Crepes are one of the world’s great democratic foods. They’re inexpensive, often portable, and remarkably adaptable: as easily enjoyed by meat eaters as by vegetarians, and ranging from hearty and simple to lofty and gourmet. In short, they make a meal that few people would claim to genuinely dislike (including picky kids). With 12th-century origins in Brittany, a region of France where the rocky soil made it difficult to cultivate anything apart from buckwheat, traditional savory crepes (known as galettes to distinguish from white-flour counterparts generally used for desserts), are delicious and nutrient-rich.
While Paris is hours away from Brittany, there’s a noteworthy Breton community in the capital, and a number of excellent crêperies to choose from. Whether you’re hankering for a buckwheat galette filled with goat’s cheese, fresh greens, walnuts and a bit of honey or a sweet crepe de froment smothered with salted butter caramel sauce, these are some of the best crepes in Paris. Well, according to me, at least.
Location: 109 rue vieille du temple, 4th arrondissement (Metro: Saint-Sebastien Froissart)
Open: Mon-Fri, 11:30 am to 11:00 pm; Weekends 10:00 am to 10:00 pm
Reservations: Highly recommended– book online (2 weeks in advance maximum)
Raved about by foodie types, Breizh Café is perhaps the most popular crêperie in the capital these days. At their original 4th arrondissement location at the edge of the Marais, long lines regularly coil around the block, rain or shine– and the last time I was there, I waited for a table for around 40 minutes.
It was well worth it, despite the pouring summer rain outside. This veritable crêperie empire founded by French entrepreneur Bertrand Larcher in Tokyo — which now has branches in Cancale and Saint-Malo– boasts creative and gourmet recipes that still manage to retain a sense of tradition. They use organic buckwheat in their savory galettes, such as the one shown above with egg, cheese, fresh zucchini and tomatoes, and even the simplest galettes (such as the one shown below, with mushrooms, cheese and a touch of hot pepper) are invariably made with fresh, local high-quality ingredients. Those who enjoy Scandinavian cuisine may appreciate the galette with smoked herring and potatoes, while galettes with sausage or ham and cheese are heartier traditional options.
Sweet crepes here are genuinely gourmet– never over-wrought nor excessively cloying. I had to reign myself in from scraping every bit of caramel sauce off the plate, after gobbling up a fresh apple tatin-style dessert crepe during my last lunch there. Others that are reputedly delicious include one with lemon cream and zest, and a summery delight with poached peaches, raspberry sauce, ice cream and fresh mint. Meanwhile, for those who love buckwheat in all forms, try the sweet dessert galette with honey, ice cream, and puffed grains.
Breizh has become such a name in the capital that it now has other locations there, including Little Breizh (11 Rue Grégoire de Tours; Metro Mabillon or Odéon) and a second Breizh Café restaurant in Saint-Germain-des-Prés (1 rue de L’Odéon; Metro Odéon).
There’s even a café, restaurant and cider cellar where you can sample 70 different Bréton ciders, enjoy a creative cocktail or maki-style roll with buckwheat pancake base. See my full review of the Breizh Café and Cider Cellar in the Montorgueil district here.
In spite of the multiple locations, it’s always a good idea to get there early– lines frequently run around the block during lunch and dinner hours (as I can attest to). It may even be best to just reserve several days in advance, and avoid the wait altogether.
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Meanwhile, the adjoining epicerie/shop at #111, rue Vieille du Temple offers galettes and crepes to go– a boon for anyone short on time– and also stocks a delicious selection of Breton treats, from jams to biscuits and spreads. The cave has some 60 varieties of Breton cider for sale.
Crêperie Ti Jos
Location: 30 rue Delambre, 14th arrondissement (Metro: Edgar Quinet or Montparnasse)
Open: Daily except Sundays for lunch and dinner service; reservations aren’t usually necessary but may be a good idea on Friday and Saturday
This “Breton pub” in the Montparnasse district has long been a favorite of mine. They serve a large variety of savory and sweet crepes in hearty portions– perfect for a filling and inexpensive meal out, especially on a cold night. This isn’t a “hip” creperie– there’s a firm emphasis on tradition and warm service here– but you’re nearly guaranteed a delicious meal.
Savory galettes are made with fresh buckwheat flour, Guerande seasalt and water– nothing else. Favorites include tomato, goat’s cheese and onion, egg, mushroom and ham, or roquefort and egg. The galettes are deliciously buttery and crispy at the edges, and generously filled.
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Sweet crepes for dessert also remain on the simple but delicous side. I recently tucked into one served with a scoop of salted caramel ice cream, while my partner went for one doused in dark chocolate. Here, as with the savory galettes, portions are generous.
A true pub, Ti Jos also offers a decent selection of ciders, Breton beers and other regional libations. They also host regular musical evenings featuring traditional Celtic folk music– from both Brittany and Ireland.
You can read my full review here.
Crêperie Le Petit Plougastel
Location: 47 rue Montparnasse, 14th arrondissement (Metro: Montparnasse)
Open: Daily except Sundays for lunch and dinner service; reservations aren’t usually necessary
David Lynch fan? If you’re in Montparnasse, also consider lunch or dinner at the nearby Crêperie Le Petit Plougastel, whose outside area served as a location for a surrealist scene with Lynch himself and Monica Bellucci in the brilliant Season 3 of Twin Peaks. It’s admittedly been years since I last tried the crepes there, but I remember them being fresh and delicious. The creperie also regularly gets very good to excellent reviews on TripAdvisor,
The Fork and other sites where travelers weigh in, so I feel comfortable recommending it even though my memory needs a refresh. Taking a look at their recent online menu, they have an excellent selection of vegetarian options here, including galettes filled with goat’s cheese and salad or fresh asparagus, creme fraiche and chives. Some of their savory galettes veer over into gourmet territory: one with seared scallops, leeks and chives sounds especially delicious.
La Crêperie Brocéliande
Location: 15 Rue des trois Frères, 18th arrondissement (Metro: Abbesses; Anvers)
Open: Tuesday-Sunday for lunch and dinner. Closed on ondays.
Reservations: Not required, but recommended on Friday and weekends, especially.
Located not far from the Sacré Coeur, the Crêperie Brocéliande is a Montmartre-based eatery whose home-style cooking has won legions of fans. Their menu, which emphasizes numerous gluten-free options (note that buckwheat galettes are generally gluten-free to begin with) is straightforward, with a focus on fresh produce and authentic recipes. Their galette with goat’s cheese, candied onion and cream is indulgent and delicious, while I also very much enjoyed a simple dessert crepe with chocolate and slivered almonds.
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Meat eaters will likely enjoy the wide variety of galettes with ham, sausage and other hearty ingredients. This isn’t a spot for dieters, nor for those with a preference for avant-garde cooking– but the dishes are well-prepared, generously portioned and delicious.
Some Good Takeout/Street Crepe Options?
A warm crepe filled with cheese, nutella, jam, or sugar and lemon is the perfect portable treat when you don’t feeling like sitting in– but where to find the good ones? The aforementioned Breizh Epicerie at 111, Rue Vieille du Temple is a great option for an excellent takeaway galette or sweet crepe. Otherwise, I have no specific stands to recommend, but I do always advise making sure that the crepe stand you visit offers made-to-order crepes. Avoid any where you see a stack of pre-prepared pancakes: these are rarely as good, and they’re often just as expensive. Also watch out for stands where the ingredients look wilted or stored improperly: a recipe for food poisoning, in my unfortunate experience! When in doubt, look elsewhere.
Other Recommended Crêperies
For other excellent crêperies in the capital, check out this list from Time Out . They recommend newer addresses such as Bretons (56 avenue de la République, 11th arrondissement; Metro République) and Mad Eo (19 rue de Picardie, 3rd arrondissement)– both lauded for using fresh, creative local ingredients and cooking to traditional Breton recipes. Also see this excellent piece from food writer and pastry chef David Lebovitz.