The French are known for their spectacular – and extremely unique – cuisine, whether it’s beautifully presented pastries and petit fours, or perfect steaks and salty snails. To help you make the most of your visit when staying at one of our luxury holiday apartments in Paris, we’ve pulled together a handy list of the top foods to try in Paris. There’s truly something for everyone!
No Parisian morning is complete without a buttery, flaky croissant – preferably accompanied by a hot cup of coffee. Freshly baked before sunrise in patisseries across the capital, this cheap but unforgettable pastry will have you questioning how you ever settled for supermarket imitations.
Go classic or opt for versions stuffed with a preserve, almond paste, or even hazelnut spread for those feeling indulgent. Looking for the crown jewel of the Parisian croissant world? Head to the family-run Maison Pichard – its owner, Frédéric Pichard, won an award for the best croissant in Paris in 2011.
Another excellent breakfast option on the go, crêpes are available in both sweet and savoury flavour combinations. You’ll find many street stands topping them with butter and sugar, Nutella, jam, honey, or even chestnut spread. Just make sure you see them really making the crêpes before purchasing one – while this process takes a little longer, there’s no point paying for something that they’re just reheating!
After a sit-down experience with a twist? Head to Breizh Café and try out its menu of both traditional and more outlandish options – think ginger and yuzu but also chocolate and vanilla ice cream.
French onion soup
If you’re visiting Paris during the chillier months, cosy up with a hot bowl of French onion soup – simply referred to as “onion soup”. The dish may have been replicated internationally, but the authentic version made here has a lot less cheese than you’ll find overseas.
It’s said to have been invented by King Louis XV three centuries ago, but today you’ll find the beef stock-based dish served with croutons for a welcome dosh of crunch.
As mentioned, Paris’ onion soup is distinctly less cheesy than you may expect, so you’ll have to get your cheese fix elsewhere! Over 300 varieties of cheese can be found across France, and many of them in Paris – so you don’t have to stick to just comté and camembert.
Make sure to save room for a cheese course, typically served after your main and before dessert. And if you want to try even more varieties, head to one of the markets and get talking to a cheesemonger – they may just offer you a few samples too.
Dainty, delicious and decadent, macarons are one of Paris’ most famous eye-catching exports. Typically enjoyed in just two bites, the meringue-based morsels can be ordered to go from one of many dedicated macaron shops around the city, or enjoyed tableside with a cup of espresso.
Feeling experimental? Head to Pierre Hermé Paris, where you’ll find ones flavoured with everything from rose, litchi and raspberry, to milk chocolate and passion fruit!
Vegetarians – look away! When in Paris, order a dozen snails prepared the Burgundy way, stuffed with garlic, parsley and butter. You’ll also find restaurants around the capital putting their own spin on the signature, with fillings like curry sauce, foie gras and truffle butter all becoming popular too.
A distinctly Parisian take on street food, jambon-beurre is the name for a crispy buttered French baguette filled with pink ham. Sounds simple, right? But it’s the quality of ingredients that elevates what is otherwise a humble sandwich into something unmissable.
While they’re easy enough to find, if you want to make sure you’re getting the good stuff, head to La Fontaine de Belleville – they’ve got a terrace for dining in too.
Hungry for something even more indulgent? The filling croque monsieur is made using buttered bread, ham, and melted cheese – and we’re talking a lot of melted cheese. This distinctly French take on the everyday grilled cheese sandwich or toastie is also relatively inexpensive.
If you’re feeling extra peckish, opt for a croque madame instead, which comes with a fried egg on top.
Time to strip things back. No ham, no cheese, no egg – just freshly-baked-that-morning baguettes. They’ve been enjoyed by Parisians for centuries, even though the word for them was only invented some 100 years ago.
Grab a couple to go, pick out a selection of preserves and fresh fruits to eat with them, and head for a picnic in the park. We recommend Champ de Mars, which just so happens to be right behind the Eiffel Tower.
Like many items on this list, you’ve likely tried a French éclair before in your own country, but we urge you to prioritise giving the real thing a go on your next trip to Paris. The choux pastry is impossibly light despite its generous cream filling, and often come with colourful toppings – not only do these add a contrasting flavour, but they also draw your eye when displayed in shop windows.
So, there you have it – Oliver’s Travels’ top foods to try in Paris on your next city break. Looking for a place to stay in the world’s most romantic destination? We’ve got luxury apartments in Paris to suit your needs, and if you need a little help choosing just one, speak to a member of our concierge team.
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