Dining alone, especially while in Paris, can be fantastic — as long as you find the right place to go.
Restaurants that have mostly tables of four, big groups, shared tables, long waitlists (how dare that one woman take up a three-person table!) — these are the conditions that make solo diners uncomfortable because their singularity is on display.
When you are next in Paris alone, head to one of these 9 restaurants for a good meal with a book, a notebook, or maybe just yourself. Sometimes that’s all the company you need.
In tourist-flooded Latin Quarter, few eateries feel truly authentic to the area. La Fourmi Ailée, a restaurant and tea salon, is an exception. Seated in a big open room of tables and worn, yellow booths, paintings and many floating bookshelves, and a ceiling painted to look like a sky, you will feel right at home. The menu is simple French food, offering dishes like quiche provençale, vegetarian lasagna with seasonal vegetables and various cuts of meat. Those with a sweet tooth or who prefer to come in for tea time will appreciate the selection of teas and tartes (we recommend the tarte au citron). Open from noon to midnight, it’s the kind of place you could spend an entire afternoon or evening.
Fringe mixes food, coffee and photography in an American-style coffee shop setting. Blonde wood tables, light fixtures like clouds, and carefully curated photographs decorate the small space, which seats less than 15 people (small enough to be cozy, but not so small you feel on display). Offering breakfast, lunch, baked goods and hot drinks, Fringe attracts expats, neighborhood locals, and creatives; you’re sure to see at least one other person dining alone. The food is made with seasonal, mostly organic and locally sourced ingredients. On the list of musts are their tartines, cinnamon buns and exceptional coffee.
Le Mini Palais provides the chance to dine inside one of the most beautiful buildings in Paris, Le Grand Palais. Enter on the southeastern corner of the building and ask to sit on the terrasse (heated in winter), whose elevation puts you eye-level with tourists on double-decker buses. (Don’t worry, you’re too far from the street to be noticed.) Sitting among the columns, woven café chairs, stonework and potted palm trees, it’s impossible to feel anything but regal. The terrasse is rarely very busy, and there are plenty of two-person tables to sit at. Stop by between noon and midnight to order a glass of wine and something from the menu’s affordable section, like a cheese plate or a light salad, for less than 20€. It’s well worth it to dine like a royal.
When you’re hungry around Montmartre, skip the tourist-flooded cafés and crêpe shops. A short walk north of Sacré-Cœur, Café Pimpin sits on a street corner near the Jules Joffrin Métro station. Expect to find fantastic coffee and coffee drinks, simple and delicious breakfast and lunch offerings, baked goods, wine and beer. A friendly staff, cozy décor and the mix of customers coming in create the café’s neighborhood hub vibe; (solo) people work on laptops next to friends catching up. The the space is well lit thanks to its wall of southeast-facing windows, and most of the seating is for two, except for one larger central table and the picnic tables outside. Order the granola bowl and a mocha, you won’t be disappointed.
L’Avant Comptoir de la Mer is the hidden seafood tapas bar of Comptoir, a restaurant with a month-long waitlist. Through the plastic flap doorway next to the seafood counter, you’ll find a long, narrow room with a bar, two high-top tables and a wall of wine. Sit at the bar and a server will immediately offer a glass of wine and bring a small mountain of butter with a basket of bread. The menu hangs on cards from the ceiling and specials are scrawled on a chalkboard, featuring options like Coquilles Saint-Jacques, ceviche de pistou, and chaud-froid de moules . Select three or four for yourself and enjoy the waiters’ banter and the exquisite food.
An old haunt of Paris’ theatrical crowd, Le Loir dans la Théière has developed a more touristy vibe over the years, but it is still undeniably perfect for eating alone. Lines to get in often form around lunch time, so it’s best to go on the earlier or later side, or else for afternoon tea. The eclectic seating — a couch here, a two-person table there — provides plenty of options. Be warned, the café has a no-cellphone policy, so pack a notebook, book or a few postcards and a pen to keep yourself occupied. And whatever you do, save room for the best and biggest piece of tarte citron you could dream of.
As suggested by the name, Hana Bento offers bento boxes and other Japanese Fare. At the Paradis location, enter on the first floor and order a bento box, donburi, udon or poké (all are 12€ to 14€). Take your number and head upstairs where you’ll find two-person seating in a room with minimalist Japanese decor. The food is good, the service is fast, and the space is cozy and comfortable to be alone in.
A food hall run by the Italian restaurant group Big Mamma, La Felicita is the largest restaurant in Europe. Such an enormous space might seem intimidating to eat alone in, but it’s actually perfect. There’s plenty of seating for a solo diner, from comfy chairs to tables for two to bar seating, and there are so many people doing their own thing, no one will have their eyes on you. Boasting fresh roasted coffee, homemade pasta and pizza, and an impressive drinks list, the dining experience, though on the pricier side, doesn’t disappoint. Wifi is free and the building remains open even when there’s no food service, so you’re welcome to sit and read and plan your next adventure. (Pro tip: check out the restrooms, trust us.)