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Bistros are back in Paris, and foodies from around the world are heading on France tours in search of the latest and greatest establishments in the City of Light. For the most part, Parisian bistros, or small restaurants, adhere to the traditional characteristics of offering moderately priced and smaller portioned fare. Others cross the line and serve up decadent dishes with splashes of flavor that pack a punch from the moment they enter your mouth. Many of the newest establishments, however, are inexpensive, catering to younger crowds of diners who still want to indulge in a delicious meal now and again.
Here are some bistros you should throw into your itinerary during a tour of France:
Semilla: Casual meets gourmet
You might miss this small basement establishment when you first walk by, but if you keep your eyes open and happen to find it, you'll be happy you did. With an open kitchen that's always alive with vivacious chefs constantly yelling at each other in French you'll have a thrilling experience the moment you walk into the eatery. High-octane ambiance aside, once you sit down at the bar or one of the small tables, you can order small, tapas-like items, including pork chorizo, mushroom veloute or house-smoked salmon.
Abri: So new it's practically raw
It's only been around for a month, according to Fodor's, but Abri is already filling up its reservations and has made a name for itself as one of the best new bistros in Paris. It also lets customers get a six-course dinner for a mere 38 euros, which comes out to about $50. Be sure to order the escargot and salmon tartare before trying the Grand Marnier creme brulee, which you'll surely be talking about with everyone on your France tour.
Terroir Parisien: A locavore's dream
If you're the type of traveler who wants to eat as much locally sourced food as possible, then Terroir Parisien is right up your alley. Chef Yannick Alleno concocts mouthwatering dishes made from ingredients grown at farms surrounding the Ile-de-France. His menu features dishes made with lamb raised a mere 50 miles away from the Eiffel Tower.
"The new worldliness of cooking in Paris is fantastic, but the greatest food in the city will always be local and simmered in history," Alleno told Conde Nast Traveler.
Look down in wonder at Buckingham Palace, the Palace of Westminster and St Paul’s Cathedral from your glass-walled pod on the London Eye, then gaze out over the Louvre and the Champs-Elysees from the top of the Eiffel Tower.
The scent of rich pine forests lingers in the breeze as the 13th-century ruins of Turaida Castle are revealed before your eyes in the lush Gauja River valley in a medieval sanctuary untouched by the march of time.
The aroma of dark roasted Viennese coffee hangs thick in the air as you tread the cobblestone laneways and bask in the elegant architecture, atmospheric cafes and refined restaurants in one of the most beautiful cities in Eastern Europe.
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