You can spend all of your vacation time visiting Eiffel Tower, being in the crow behind the Champs- Elysées, and getting lost among tons of arts in the Louvre museum. However, if you do not try the favorite food in Paris, you'll have missed out entirely.
Food is one of the most special parts of French culture. In fact, UNESCO declared the French way of eating an Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2010!
The best way for you to understand the culture of a country is to: eat it all!
These seven examples of the well-known food in Paris are the perfect way to fall in love with French cooking. To make your mission easier, we’ve even included a recommended address or two places you can try each. Bon appétit!
The Most Favorite Food in Paris and Where to Try It
1. Croissants: Cheap, yet unforgettable
Start your day like a real Parisian and get yourself an all-butter croissant for breakfast!
Croissants may look simple, however, these perfectly flaky pastries require time (we’re talking a number of days!) and a complete set of skills to perfect. No matter what you have with them: coffee, orange juice, or on their very own, croissants are guaranteed to brighten up your morning!
And no need to worry about missing out on precious sightseeing time to take a seat for breakfast. While lunch and dinner are more sacred sit-down affairs, breakfast on the go is totally acceptable here in France, so you can enjoy your croissant wherever.
Where to try them: Keep away from frozen industrial croissants and only order your pastries from true artisan bakeries. An excellent choice for you is La Maison d’Isabelle (47ter Boulevard Saint-Germain), which recently received an award for Best Croissant in Paris. The boulangerie makes actually unforgettable croissants using organic flour and certified butter from the Charente-Poitou region.
2. Escargots: A national symbol
You just can’t leave Paris without trying Escargots!
Though we enjoy snails cooked in quite a lot of ways in Paris, the Burgundy recipe remains the preferred. The escargots (normally a dozen of them) are presented in their shells and stuffed with a mouthwatering mixture of garlic, herbs, and butter.
However, escargots are now so popular that numerous Paris restaurants have put their own artistic spin on the dish. You’ll now find snails served with Roquefort, truffle, and even curry-based sauces, and a lot more.
Want to know the perfect part? Not only are escargots delicious, however, they’re also rich in iron and magnesium!
Where to try them: L’Escargot Montorgueil is a true Parisian institution that has been selling snails for nearly 200 years. You may sample the traditional Burgundy variety, or spice things up and try the curry, foie gras, or truffle butter versions!
Not to be confused with macaroons (shredded coconut delicacies), macarons are probably the best thing that ever happened to French sweets. Their delicate and airy shells are made of almond flour and filled with a rich, luscious interior.
No one is quite sure where, exactly, these iconic treats come from. Some stories credit Catherine de Medici with the concept; others, a late 18th-century French Carmelite convent. However, regardless of the version of the story you believe, macarons might just be the most famous food in Paris at this time.
Popular flavors include pistachio, chocolate, vanilla, or raspberry, however don’t be scared to try a few of the more uncommon choices: salted butter caramel, green tea, or rose petals, just to name a few.
Where to try them: Paris abounds with macaron specialty shops, most of them offering unbelievable quality. Pierre Hermé remains a favorite of ours for his creativity and his Balinese dark chocolate macaron.
Dessert lovers should also try “Symphonie” once. It's an innovative recipe by Tokyo-born Sadaharu Aoki. His delicious violet macaron comes full of violet and earl grey creams as well as fresh raspberries. Délicieux!
4. Jambon-beurre: Paris street food at its best
Who knew sandwiches could taste so good?
Simplicity is vital for this beloved lunch snack. An excellent jambon-beurre is all about the high quality of its three simple ingredients: Parisian ham, butter, and, of course, the deliciously crispy baguette that’s holding the magic together.
However because the ingredient list is so quick, it’s worth it to make sure that each one is of the utmost quality. That means a perfectly crusty baguette, excellent French butter, and real Parisian ham. (And sure, there’s a difference between this and your standard ham.)
Where to try it: Made from carefully-selected ingredients, the jambon-beurre sandwich at La Fontaine de Belleville is legendary throughout the city. You can choose to have it to go, or sit down at the terrace and enjoy it alongside a green salad.
5. Steak tartare
Eating raw meat will not be for everyone, however, for daring foodies, the reward promises to be extremely flavorful!
Steak tartare is a bistro classic that includes raw ground beef seasoned with capers, onion, and black pepper. Traditionally, you’ll find it served with a raw egg yolk on top.
Regardless of its reputation in France today, steak tartare actually came to the area by way of modern-day Mongolia. In the 17th century, Russian sailors brought it to Europe, and the rest is legendary.
Where to try it: Le Severo is heaven for carnivores, so you can expect the meat quality to be absolutely top-notch. Their amazingly tasty steak tartare comes with french fries or green beans.
“How can you govern a country which has 246 varieties of cheese?” former French president Charles De Gaulle asked. We don’t have the answer, however, we do know that visiting such a country is bound to be a treat!
Cheese is so highly regarded in France right now that it’s even earned its place as part of the meal. A cheese course is traditionally eaten between the main course and dessert (or sometimes in place of the latter).
Where to try it: A La Ville de Rodez (22 Rue Vieille du Temple) has been a cheese lover’s dream come true since 1920.
7. Onion soup
Another favorite food in Paris, onion soup is about as comforting as it gets.
According to legend, Louis XV created the recipe nearly three centuries ago. Nowadays, the caramelized onion and beef broth is served gratinéed with crusty croutons and a slice of Gruyère cheese on top. And, oui bien sûr, it tastes as great as it sounds.
The preparation of traditional French onion soup is as easy as it gets, and a testament to how seriously we take our gastronomy here in France. What other place on earth could take the humble onion and elevate it to such culinary heights?
Where to try it: Order it from the excellent Bistrot des Vosges, where the onion soup is Maison (homemade), and to die for.
Keep in mind to try all these favorite food while traveling in Paris!