Despite its German origins, the hamburger is a fundamentally American meal. Indeed, a simple beef patty slung between two pieces of bread and served with a generous helping of fries is one of the most quintessentially American dishes you can get, and French tourists generally can’t wait to try the real deal when they visit.
Of course, opinions vary as to whether including cheese, bacon, or salad or any one of a number of other extras adds to or detracts from the overall effect, but it’s a simple, down-to-earth comfort food that is now loved by fans the world over.
It might not fit with the idea of classic French haute cuisine, but burgers are popular here too. In fact, they always have been: the presence of pricier, classier alternatives, only seems to drive the French ever more willing to indulge their junk-food cravings with a Big Mac.
Labour of Love
A new type of burger craze is sweeping the capital, though. A handful of high-end restaurants have sprung up in Paris offering a much classier type of burger. These aren’t thrown together production line affairs, but a real labour of love, often made by chefs who manage to combine their love for the American burger with French savoir-faire and the best local ingredients.
Over the past few months, a couple of new joints have opened up offering (almost) nothing but ‘designer’ burgers, while other restaurants, keen to keep up with the trend, have also added burgers to their menu. There are so many places you can try a quality burger that a recent article by French newspaper Le Figaro covered the trend their list of favourites ran to a dozen venues.
Here are a couple of our favourites you can try:
Le Camion Qui Fume — various locations
Not a restaurant per se, but a New York-style food truck, with burgers costing around 8€. You’ll need to look online to find out where it’s stopping, but it makes regular visits both to the place de la Madeleine and outside the Point Ephémère, one of our favourite places to drink and dance in the city.
Blend – 44, rue d’Argout
Not too far from the Marais, the chefs here aren’t afraid to straying off the beaten track with some recipes, adding spinach to their burgers, making their own ketchup or offering fries made with sweet potatoes.
Le Floréal — 150, avenue Parmentier
This place doesn’t just do burgers, it’s also a lively bistrot and trendy bar where the neighbourhood’s coolest cats come to see and be seen. The end of the bar extends beyond the front door leaving a mini streetside terrace that is absolutely heaving in the summer. You’ll probably want to enjoy your burger a table inside!