wanting to take off for Paris tomorrow!

Additional Information
For those using IOS apps there is also an accompanying app for iPhone and iPad available at the iTunes store. With the app, restaurants can be accessed alphabetically or by location.

A map of Paris shows all selected addresses, with color-coded pins and GPS locations to guide you to the best restaurants, shops and markets wherever you may be. (Offline maps are available when you are not connected to the internet.)

Each destination includes commentary, address, contact phone number, opening hours, and menu prices. App users can call numbers directly, link to web sites and find relevant directions. Photos are included for many destinations.

Kathy Stafford
Kathy Stafford

Kathy Stafford is a writer, publisher and editor. She was a contributing author to "Sasha Cohen Fire on Ice". She has been a contributing editor to several publications including, "Discover Balboa Park: A Complete Guide". Kathy was publisher and editor of "Skating Sketches", reporting on figure skating worldwide, for over ten years. She was a credentialed journalist as a figure skating specialist for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City. She has covered international skating events in Switzerland, France, Finland, England, Canada and the United States with published articles in Canada, Japan, and the United States. Although she never accepted an assignment, she was on the list of approved Lonely Planet authors for three years. She is currently combining her love of travel, and her background as a writer and editor, as a publisher and author of travel related journalism. In addition, she blogs about her search for her family roots at

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