Fancy to casual: Paris sees a shift in food, dining

Chef Greg Marchand holds a tray of vegetables in the doorway of his restaurant Frenchie in Paris. "A lot of young chefs - I\'m part of it - open a restaurant with no investor, so with not much money. It\'s often small places, with no designer work because they cannot afford it. But what we have is a craft, knowledge, experience," he said. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

WASHINGTON — Food in Paris isn’t all fromage, croissants and expensive Champagne — although that wouldn’t be so bad. One of the world’s best and oldest food cities is seeing a boom in new culinary trends.

“Things have changed quite dramatically over the years,” says Patricia Wells, author of “The Food Lover’s Guide to Paris,” which includes more than 450 entries on where to eat and drink in the City of Love. “The city’s much more open, much more casual; things are open seven days a week; there’s more ethnic influence.”

The former New York Times writer has lived in Paris for the last 34 years and has seen an influx of younger people settle in neighborhoods that weren’t necessarily popular before, and these populations are opening restaurants and cafes that have lower rents, a smaller staff and smaller menus.

“That’s sort of become the trend, rather than going grand, grand, grand,” says Wells, who adds that Japanese, Vietnamese and Chinese restaurants are all currently popular cuisines.


Patricia Wells is the author of "The Food Lover’s Guide to Paris," which includes more than 450 entries on where to eat and drink in the city. (Courtesy Playback Producers)

But the grand dining experience is not completely pass

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