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Pack your bags and leave room in your stomach! If you’re going to Paris, you MUST try these 25 foods!
25 Foods You MUST Eat in Paris
For me, the best part of visiting Paris is, by far, the food. It’s honestly hard to have a really bad meal in Paris.
I grew up on a very cultural diet, French food being a big part of it. Crepes were always a standard meal in our house along with duck and bread. So it sometimes feels like coming home when I eat in Paris.
If you’ve ever read one of my favorite books, My Life in France, which documents Julia Child’s years in France before she became a famous cookbook author and cooking show host, you will understand this deep connection to French food and why it is just so captivating.
Please do me and yourself a favor and just throw the diet out the window while you’re in Paris! Some of your best memories in Paris will come from eating and rest assured, you will burn it off with all the walking around the city you’ll be doing!
Every time I go to Paris, I end up leaving feeling super healthy. I don’t know if it’s the walking or the abundance of fresh fruit, vegetables, and fish or WHAT, but French food just makes me happy!
Take a Food Tour in Paris
If you’re worried about being able to fit all of this delicious Parisian cuisine into your trip, I highly recommend taking a Paris food tour! It’s a great way to try local food in Paris while getting to know all the ins and outs from a pro! This 3-hour Paris food tour is great and will take you through several Paris food markets where you’ll get to try some of the best cheese, bread, chocolate, and other local foods.
Take a Cooking Class in Paris
If you’re loving all the food in Paris, consider learning how to make it yourself at one of these amazing cooking classes:
- Full Day Cooking and Market Class
- French Pastry Baking Class
- Macaron Baking Class (great for kids as it’s only 1.5 hours)
- French Bread Baking Class (I now bake my own French-style bread at home)
If you need more inspiration, see my Paris Walking Guide.
If you’re wondering what to eat in Paris, this list of French food list will help you decide what and where to eat.
25 Foods you MUST try in Paris
1. Inhale Fresh Bread from the Boulangerie
There’s nothing better than crunching on a baguette fresh out of the oven! Wandering the streets of Paris with a baguette in hand is essential! Read about how to pick the best baguette here. My stomach generally does not do well with bread or gluten in the US, but for some reason, I can eat bread in France all day long with no problems! I’m not sure if it’s the different ingredients or maybe just all the walking that is required in Paris, but it’s great!
2. Have Chocolate for Breakfast
Go ahead and give yourself a pass on this trip. Have that chocolate croissant for breakfast. Once you take your first bite, you won’t regret it! Any boulangerie or patisserie in town will have “pain au chocolat,” especially in the morning. Try to get there right at opening to get them as fresh as possible, that’s when they’re the best!
3. Try as Much Cheese as Physically Possible
The best part about eating cheese in Paris is how CHEAP it is! Most cheese is at least half the price of what you find in the United States, so eat it up! At €2 how can you pass up a big slab of delicious brie? Taking a food tour is a great way to be able to try many types of cheeses and also to learn about cheese making and which cheeses are the best.
4. Eat a Hearty Meal of Steak and Frites
This is a French classic and most people are surprised to find that french fries really ARE French! This was the most shocking French food fact when I first came to Paris. Stop into any bistro for this hearty meal after a long day of walking around Paris!
5. Eat the Tastiest Cookies on Earth
Macarons are like eating cookies on a cloud while riding on a unicorn! These little morsels of goodness are made from sugar and almond flour and are gluten-free. You can find them in all sorts of flavors and all around Paris. Ladurée and Pierre Herme are some of my favorite macaron shops in Paris.
Take a Pastry Tour in Paris to try the best Macarons and other pastries all around the city!
6. Sip on Real Hot Chocolate
Be sure to try some “chocolat chaud” while in Paris. Thick, rich and creamy, it’s unlike anything you’ve had at home. Unlike American hot chocolate, which is usually made with a sugary powder, French hot chocolate is made with actual hard chocolate, melted with milk, and way less sweet!
7. Indulge in Crepes: The tastiest street food ever!
Crepes! My kids LIVE for crepes! The best part…you can find them on many street corners in Paris and they’re portable, so you can eat while you walk. Get a classic Banana Nutella crepe or a savory ham and cheese crepe.
Our favorite creperie is actually the one across the street from the Eiffel Tower, next to the carousel. They are basic, but the crepes are huge and delicious!
8. Let the Créme Brûlée Melt in your Mouth!
This French classic tastes even better as a dessert after dining in a Parisian restaurant. Delicious eggy custard with a crunchy brûlée (burnt) top is pure heaven in your mouth! I’ve learned how to make my own Créme Brûlée and it may just be the undoing of me! This dessert can be found in most Parisian restaurants around the city.
9. Try an Eclair or two or three…
I’ve never really been an eclair fan until I had these from L’éclaire de Genie. Ah-ma-zing! Mascarpone is my favorite, but we’ve tried almost all of them and they are to die for! I accidentally sat down and ate three one time. Whoops!
This photo is from the basement of the Louvre, but the kiosk is no longer there. You can find them all over Paris though.
10. Try the prettiest Gelato in town
A visit to Amorino for some fancy flower shaped gelato is a must in Paris. You can find these shops all over town. We even like to brave it on a cold day. #worthit
11. Drool over the prettiest Chocolate displays
Not only does Paris do hot chocolate right, they are also pros at chocolate confections, boasting the most beautiful displays in shop windows, especially during Easter and Christmas! You can take a Paris Chocolate Tour that is an amazing way to try different chocolates around the city!
12. Don’t skip the Duck
Be sure to order Duck while in Paris. Look for the word “canard” on the menu, you won’t be disappointed! The French know how to cook this bird right! I had previously only had duck from Chinese restaurants and wasn’t really a fan, but French duck? It’s a poultry-lover’s dream come true!
13. Eat your daily Croissant
Croissants taste best in Paris. I don’t know if it’s the French butter or just the extra French love they put into the sigh-worthy layers, but they’re just better!
Eat at least one a day for the full Parisian experience. Most Parisian “breakfasts” will consist of a croissant and coffee. Good luck finding pancakes and eggs or a more hearty breakfast in Paris!
14. Try the Oysters or at least the butter
Not my favorite, but there are some seriously tasty oysters in Paris. And by oysters, I mean the garlic and butter that they’re traditionally drenched in.
15. See the pro for Profiteroles
Ok, so “profiteroles” are really just a fancy French name for cream puffs, but they’re still amazing! Profiterole Cherie has a delicious and unique range of freshly baked and filled pastries that are sure to knock your socks off!
16. Try Coq Au Vin on a cold night
Ok so this is basically a chicken stew, but waaaaay better! Just take my word for it! I didn’t have an oven when we lived in France, so I became the master of cooking this in an old school pressure cooker! It’s one of my family’s favorite dishes now and I make it every Holiday season!
17. Satisfy your sweet tooth with Meringues
Meringues are a bit hard to describe. You just have to try one for yourself. Beware, they are usually huge and MESSY. So basically when I’m with my kids in Paris, I hate them! But “when in Rome”, er, Paris…
18. Try real French Onion Soup
You’ve probably had this at home, but there’s nothing better to warm you up on a cold Paris night than a steaming cup of beef broth, onions, cheese, and real French bread!
19. Foie Gras
I’m not a fan of foie gras, but Paul loves it. It tastes fine to me, but I don’t like to think about how it’s made. Google at your own risk!
20. Croque Monsieur or Croque Madame
Another family favorite, these grab and go sandwiches are stuffed with ham and cheese and then fried with cheese on the outside, because….France! You can also order a Croque Madame which has an egg on top. My personal favorite, but generally needs to be eaten while seated.
In my opinion, no one cooks fish as deliciously as the French. Drooling just thinking about all the amazing fish I’ve had in Paris! Try the Sole Meunière wherever you can find it. It’s my favorite and the first food that Julia Child had in Paris that made her fall in love with French food.
22. Boef Borgonion
This popular French food is basically a beef stew, but BETTER because it’s French ya know? Also a Julia Child favorite.
23. Quick Burger
Ok, please don’t laugh! Quick Burger is like the McDonalds of France, so you just gotta try it ok? Plus, who could resist these awesome Dark Vador and Jedi Burgers!? Genius advertizing!
Escargot…a fancy French name for snails. Similar to oysters, they pretty much taste like whatever they’re drenched in. Just slide them down your gullet so you can say you did it!
25. Frog Legs
Tastes like chicken! No really, it does. Except I think I’d rather be eating chicken. These legs from Sacre Fleur were pretty amazing though!
How to Pick a Parisian Restaurant
You are going to have your pick of amazing restaurants to choose from in Paris. 99% of the time you will walk away feeling satisfied, but here are some tips for choosing local hidden gems over tourist traps:
- Find a main tourist attraction (Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower, Louvre, etc.)
- Walk AWAY from said attraction at least 3 blocks or so.
- Find somewhere SMALL. Parisian restaurants are known for their tight fits and sharing tables with strangers. I’ve met many lovely strangers just by dining with them out of necessity.
- Look for French menus on display. This means that locals usually frequent this spot.
- Look for small menus without pictures. Avoid anywhere with flashy menus containing large pictures and no prices!
- Look for a crowd of French people. Use your ears…is everyone seated speaking French? Then you’re good to go. If it looks like 100 Americans, then walk away.
- Read Trip Advisor Reviews
Where to Eat in Paris: Our Favorite Parisian Restaurants
There are many famous restaurants in Paris that will have incredible food, but they will also come with a high price tag. You don’t need to eat at one of these to have an incredible dining experience. You can have the best French food in a tiny hole in the wall place in a back alleyway…ok, so I may be exaggerating, but honestly, step away from the main tourist sites, find a small restaurant with only a few tables and a menu without pictures! Here is where we’ve found the best food in Paris.
Bistrot Les Papilles
Les Papilles was definitely our favorite. It is strictly reservation only at least weeks in advance and there is no menu. I honestly think this is one of the best places to eat in Paris. You really can’t go wrong!
Honestly, if you were just walking by and saw the bistro, you wouldn’t think it was anything special, but it is amazing! When you walk inside you will be surprised by how tiny this place is. Like most Parisian restaurants, there is only room for about 20 customers.
You get what the chef cooks that night, which is always incredible and consists of a 5-course meal which is eye-wateringly beautiful! Seriously, tears coming to my eyes thinking about it. If you have dietary restrictions or picky eaters, this isn’t the place, but it is amazing!
Sacree Fleur is another amazing restaurant that we made reservations at last minute. Amazing meats, vegetables, fish, and desserts! And the owner is so nice and loves to practice his sarcasm on Americans.
There are two things you’ll love about Choco Factory: They have everything chocolate, of course, and it’s situated right across the street from Le Jardin du Luxembourg. I highly recommend the fruit filled crepes then take a stroll through the gardens. -Time Zone Travelers
Angelina Tea House
I hope you get a chance to try all the amazing food the Paris has to offer! You have so many options to keep your mouth busy during your trip to Paris!