Take a tasty trip through Paris with these must-try French foods
In addition to its landmarks and museums, Paris is well known around the world for one of my favorite things…food! The French really know what they’re doing – trust me on this one. If you’ve already been to Paris, you know what I mean!
Here at Sight Seeker’s Delight we have a passion for food. So much so that we have 3 food tours dedicated to tasting and learning more about French cuisine! And, if you’ve been following our blog for a while now, you know we love sharing restaurant recommendations and recipes with you all too.
If you’ve got a Paris trip in the works (or if you just like daydreaming about French food), you’ve come to the right place. I’m sharing my favorite 10 foods that you simply have to try in Paris!
The baguette is synonymous with France and French meals. Don’t be surprised if around 7pm it seems like everyone you pass has a baguette under their arm, with the croute (the end of the baguette) already eaten. It’s somewhat an unspoken tradition to try your baguette as soon as you walk out of the boulangerie. I have completely jumped on this bandwagon myself.
A word of advice from a baguette veteran: always, always, always order a tradition baguette instead of a standard one. There are very subtle differences between the two, but most everyone that I know prefers the tradition, or traditional baguette. It’s airier, crunchier, and usually a bit more expensive. It is totally worth the extra 50 centimes, trust me!
My favorite place to get a baguette:
Leroy Monti Boulangerie
203 Avenue Daumesnil, 75012 Paris
Leroy Monti won the 2019 Best Baguette in Paris award!
Croissants are another food item that seems to be synonymous with France. At this point, you can find croissants all over the world, but they just seem to taste better when you’re on French soil!
French breakfast is a lot lighter than it’s American or English counterparts. These anglophone countries focus on large, copious amounts of eggs, bacon, sausage and avocado toast. In France, there is a bigger focus on sweets, with croissants, pain au chocolat (chocolate croissants), and baguette with butter and jam. To each their own!
Do as the French do when you come to France! Croissants are a delicious, buttery pick me up perfect for starting your day. You may also consider eating a croissant around 4pm for goûter (French for snack) instead of the traditional cookie and cake options.
My favorite place to get a croissant:
La Fabrique aux Gourmandises
82 Rue de l’Amiral Mouchez, 75014 Paris
La Fabrique aux Gourmandises won the 2019 Best Baguette in Paris award!
3. French cheese
A list of food to try in Paris would be incomplete without a shoutout to French cheese. I already told you how much we love food here at Sight Seeker’s. Well, French cheese just may be our passion above all else!
There are so many different varieties to choose from: hard, soft, cow, goat, sheep…the list goes on and on. In fact, legend has it that there are enough French cheeses to eat a different one every day. In fact, this number is a lot higher, with over one thousand French cheeses to choose from!
My personal favorite is Valençay, a type of chèvre, or goat cheese. I also love Comté, Cantal and Morbier.
My favorite place to buy French cheese:
Fromagerie Androuet – Mouffetard
134 Rue Mouffetard, 75005 Paris
We visit this cheesemonger on our Tickle Your Tastebuds food tour!
4. Steak frites
Steak frites is a very traditional French dish, with restaurants that serve it around every corner in Paris. The trick is knowing which restaurant is the best one! Enter Sight Seeker’s Delight: your friends in Paris!
Before I give you my recommendation, let me tell you exactly what steak frites is. Steak frites translates into English as steak and fries. You choose the way your meat is cooked. Keep in mind: there are only four ways to get a steak cooked in France: bleu (just singed on the outside), saignant (rare), à point (medium), or bien-cuit (well-done). Most of my meat eating friends will say that saignant and à point are the best choices!
My favorite place to eat steak frites:
Le Relais de l’Entrecôte (l’Entrecôte)
Addresses: 101 boulevard du Montparnasse, 75006 Paris
15 rue Marbeuf, 75008 Paris
20 rue Saint-Benoit, 75006 Paris
This restaurant is famous and acclaimed for the very simple very French meal of steak-frites. The typical way to order is just tell them how you want your meat cooked and that’s it! You can also choose whichever cut of meat you would like (all very good cuts, try the bavette if you want a thicker cut, onglet if you want something thinner) and their sauce is their specialty.
5. Crêpes – savory or sweet
Crêpes could be considered as the unofficial street food of France. At least, that’s how I like to think of them! That being said, it is possible to eat crêpes in an actual restaurant, and there are tons of options to choose from in Paris. What can I say, it seems like this city is just as passionate about food as we are!
Crêpes can be enjoyed savory (with toppings like cheese, mushrooms, ham, tuna and more) or sweet (with toppings like Nutella, whipped cream, sugar and lemon, and more). They are also usually served with Apple Cider Ale, which I find to be a delicious combination!
My favorite place to eat savory and sweet crêpes:
Au P’tit Grec
68 Rue Mouffetard, 75005 Paris
The first time I came to France back in 2012, the macaron trend was in full swing. The first few months I was in Paris I must have eaten macarons at least once a week, and I loved every minute of it (spoiler alert, I must have gained about 5 pounds in those first few months, too!).
Macarons are small cookies made with almond flour (naturally gluten free!) and meringue. They come in dozens, if not hundreds, of different flavors. You could keep it traditional with chocolate, vanilla, coffee or pistachio, or you could get a little wild with flavors like rose or olive oil and vanilla (my favorite!).
Ladurée is perhaps the most famous shop to buy macarons, and I definitely recommend that you visit their rue Bonaparte location in the 6th arrondissement! But, there are a ton of other famous shops in the city like Pierre Hermé.
My favorite place to eat macarons:
21 rue Bonaparte, 75006 Paris
72 Rue Bonaparte, 75006 Paris
Rue Bonaparte has a great selection of macaron shops and should be your go-to!
7. Duck confit
Duck confit is another food that I had never tried before I came to France. I grew up in a fairly traditional American household, and duck just wasn’t something that was on the menu. Meatloaf? Of course. Duck? Not so much.
In French, confit means preserved. Preserved duck?! It’s not as gross as you would imagine, but rather melt-in-your-mouth tender. Duck confit is cured in salt and then cooked in its own fat, which is where the melt-in-your mouth sensation comes from!
Most people that try duck confit say that there isn’t anything quite like the taste, so if you’re a meat eater I definitely recommend you try it!
My favorite place to eat duck confit:
La Fontaine de Mars
129 rue Saint-Dominique 75007 Paris
This restaurant is reportedly a favorite of Barack Obama! It’s also one of the oldest bistros in Paris.
French, Belgian or Swiss? This is an age old debate that reigns on in Europe still today: who makes the best chocolate? I may be biased, but I call France! French chocolate is delicious, it’s creamy, it’s sweet, it’s filled with caramel, fruit, cream…there are so many variations to choose from that I don’t know where to begin!
France has also gone so far as to make chocolate into a true art form. Keep your eye out for chocolate shop windows, where you just might stumble upon an impressive sculpture or two made of chocolate!
My favorite place to buy chocolate:
75 Rue Saint-Antoine, 75004 Paris
We visit this chocolate shop on our Sweet Street food tour!
9. Croque Monsieur or Croque Madame
Think of the croque monsieur and croque madame as a grilled cheese, deluxe-French version. These sandwiches originated in French cafés and bistrots as a quick and hot snack. You’ll find them on most French menus (and are a great choice for kids if they’re picky eaters!) served with fries or a salad.
The croque monsieur is simply ham and cheese on white bread, grilled with more melted cheese on the top. A croque madame features a fried egg on top and is more filling. Add a side of fries and you’ve got yourself a satisfying sandwich.
Some trendier places in Paris offer even more options, like vegetarian and pescatarian options. Some others will add even more extravagant toppings like truffles!
My favorite place to eat a croque monsieur or croque madame:
28 Rue Henry Monnier, 75009 Paris
Buvette offers a vegetarian option with mushrooms instead of ham! Score!
10. Salted butter
I think we can all agree that butter makes everything better (sorry to my lactose intolerant/vegan friends). If you agree, I’m about to blow your mind. If you think that that butter is good, have you ever considered salted butter?!
In addition to adding a little bit of salty flavor, the salt in the butter actually acts as a preservative, which means your salted butter will last longer in your fridge too. You can’t replace all dishes that call for butter with salted butter, but you most definitely can spread it all over your tradition baguette!
Salted butter originated in France in Brittany, but you can most definitely find it in Paris, in a supermarket, cheesemonger or a crèmerie. I recommend you pick it up from a cheesemonger or crèmerie. You’ll be supporting small businesses, and the quality is usually much better!
My favorite place to buy salted butter:
Taka & Vermo – Artisans Fromagers
61bis Rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis, 75010 Paris
Is your mouth watering yet? Save this article and create a day (or two) of foodie goodness and try all of the treats on my list. And, if you’d like to do some tastings with us, you’re in luck! Here are our three food tour options:
Tickle Your Tastebuds: We explore the typical Parisian street market, and collect delicious tastings at 5 different artisan shops – cheese, charcuterie, fish, chocolate, baguettes and more. We finish the tour in the comfort of a neighborhood cafe/restaurant with our tastings, cafe food, and drinks. Most travelers won’t need a meal afterwards… you’ll only be hungry for more great gastronomic stories! The tour focuses on the history and importance of French cuisine and culture. 10am start time Tuesday-Sunday, 4pm Tuesday-Saturday. 95 €.
The Sweet Street: Got a sweet tooth? We can help. Explore artisan shops on a street in the ancient Marais district, tasting sweet treats at each of them! There’s even an extra special boozy surprise. You’ll cover way more than your average chocolate and pastry tour and trust us, it’s a delicious way to see and understand the French. 10:30am Tuesday-Friday. 89 €.
Eat Like a Parisian: Explore the real Paris where real Parisians shop for food! The tour includes stops at 7 artisan food stores in the Montmartre area to shop for our meal. While enjoying your meal including French bread, cheese, cured meats, fish, veggies, and of course dessert, learn how French cuisine has evolved to be what it is now. Not only will you eat, but YOU might be the one making the vinaigrette, as the tour finishes up at our favorite cooking school in Paris! 10am Tuesday-Friday. 99€.
Let me know in the comments below if I missed your favorite French dish that you simply have to try in Paris! Thanks for reading 🙂