Skip to content

A few weeks ago, I went to hear Alec Lobrano speak and read from his terrific book, Hungry for Paris, and someone asked if there were ethnic restaurants listed in the book. He replied that he didn’t include them, because most visitors coming to Paris probably are looking for French food, so that’s what he concentrated on.

He’s right, of course. Lots of visitors do come here specifically to dine on classic French fare, but I also know that there are a certain number of visitors that eventually tire of so much meat and rich food, and are willing to explore some of the more unusual and diverse food available in a multi-cultural city like Paris. I also think that Americans (at least this one) are hard-wired to eat ethnic foods, namely anything Asian. Living in California, sushi, Korean bbq, and bun bo are pretty much a part of my normal dietary fare.

Since I arrived in Paris, I’ve noticed a strong uptick in the quality of Asian restaurants here. And I’ve also noticed there’s much more of an appreciation of them, too.

The French are known for adopting foods to their own tastes, hence the sunny-side up eggs atop the burgers and le fromage in bento boxes at Japanese take-outs. But great, authentic places abound in the 13th arrondissement as well as on the rue St. Anne. So it’s kind of odd that Les Pâtes Vivantes is near the Grand Boulevards, where it’s hard to miss, because usually the fellows are in the window, twirling their hand-spun noodles.

sesame noodles

Not only is Les Pâtes Vivantes not expensive, but a bowl of their handmade noodles in soup, or stir-fried with beef, tofu, and chili pepper, is pretty satisfying, especially when the temperature dips as much has it has been lately. Although those with less-tame palates than some of the locals may want to ask them not to hold back on the spices, if you don’t mind a bit of fire. But whether you like it spicy or cool, or you’re like me and prefer a bit of both, you’ll likely find me there next summer (or sooner) slurping up a bowl of their cold, slippery sesame noodles.

Les Pâtes Vivantes
46, rue du Faubourg Montmartre (9th)
Tél: 01 45 23 10 21

UPDATE: Les Pâtes Vivantes opened two more locations, one on the Left Bank, at 22, boulevard St-Germain, Métro: Maubert-Mutualité (Tél: 01 40 46 84 33) and the other at 3, rue de Turbigo (Tél: 01 40 13 08 04) by Châtelet/Les Halles.

Related Links & Paris Dining Tips:

Two Delicious New Dining Guides to Paris

My Sui Mai (Recipe)

Time Out Paris Dining Guide

Kimchi (Recipe)

French and Italian Menu Translation Made Easy

Seaweed Cookies (Recipe)

Vegetarian Restaurants in Paris

Breizh Café



    • maryn

    That place sounds delicious. About Asian restaurants, I’ve been a bit stunned at the proliferation of Asian (Chinese?) traiteurs; my landlady in the 11th says that arrondissement is actually trying to restrict any more being opened. I don’t mean to suggest that more traiteurs indicates greater interest in Asian food, or at least in *good* Asian food, any more than the logarithmic increase in Chinese buffets in the US does – perhaps it’s as simple as, traiteur Asian is cheap, salty and sweet – but the phenom intrigues me.

    • Paula Maack

    Mmmmm…. NOODLES….

    You’re killing me, David!


    ~ Paula
    (of Ambrosia Quest)

    • Parisbreakfasts

    I’m heading here next time in the 9th. My ancient cousin is fed up with Rose Bakery..well the noise anyway, so I’ll take her. I ate mostly chinese this last trip and couldn’t have been happier, though I missed going to Pho 67 on rue Galande – lovely light, satisfying food.

    • Steve

    As an occasional visitor to Paris since…well, quite awhile back in time (so far back that the middle car on every metro train was reserved for première classe passengers)…it is easy to notice the proliferation of Asian food outlets, be they restaurants or traiteurs (that sounds so much classier than take-out). Walking through parts of Belleville it’s easy to think you’re on Clement Street. A recommendation like this one is helpful because many of these places appear completely anonymous.

    • Dana Mccauley

    A few years ago I received a review copy of an Ethnic food guide to Paris that did include some restauarnt mentions….must look for that book so that I can post the full name.

    • Chaz

    I love eating ethnic food in Paris, it doesn’t always work, I had some Mexican there where they got the flavors right, but the meat cuts were all wrong and didn’t work. I’ve had decent sushi, awful Italian, good pizza, and on my most recent trip for my birthday my friend Jeffrey took me to a cramped udon bar near the opera (on some tiny side street) where I had the most amazing curry udon with pork that I’ve ever experienced. It was a yellow curry, but there was something very different to it and it made my tummy smile.

    • Mary

    When I visited Paris this year, I was astonished to see the number of hot-table Chinese spots, up sharply from my last trip in 2002. I think if the French public expect higher standards, the fast food joints will be forced to rise to the occasion. At least, that’s the feeling I always got after eating surprisingly good sandwiches in Paris. Something that’s less regular in Toronto.

    • David

    Dana: I’ve seen that book and it was an interesting attempt to present the various ethnic neighborhoods and foods of Paris.

    Chaz: Yes, you’re right. As mentioned, sometimes ethnic foods get “modified” around here, for local tastes. (Although I’ve seen it happen elsewhere, too. Croissanwiches anyone?) But certain cuisines, especially Mexican and Italian, are underrepresented. On the plus side, there’s great North African food, like couscous, and there’s some good, authentic Japanese places, too.

    Carol: Pho is one of the few Asian dishes I don’t like. Have you been to Pho 14? That seems to be the place to go, for those who do.

    Mary, Steve, marym: Oy! All those traiteurs selling Chinese take-outs have really taken over Paris. Most of the food is passable, although there was some tv hidden-camera report a while back that questioned the hygiene.

    (I didn’t see it, which is probably a good thing.)

    I avoid the places advertising les sushis since it’s all salmon and tuna, which are two fish I’m avoiding. Still, those places are popular since they’re quick, cheap, open all hours, and the food is bonne pour le régime, the diet that everyone always seems to be on around here, especially the younger women.

    • Babeth

    Your post made me want to jump into a TGV to go for lunch in Paris! I will definitely bookmark the address.

    • Lucy

    I love hand spun noodles in beef soup. I wish we had a restaurant that did a good Beijing style version. I will try this place next time I go to Paris. Thank you David!

    • Barbra

    I am always looking for good noodles in Paris — I’ll certainly check out Les Pates Vivantes next time I’m there. A body (this one, anyway) can only take so much fromage, rillettes, paté, foie gras…

    • krysalia

    oh, the documentary about chinese take-outs in paris, les appartements-raviolis, YIKKKES … beleive me David, as a melon washer and things like that, you do NOT want to see it :)

    • Parisbreakfasts

    is this the one?
    Pho Banh Cuon 14, 129, avenue de Choisy 75013
    I’ll go to any Pho place…not discriminating in the least when it come to pho..

    • marion

    I’ve been here !!!! In October !!!
    The noodle-ballet is a fascinating thing, and everything was so mouthwatering ! and delicious :)
    Sure, this is a very very good adress to have lunch/dinner :)

    • deden

    I never tried france food. I just heard from my friends that the taste is good.
    Yup your photos make hungry. i just wondering…all the foods you made originally from france? seem from asian…

    • deden

    I never tried france food. I just heard from my friends that the taste is good.
    Yup your photos make hungry. i just wondering…all the foods you made originally from france? seem from asian…

    • DD

    I have great memories of eating (granted, only certain types) ethnic food in Paris! My husband and I actually made it a point to eat a ton of North African/Maghrebi food. We had an amazing meal at 404 but there were also quite a few nights where we grabbed a late night kebab sandwich (with french fries stuck inside the sandwich!) or just ducked into a local North African restaurant. I regret that we didn’t visit a Vietnamese restaurant. I’ve noticed when traveling in Europe, the best ethnic food is usually from the countries that was colonized by the European country you are visiting. Thus, lots of good Indian food in Britain, good Indonesian food in the Netherlands, etc.

    • David

    DD: Shortly after I moved to Paris, some locals said to me, “You’re not Parisian until you’ve had a merguez sandwich, packed with French fries too, at 3am.”

    So far, I haven’t had one of them…yet, although I’ve had quite a few sandwichs grecs. Am still searching for the perfect one, and I think I found it, on the rue Rambuteau, which looks good.

    Someday (or night) I’ll actually stop and and try one!

    • krysalia

    David> did you know that those meat sandwitches with french fries are called “ un américain ” in the north of france ? ;)
    But instead the merguez, french people from le nord would rather advise you to try our famous fricandelle (white meat fried sausage), topped with the legendary samouraï sauce :D !

    • FN

    My girlfriend and I were in Paris for 2 1/2 weeks and she found this place just walking around. We had dinner there and enjoyed it tremendously. My GF is from Singapore and is a pretty tough judge. She loved the Hainanese noodles. I tried them, they are delicious. We both loved the dumplings as well.

    What caught her eye? The owner hand pulling the noodles in the window.

    • FN

    My girlfriend and I were in Paris for 2 1/2 weeks and she found this place just walking around. We had dinner there and enjoyed it tremendously. My GF is from Singapore and is a pretty tough judge. She loved the Hainanese noodles. I tried them, they are delicious. We both loved the dumplings as well.

    What caught her eye? The owner hand pulling the noodles in the window.

    • beanie

    I just wanted to express my love of this food blog and your impeccable taste for noodles!!!!

    I’m from San Francisco, but I’m currently studying abroad in Paris. My friend introduced me to this website when she sent me the post on your/my favorite pho place in San Francisco! PPH or PPQ…I never remember the name, has been my favorite place for pho/bun bo/imperial rolls since I was 5 and lived on 22nd.
    And now I’m living in the 9th and my host family brought me to Les Pates Vivantes when the “poor little exchange student” was homesick and just wanted some noodles. It was delicious and reminded me of another restaurant on Irving…I think it’s called the Golden City, I haven’t been there in a while, but I remember the same home made thick noodles with delicious braised beef accompanied my a plate of fresh dumplings.
    Oh, Dumplings! are there any good dumpling places in Paris? I’ve heard/think that most of the Asian restaurants here are Southeast Asian rather than ethnically from Northern China?

    I thought it was a miracle when you posted on pho, and now spicy beef noodles. It made my tummy clench. Sanks man.

    • Catering Miami

    Spicy beef noodles, very yummy, nice job.

    • Aki Rian


    I tried the restaurant twice. Sorry to tell this is one of the most disgusting in the new wave of chinese restaurants in Paris, and the food quality is fastly decreasing. They keep on insulting their clients in front of them, thinking non chinese don’t understand chinese…

    • Lucie

    My daughter and I ate at here during our short stay in Paris and it was a highlight of our trip. The place was crowded and hot – but any discomfort was outweighed by the exciting food. My daughter who has travelled in Japan enjoyed the meal and was impressed by the fresh noodles.


Get David's newsletter sent right to your Inbox!


Sign up for my newsletter and get my FREE guidebook to the best bakeries and pastry shops in Paris...