Looking for what to eat in Paris? This post will show you all the famous foods in Paris you must try to fully understand French gastronomy!
One of the many things France is famous for is its cuisine. And luckily for you, you can enjoy it while in Paris.
Apart from the popular baguettes, croissants, and macarons, there are other Parisian foods that will leave you craving for more and wondering why you hadn’t tasted them yet.
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If you’re ready to finally give them a taste, I’m here to give you an insight into the best foods in Paris — be it street foods, bistro dishes, on-the-go snacks, or gastronomic sit-down dinner. This way, you can take in the Parisian culture by eating like a local.
So without any further ado, here’s the list of 17 famous foods in Paris you have to try ranging from staples, aperitifs to mains.
For desserts, I have a whole post dedicated to Parisian pastries. So, I got your sweet tooth covered with that.
Before You Go, Here’s How to Plan Your Visit To Paris: Practical Quick Tips
WHERE TO STAY
Best Eiffel Tower Views: Hôtel Le Walt (9.0)
Luxury stay: Pullman Paris Tour Eiffel (8.2)
Mid-range stay: Hôtel Eiffel (8.7)
Budget Stay: People – Paris Bercy (8.9)
Apartment Rental: Résidence Charles Floquet (9.1)
- Don’t forget to take Travel Insurance. Request a free quote from my favorite insurance, World Nomads. (More on this at the end of the article.)
- Prepare your trip extensively with this Paris Travel guidebook.
- Don’t forget a universal travel adapter, a travel neck pouch, and comfortable walking shoes.
- Consider getting either the museum pass or the Paris city pass if you plan to visit a lot of attractions. The city pass comes with free transportation and access to the hop-on-hop-off bus. You can read my Paris museum pass review to see if it’s right for you.
- Book this private transfer from CDG airport to Paris to avoid the hustle of figuring out how to get to Paris.
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Famous Foods in Paris
If you’ve ever wondered what to eat in Paris, go on and give this list a read. I’m sure some of them might surprise you.
1. Breads: Croissant, Baguette, Pain au Chocolat
Baguettes, Croissants, and Pain au Chocolat are to France what Hamburgers and Pizzas are to the USA — talk about clichés associated with the regions.
For the uninitiated, Baguettes are long, thin loaves of bread that are a staple in France while Croissants are flaky, buttery, layered viennoiseries made from yeast-leavened dough with additional ingredients.
On the other hand, Pain au Chocolat (also known as chocolatine or bread with chocolate), is a sweet viennoiserie that is somehow similar to croissants but with pieces of chocolate in it.
If you’ve watched the recently famous Netflix series, Emily in Paris, you will know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, fret not, she orders for a Pain au Chocolat the minute she lands in Paris, then goes on to eat a baguette minutes later.
I suggest you try these artisanal bread varieties from one of the many boulangeries or coffee shops in Paris because you’ll get the crunchiest kind, fresh out of the oven, and no experience beats that!
2. Escargots (snails)
Believe it or not, Escargots are some of the most beloved foods in Paris and France as a whole.
Now one of the famous weird French foods (at least to the rest of the world), they’re usually served as appetizers before a multi-course meal. Though they come in different types, the Burgundy escargots are the best kind.
Escargots are usually cooked in beurre et ail (butter and garlic) and sprinkled with parsley on top hence acquiring that taste, but they have no particular taste on their own. But, if overcooked, they can turn rubbery.
One place famous for serving delicious escargots is L’Escargot Montorgueil (very innovative restaurant naming skills, right?
You will be able to spot it from afar because of the giant snail on its roof terrace while exploring the 1st arrondissement. It was founded in 1832 and has been serving this French delicacy ever since.
Other places you can enjoy this famous Paris food include; Chez André in the 8th arrondissement, Bouillon Chartier in the 9th arrondissement which is famous for serving traditional foods of Paris, La Fontaine de Mars if you prefer eating near the Eiffel Tower and so many others.
Related post: Fun facts about French cuisine
Crêpes are probably the best French street food in Paris, and you will find crêperies and street stands serving crêpes around most street corners of Paris.
You can opt for the sweet kind like the classic Nutella crêpe, the indulgent crêpe beurre-sucre (butter & sugar), or the savory variety like a ham and cheese crêpe.
Make sure to find thinly made crêpes otherwise, they might turn out undercooked, making your experience less than satisfactory.
Some of the best crêperies you can go to for the best crêpes include; Breizh Café in Marais, Little Breizh in the 6th arrondissement, La Crêperie and many others.
4. Soupe à l’Oignon (Onion soup)
Imagine having a hot soup to warm you up on a cold Paris night. Aaaahh the feeling!
Onion soup is made by mixing beef or chicken broth with caramelized onions and melted Gruyère cheese. It is then served with a side of crunchy croutons, French bread, or baguette.
Luckily, you can find this French comfort food in a number of restaurants with varying prices but it’s generally affordable.
Some of the classic places to have this soup are Bistrot des Vosges in the 4th arrondissement, Le Cinq in the 8th, La Poule au Pot in the 1st, Au Pied de Cochon in the 1st and so many others, but you can also find it in various Christmas markets if you visit Pars during Christmas time.
5. Croque Monsieur & Croque Madame
Croque Monsieur is a grilled ham and cheese sandwich with melted cheese or béchamel sauce on top, while Croque Madame has all the above plus a fried egg on top.
The sandwich bread used to make these is the pain de mie (the sliced white kind) with a Paris ham.
You have the option of trying it pan-fried or baked, and you’ll find both these variants in most cafés in Paris.
6. Jambon-Beurre (Ham Sandwich)
One of the famous foods in Paris is Jambon-beurre which has become the go-to on-the-go sandwich for Parisians.
What makes the Jambon-Beurre a great snack is that it’s easy to pick up and munch on while exploring the city and most cafés and boulangeries stock it on their display counters, so you can easily find it everywhere.
To give you an idea of what it is, it is a ham sandwich in a sliced baguette slathered with butter. The ham used is “jambon de Paris”, a pink Parisian ham slow-cooked to perfection.
Though the traditional version is just baguette, ham, and cheese, some boulangeries add their own twist by adding pickles, and sometimes salad.
7. Huîtres (Oysters)
Oysters will probably not be your go-to choice of food to eat in Paris but, I’d suggest giving it a try since it’s considered a delicacy.
The chefs in Paris make the butteriest, garlicy (are those even words?) version of it that you might just end up licking your fingers after you are done.
Did you know that there is a specific way to eat oysters? You have to open the oyster shell, put some drops of fresh lemon in it, and eat the oyster right out of it.
While you can enjoy Oysters almost all year round, the tastiest are between April and October when they’re in season.
Head to places like Huîtrerie Régis in Saint-Germain, L’Écume Saint-Honoré in the 1st arrondissement, or Plein Mer in the 10th; pair them with a good white wine (ask your server for a recommendation), and enjoy your meal.
8. Steak-Frites (Beefsteak and French Fries)
Steak Frites is what Paris eats daily. Okay, maybe not daily but, they do eat it often.
It’s a classic French bistro dish that you can find at any of the cute Parisian bistros or brasseries and have your filling of this popular dish.
The simple pairing of a grilled beef steak and strip cut fried potatoes (Pommes frites), optionally accompanied by mashed potatoes, is comfort food unparalleled.
Choose your cut of beef (rib eye, strip, or rump) and the sauce you would like with it. The French usually ask for the steak to be made rare to medium-rare accompanied with Béarnaise or peppercorn sauce but regardless of how you like it, you’re sure to be satisfied!
9. Confit de canard (Duck confit)
Though the preparation of duck confit started as a way of preserving duck meat for future consumption, it has grown to be a popular food in Paris.
The confit involves slow cooking duck thighs at low temperatures in their own fat until they become golden, crispy yet very tender.
A variation of this is called magret de canard, where chefs use a Moulard duck’s breast to make this dish.
You can try another variation called Pommes Sarladaises which is a combination of garlicky potatoes sautéed in duck fat.
It might come in different variations but what’s for sure is that Confit de canard is truly one of the Paris must eat foods.
10. Coq au vin
Coq au vin is a traditional food in Paris, especially during the holiday season. It is a rooster braised with lardon, mushrooms, and red wine, usually from the Burgundy region but any other form of wine can still be used.
It is usually served with stir-fried vegetables and a glass of red wine as you probably already guessed.
You can find it served in quite a few establishments especially bistros in Paris but if you want the absolute best, head to Le Procope in the 6th arrondissement or A La Biche au Bois in the 12th.
11. Bœuf Bourguignon (Beef Bourguignon)
Made famous by Julia Child, Beef Bourguignon is a traditional French food in Paris that originated in Burgundy.
The tough meat is softened by simmering it in red wine. Once tender and succulent, carrots, onions, potatoes, mushrooms, garlic, tomato paste, bacon, and thyme are added to it to create a rich beef stew with a drizzle of flour to thicken the sauce. Some restaurants even add dried orange peels to enhance the flavor.
The beef used is chuck beef, while the wine is a Pinot Noir popularly produced in the Burgundy region of France.
It is considered the mother of all stews, and a lot of Parisian restaurants have their own versions with each dish being as unique as the next.
Though it had been long beloved in France, this French dish just became famous to the rest of the world because of the eponymous Disney movie.
The origin of the name comes from the French word touiller meaning to stir since the cooking process involves stirring or tossing simmered vegetables and then seasoning them with salt, pepper, and olive oil.
The vegetables usually include tomatoes, onions, garlic, bell peppers, eggplant, and sprinkles of parsley.
The beauty of this vibrant and colorful dish is that it can be had as a main with some garlic bread or as a side with grilled meat and it can be served hot or cold depending on your preference.
So, the next time you’re in the French capital, be sure to try out Ratatouille as it’s one of the simple but delicious foods in Paris, France.
Flamiche is a puff pastry tart and a specialty of Picardy in the northern region of France.
It consists of the pie crust, leeks, cream, and eggs. One might even go to the extent of saying it resembles a quiche (No. 16 in this list) but, the puff pastry of the flamiche is similar to brioche dough.
Another name for this dish is Flamiche aux Poireaux (Leek Tart), and it is a seasonal dish that features on winter menus since it is eaten warm.
Cassoulet, a traditional French dish made with white beans and meat, is primarily prepared in southwest France.
The word Cassoulet comes from the utensil it is made in, a Cassole, an earthenware bowl.
The dish is made by braising the beans and meat for an extended period till they are soft and tender, respectively.
There are 3 different popular variations made in 3 different regions in France; Carcassonne, Castelnaudary, and Toulouse.
In Castelnaudary, where the dish is said to have originated from, it is prepared with duck confit, pork shoulder, and sausage.
While in Toulouse, the meats used are pork and cold, roast shoulder mutton with Toulouse sausage. In Carcassonne, the meats are similar, but the mutton portion is doubled, and sometimes, duck is replaced with partridge.
When we come back to Paris, you can find any of these various types depending on the restaurant you go to!
A visit to restaurants like L’Assiette in the 14th arrondissement, Auberge Pyrénées Cévennes in the 11th, and Le Violon d’Ingres in the 7th will treat you to the best Cassoulet in Paris.
15. Bûche de Noël (Yule log)
Bûche de Noël is a traditional food in Paris made during Christmas. It is a sweet roulade that comprises rolled sponge cake filled with chocolate buttercream and decorated with marzipan sticks to resemble twigs.
It resembles the burning of a bark of a Beech tree (yule log), symbolizing the beginning of a new year by burning misfortunes.
If you happen to visit Paris during Christmas, make sure to try them as they adorn most bakeries’ display glasses.
Quiche is a popular French pie constituting a pastry crust filled with eggs, cream, bacon, cheese, and onion, with optional additions of mushrooms or seafood.
Served by cutting it into slices, you can have it either warm or cold.
The two most ordered varieties of quiche are Quiche Lorraine and Quiche Florentine. While the former includes bacon in the filling, the latter is a vegetarian variation with spinach and cheese.
Another variation is the quiche Provençale where the pie filling includes cherry tomatoes, parmesan cheese, and zucchini.
Apart from being served at bistros, if you are at a French party, you will find quiche slices served there as well.
17. Wine & Cheese
I saved the best for the last. Did you really think I would not include Wine and Cheese in an article about Paris foods? Certainly not! They are so widely available that they can unofficially be classified as traditional foods of Paris.
You will find that particular wine and cheese pairings go well together, and there’s science behind that.
It helps that cheese is very cheap in Paris (think 2€-3€), compared to other countries like the USA, so eat all the cheese you can get your hands on.
Final Thoughts on the Best Foods in Paris
I hope you liked my list of what to eat in Paris. Let me know which of these dishes you’ve already tasted and the foods you are yet to try.
As is evident, Paris has something delicious for everyone. At this point, I should let you in on a little (or not so little) secret: the best foods are found in the corner bistros and cutesy cafés dotted all over Paris.
I hope you found something new to add to your Paris must-eats list. And if this list made you drool, I regret nothing. I’m now going to grab myself a Croque Madame to gorge on.
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No worries if you’re not yet ready to book your trip, you can request a free quote from World Nomads here and see if it suits your personal needs!
Check out these posts to help you plan your trip to Paris
- Nontouristy things to do in Paris
- Stunning views from the Eiffel Tower
- How to plan a perfect picnic in Paris
- Big mistakes to avoid while traveling in Paris
- Things to know before traveling to Paris
- Skip the lines tickets for popular Paris attractions
- Best Hotels in Paris with Eiffel tower views
- Things to do in Paris at night
- How to skip the long lines in Paris
- Best places to get stunning views of the Eiffel Tower
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