A trip to each of the following Parisian butchers possesses two vital qualities. First, the choice of meat is unlike anything you’ll find back home: from head to hoof (or claw or paw), inside and out, almost every part of the animal is on display and up for grabs. Second, the opportunity to pit your wits against silver-haired, hawk-eyed, and good-humored ladies in competition for the finest cuts is unmissable.
Boucherie Le Bourdonnec
Yves-Marie Le Bourdonnec, one of Paris’ superstar butchers, has built his empire on a simple philosophy: love the animals you intend on eating. His passion for the trade stems from his childhood spent on his uncle’s farm and, to this day, he maintains close ties with all his suppliers. A favorite of master chefs like Alain Ducasse, Le Bourdonnec’s 60-day aged côte de boeuf has made him a household name in the capital. Impressively, he has also used his 30 years of experience to train numerous young butchers and ensure a continuation of his ethical way of doing business.
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Another contender for the title of best butcher in Paris, Hugo Desnoyer is a master of the craft and there’s hardly a (meat-eating) person in the city who hasn’t tried, and loved, his steaks. All the produce on offer has been sourced from inside France and raised in a fashion that respects both the animal and the environment. Testament to this artisan butcher’s popularity, the meat – raw and cooked – is available for home delivery in parts of the capital. For those who’d rather have it prepared for them, the brand also comprises a growing number of restaurants.
Since 1899, the Roger family have been raising Charolais cattle on their Burgundy farm, passing down the business from generation to generation. The Boucherie Roger brand was created in 1973 and now there are seven of these luxury butcher shops in the capital. As well as for top quality beef (primarily Blonde d’Aquitaine and Aubrac), poultry, charcuterie, and rotisserie, it is the place to go for Catalan sausages, Iberian ham – the Bellota-Bellota variety of which was recently voted the best in the world – and Kobe beef.
Of all the butchers at the Marché International de Rungis, Paris’ and indeed the world’s largest wholesale food market, Les Boucheries Nivernaises are the biggest buyers. Nevertheless, their commitment to quality and the art of the trade ensures that shoppers at nearly 200 points of sale across France are never disappointed. Founded in 1954 by Jean Bissonnet, the shop on the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré was the third to open but is today the best known. This butcher also has the honor of supplying all the French president’s meat. If it’s good enough for him or her…
The Boucherie Moderne, located just a short walk from the Place de la Nation, distinguishes itself from its heftier Parisian competitors by its youth, dynamism, and forward-thinking attitude to meat and its preparation. This isn’t your average butcher shop. Created by John Gillot in 2004, this artisan butcher now counts nine highly skilled workers, eight of whom are under the age of 30. The team employ all the newest technological advances in their daily work and they are hellbent on reshaping people’s relationship with their neighborhood butcher, whilst remaining accessible and affordable, of course.
Les Jumeaux has more than earned its reputation as the most desirable halal butcher in Paris. As well as a sensational selection of beef, poultry, lamb, and veal products, this shop on the fringes of the capital offers meats that you just can’t find anywhere else, like bison, buffalo, yak, and zebu. This is in addition to its regular deliveries of impeccable Miyabi wagyu. Very much the 21st century butcher shop, Les Jumeaux also runs an active Facebook page, detailing the specialties and deals of the week. Whether you are a habitual halal eater or not, this place is absolutely worth a visit.
This specialty butcher with three locations in the elegant western districts of Paris has been in business since 1930. Three generations of Metzgers have now brought their vision of what constitutes quality butchery to the public. They have moved with the times whilst retaining that which makes them unique: the intense love for meat that keeps them searching France and overseas for the most delicious products. Suppliers equally of gourmet restaurants and family homes, the Boucherie Metzger et André is one you can always rely on.
Relatively new to the game, Boucherie Milo opened its doors to the lucky inhabitants of the 11th arrondissement in 2005. It occupies an intelligently chosen niche in the market, supplying only farm products grown or raised in Limousin, a historic region of south-central France. All the poultry is supplied by Marie Hot, the pioneering breeder behind the now ubiquitous Label Rouge. For now, it is only Parisians who can enjoy this marvelous butcher, but, one day quite soon, Londoners (and maybe even the Milanese) will be able to join the fun!