When you think of Paris, you might think about the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, and other iconic landmarks.
While there are many things to do in Paris, France is well known for its gastronomie. With this focus on the relationship between food and culture, you'll definitely find delicious food all over the City of Love.
No matter which areas of Paris you're staying in, you can’t miss out on the opportunity to enjoy some classic French food.
Wondering what’s best foods to eat while you’re in Paris? Fear not, I'm here to give you the full rundown! I'll include French classics, surprising finds, and even where you should go to find the best...
What Is the Most Famous Food in Paris?
There are so many excellent dishes in France, there’s no way I could only pick one as the most popular. I'll do my best to list some must-try French dishes, though!
Best 5 French Pastries
If it’s your first time in France, you absolutely must visit a boulangerie/patisserie. When you head inside grab a delicious croissant for breakfast or treat yourself to dessert with a macaron. A handmade French pastry made in France can’t be beaten.
But if you don't have time to try them all, what are the top French pastries you need to try while in the French capital? I'll let you know my favorites...
A list about French food wouldn't be complete without me mentioning croissants, the quintessential French breakfast pastry.
I don't think I need to go into much details, but in case you don't know these famous French pastries are made from layers of buttery, flaky dough. They're crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.
Enjoy them plain, or try versions filled with almond paste, ham and cheese, or other delicious fillings.
I know you can grab different variations all over the world. And some of them are good! But nothing beats picking up a croissant in their birthplace, Paris.
Best spots to eat croissants:
- Du Pain et des Idées ($): 34 Rue Yves Toudic, 75010 Paris
- Maison Landemaine ($): 26 Rue des Martyrs, 75009 Paris
- La Pâtisserie des Rêves ($$): 93 Rue du Bac, 75007 Paris
4. Pain au Chocolat
Think delicious, mouthwatering croissant, but this time with a rich, dark chocolate filling.
That's basically what a pain au chocolat is, although visually they may look more square comparatively to your good ol' croissant.
I say this is the perfect French pastry for either an afternoon snack or decedent breakfast. If you're looking for a great drink to go along with it, I recommend grabbing a quality cup of coffee or hot chocolate.
Where to find pain au chocolat:
- Blé Sucré ($): 7 Rue Antoine Vollon, 75012 Paris
- La Maison d'Isabelle ($): 47ter Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75005 Paris
- Des Gâteaux et du Pain ($$): 63 Boulevard Pasteur, 75015 Paris
Macarons is one of the favorite and most recognizable sweets to come out of France. I've tried my hand at making these at home, and you'll definitely want to try it from the source before making your own attempt.
The ones you find in the French capital will likely be better than any you make at home unless you're a world class pastry chef!
Traditionally, this sweet snack is made from almond flour, egg whites, and sugar. Two of the macaron biscuits are sandwiched together with a flavored filling like ganache, buttercream, or jam. Macarons come in a variety of flavors and colors, making them as visually appealing as they are delicious.
Spots for stellar macarons in Paris:
- Ladurée ($$$): 21 Rue Bonaparte, 75006 Paris
- Pierre Hermé ($$$): 72 Rue Bonaparte, 75006 Paris
- Carette ($$): 4 Place du Trocadéro et du 11 Novembre, 75016 Paris
Profiteroles are small, round pastries filled with sweet cream, custard, or ice cream. They're often topped with a drizzle of chocolate sauce or dusted with powdered sugar, making them a perfect sweet treat to take photos of as well.
The saying about "your camera eats first" definitely applies here! But seriously, these bite-sized treats are perfect for satisfying your sweet tooth without feeling too guilty.
Find the top profiteroles at:
- Le Relais de l'Entrecôte ($$): 20 Rue Saint-Benoît, 75006 Paris
- Chez Julien ($$): 1 Rue du Pont Louis-Philippe, 75004 Paris
- Au Petit Tonneau ($$): 20 Rue Surcouf, 75007 Paris
1. Mille Feuille
This classic French pastry consists of layers of flaky puff pastry filled with rich custard. Sometimes you'll be lucky enough to get one that's served with delicious whipped cream.
The top is usually dusted with powdered sugar or glazed with icing. I'm in love with the combination of the light, crispy pastry and the creamy filling. It makes for the perfect indulgent treat!
Where to eat the best mille feuille:
- Angelina ($$$): 226 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris
- L'Eclair de Génie ($$): 14 Rue Pavée, 75004 Paris
- Yann Couvreur Pâtisserie ($$): 137 Avenue Parmentier, 75010 Paris
4 More Sweets... The Desserts!
4. Chocolate Soufflé
If you're a fellow chocolate lover, then trying a French soufflé is a must!
It's made with chocolate, eggs, and sugar, which is baked until it rises and forms a fluffy, airy texture. The result is a warm, gooey chocolate center with a delicate, cake-like exterior. I promise if you grab a quality soufflé, you'll want to learn how to make them at home.
My recommendations for the best chocolat soufflé:
- Le Recamier ($$$): 4 Rue Récamier, 75007 Paris
- Chez L'Ami Jean ($$$): 27 Rue Malar, 75007 Paris
- Le Coupe-Chou ($$): 9-11 Rue de Lanneau, 75005 Paris
3. Crème Brûlée
Want to see the power tools come out? There aren't many dishes out there that use a blow torch to make them stand out, but that's what crème brûlée is all about!
I can't think of a dish that's more fun... Not only do you get to see the creamy custard dessert topped with a layer of caramelized sugar being consumed by fire, but you'll also be able to crack through that top layer. Satisfying!
My fav part is the contrast between the smooth, velvety custard and the crisp, slightly bitter caramel makes for a delightful treat.
Where to find fantastic crème brûlée:
- L'Ambroisie ($$$$): 9 Place des Vosges, 75004 Paris
- Le Comptoir du Relais ($$$): 9 Carrefour de l'Odéon, 75006 Paris
- Le Petit Châtelet ($$): 39 Rue de la Bûcherie, 75005 Paris
Enjoy Paris, one crêpes at a time!
As you wander around Paris, you’ll find food carts serving piping hot crêpes. Although you can find crêpes that are both savory and sweet, I highly recommend feeding your sweet tooth with a French crêpes.
There’s nothing quite like eating a crêpe hot off the pan in the streets of Paris.
Best eateries for crêpes in Paris:
- Breizh Café ($$): 109 Rue Vieille du Temple, 75003 Paris
- Crêperie Josselin ($): 67 Rue du Montparnasse, 75014 Paris
- La Crêperie de Montparnasse ($): 56 Rue du Montparnasse, 75014 Paris
1. Tarte Tatin
If done right a tarte tatin's glaze is enough to make me drool! It's a classic French dessert that features caramelized apples on top of a buttery, flaky pastry crust.
The apples are cooked in a caramel sauce before being topped with pastry and baked, resulting in a deliciously gooey, sweet treat that you won't want to miss while in France.
Places to enjoy tarte tatin:
- Chez L'Ami Jean ($$$): 27 Rue Malar, 75007 Paris
- Le Bistrot du Peintre ($$): 116 Avenue Ledru-Rollin, 75011 Paris
- La Jacobine ($$): 59-61 Rue Saint-André des Arts, 75006 Paris
Don't Baguette the Bread (5 Types!)
I can't skip over the baguette. I know you can find these long loafs of bread all over the world, but it just hits different when you're in Paris, its original birthplace!
It's definitely the most famous French bread, characterized by its long, slender shape and crisp, golden crust. It's a versatile bread that can be used for sandwiches, served with cheese and charcuterie, or simply enjoyed with butter.
My favorite thing to do when I'm not watching my weight, but I'm feeling tight on money, is to grab a baguette and different toppings. Bring that nice little shopping haul home with you and you'll be set for a few days!
If you have trouble finishing a baguette, I've got a bread suggestion for you! Enter Ficelle, a thing and elongated version of the baguette. It still has a crisp crust and soft interior, but is often smaller.
Grab a Ficelle if you want it snacking on or if you'll be using it as a base for bruschetta or other appetizers.
This flatbread hails from the south of France and is often flavored with herbs, olives, or other ingredients. It has a chewy texture and is typically shaped like a leaf or ladder, making it both visually appealing and delicious.
Remember to take out your camera for a pic of this hearty bread! And if you're on a budget, I often find grabbing multiple fougasses of different varieties will last me a few delicious meals.
In my opinion, brioche buns are to die for!
Brioche is a rich, buttery bread with a tender crumb and a slightly sweet flavor. It's perfect for breakfast or brunch, and can be enjoyed on its own, toasted with butter and jam, or even used in French toast recipes.
My personal fav way to fancy up a burger is to sandwich high-quality, seasoned patties between lightly toasted and buttered brioche buns!
1. Pain de Campagne (Country Bread)
This "country" bread used to be wildly popular in France—in fact more popular than baguettes back in the day. And in the 1970's it made a comeback because everyone was getting into rustic foods again.
Pain de campagne is a hearty bread made with a mix of white, whole wheat, and rye flours. Its thick, crunchy crust and a dense, chewy interior, makes it perfect for sandwiches or simply enjoying with a pat of butter.
Bakeries You Should Visit in Paris, France
- Poilâne (8 Rue du Cherche-Midi, 75006 Paris)
- Du Pain et des Idées (34 Rue Yves Toudic, 75010 Paris)
- Maison Kayser (14 Rue Monge, 75005 Paris)
- Boulangerie Utopie (20 Rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud, 75011 Paris)
- Boulangerie Gontran Cherrier (22 Rue Caulaincourt, 75018 Paris)
9 French Entrées to Fall in Love With
You cannot leave Paris without trying traditional French dishes. With choices galore, you'll want to eat more than 3x a day—I know I did.
Don't have a lot of time to spend in Paris or France as a whole? Here are the top Parisian foods that I suggest you try. Put at least a couple of these on your bucket list while you're visiting the French capital!
If you love oysters, you need to make one of your meals oysters in Paris. This is definitely one of the must-try foods in Paris, especially since they're a delicacy in France, particularly enjoyed during the winter months.
They're usually served raw on the half shell with a squeeze of lemon or a dash of vinegar, and paired with a crisp white wine. There are several different types of French oysters, each with its own unique flavor profile: Fine de Claire, Speciale de Claire, Belon, Normandy, and Marennes-Oléron.
Food places in Paris to eat oysters:
- Huîtrerie Régis ($$$): 3 Rue de Montfaucon, 75006 Paris
- Le Baron Rouge ($$): 1 Rue Théophile Roussel, 75012 Paris
- ’LEcailler du Bistrot ($$$): 22 Rue Paul Bert, 75011 Paris
8. Croque Monsieur/Madame
The croque monsieur is a grilled sandwich made with ham, cheese, and béchamel sauce. It's one of the most simple yet popular dishes in France. If you want to eat like a local, I recommend finding a good croque monsieur.
Alternatively, the croque madame is a variation that adds a fried egg on top. You'll be able to easily find these sandwiches being served as a satisfying lunch or a quick to-go meal at many Parisian cafés.
Places to get local food in Paris:
- Café de Flore ($$$): 172 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75006 Paris
- Le Petit Cler ($$): 29 Rue Cler, 75007 Paris
- Le Procope ($$$): 13 Rue de l'Ancienne Comédie, 75006 Paris
7. Onion Soup
I love myself a good, classic French onion soup! It's definitely well-known throughout France and has become popular internationally.
A good French onion soup is made with caramelized onions, beef broth, and a touch of wine. It's typically topped with a slice of crusty bread and melted cheese, then broiled until bubbly and golden.
Get ready for that cheese pull!
Best places to sip on onion soup:
- Le Comptoir du Relais ($$$): 9 Carrefour de l'Odéon, 75006 Paris
- Chez L'Ami Jean ($$$): 27 Rue Malar, 75007 Paris
- Chez Denise ($$): 5 Rue des Prouvaires, 75001 Paris
I know this one is a hit and a miss depending on your tastes and whether or not you're adventurous with your food.
No matter how little you like to try new dishes, I highly recommend trying escargot in France at least once—it's definitely an experience if you're not used to escargot as a dish!
Just so you're not surprised, escargot is a snail dish that's very traditional. It's a French appetizer often served in a garlic and parsley butter sauce. They're typically eaten with a small fork or a special snail tong.
Be adventurous at these restaurants in Paris:
- L'Escargot Montorgueil ($$$): 38 Rue Montorgueil, 75001 Paris
- Chez Fernand ($$): 13 Rue Guisarde, 75006 Paris
- Au Pied de Cochon ($$): 6 Rue Coquillière, 75001 Paris
5. Frog Legs
Another possibly strange suggestion for some is frog legs! I personally think they taste like chicken and are definitely worth the adventure!
I'm sure other cultures serve up frog legs, but as a French delicacy, I highly recommend it while you stay in Paris. In France, frog legs are often prepared by sautéing or frying them with butter, garlic, and parsley.
Try frog legs at these spots in Paris:
- Chez Paul ($$$): 13 Rue de Charonne, 75011 Paris
- Chez Louisette ($$): 29 Rue des Petits Champs, 75001 Paris
- Roger la Grenouille ($$$): 26-28 Rue des Grands Augustins, 75006 Paris
4. Quiche Lorraine
I grew up eating lots of quiche and always loved this eggy, flavorful dish! It's a savory tart that's made with a buttery crust, filled with a mixture of eggs, cream, bacon, and cheese, and baked until golden and set.
If you're looking for delicious brunch item or a light lunch, grab yourself a quiche lorraine, often served with a green salad on the side.
The best eateries for quiche lorraine:
- Boco ($$): 3 Rue Danielle Casanova, 75001 Paris
- Le Loir dans la Theière ($$): 3 Rue des Rosiers, 75004 Paris
- Rose Bakery ($$): 30 Rue Debelleyme, 75003 Paris
I'm personally a lover of fish and although fish may not be quite as common in French cuisine, bouillabaisse is the dish for seafood lovers!
Bouillabaisse is a traditional fish stew from the south of France. It's made with a variety of fish, shellfish, and other seafood, simmered in a flavorful broth with tomatoes, saffron, and other spices.
It may not be the traditional way to eat it, but I enjoy it with rice or bread.
Where to eat delicious bouillabaisse:
- Le Petit Nice ($$$$): 86 Boulevard Raspail, 75006 Paris
- Chez L'Ami Louis ($$$$): 32 Rue du Vertbois, 75003 Paris
- La Cagouille ($$$): 14 Rue Lobineau, 75006 Paris
2. Confit de Canard
The best way to eat duck, in my humble food-loving opinion!
This is a classic French dish that features duck legs slowly cooked in their own fat until tender and flavorful. It's often served with potatoes, vegetables, or a simple green salad.
If you pick up this dish, you may never go back to eating duck any other way...
Where you can find Paris' best duck:
- Chez Dumonet ($$$): 117 Rue du Cherche-Midi, 75006 Paris
- La Fontaine de Mars ($$$): 129 Rue Saint-Dominique, 75007 Paris
- Le Petit Canard ($$): 19 Rue Henry Monnier, 75009 Paris
Calling all cheese lovers! Aligot was by far my fav dish when I got to visit the City of Love.
Aligot is considered a comfort dish made with mashed potatoes, cheese, butter, cream, and garlic. The result is a smooth, stretchy, and deliciously cheesy side dish often served with sausages or other meats.
Dig into cheesy aligot at these French restuarants:
- Le Comptoir du 7e ($$): 38 Avenue de la Motte-Picquet, 75007 Paris
- L'Ambassade d'Auvergne ($$$): 22 Rue du Grenier Saint-Lazare, 75003 Paris
- Chez Papa ($$): 6 Rue Gassendi, 75014 Paris
Cheese Brie-ond Belief!
Another popular food in France is cheese. You can find a fromagerie to help you pick the cheese for your tastes, or you can go into a supermarket (Monoprix, Carrefour, or Casino are some big names you can check out) and peruse the massive cheese sections.
Which are the cheeses in France that I suggest you try? Here's my list of top picks:
- Époisses de Bourgogne
For cheese, you may want to visit a fromagerie or a cheese shop:
- Fromagerie Laurent Dubois ($$$): 47 Ter Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75005 Paris
- La Fermette ($$): 86 Rue Montorgueil, 75002 Paris
- Barthelemy ($$$): 51 Rue de Grenelle, 75007 Paris
French Drinks for Thirsty Travelers
3. Hot Chocolate
For a sweet drink, have a chocolat chaud! Yes, it’s a hot chocolate, but unlike what you’ll be expecting. The French hot chocolate is thick and made with actual chocolate melted in milk so you can indulge in a rich, delicious beverage.
The best cafes in Paris for hot chocolate:
- Angelina ($$): 226 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris
- Chocolat Chapon ($$): 69 Rue du Bac, 75007 Paris
- Le Valentin ($): Passage Jouffroy, 30 Rue des Petits Champs, 75001 Paris
2. French Press
Where better to try French press than in France!? Also known as cafetière, French press is a popular way to make coffee. It produces a strong, full-bodied coffee that pairs perfectly with French pastries and desserts.
Make sure that when you're visiting one of the many French cafes, you order a French press to taste it from the source!
Where to go for the best French press:
- Café de Flore ($$): 172 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75006 Paris
- Le Peloton Café ($$): 17 Rue du Pont Louis-Philippe, 75004 Paris
- KB CaféShop ($): 53 Avenue Trudaine, 75009 Paris
1. French Wines
Wine from France must be some of the most popular wines in the world! Although you can find French wine all over the world, make sure you get a glass whenever you feel like it in Paris. You'll never find the quality and price that you do when drinking French wine in France!
From the crisp whites of the Loire Valley to the bold reds of Bordeaux, there's a wine to suit every palate. Visit a local wine bar, or ask for recommendations at a restaurant to find the perfect pairing for your meal.
Affordable wine bars to try out French wine:
- Le Baron Rouge ($$): 1 Rue Théophile Roussel, 75012 Paris
- Le Petit Vendôme ($$): 8 Rue des Capucines, 75002 Paris
- Les Caves Populaires ($): 22 Rue des Dames, 75017 Paris
Paris' Best Food Markets
One reason why Paris is so well known for food is because of its markets—marchés . The French love shopping in markets for fresh meat, produce, cheese, and all kinds of food, and while visiting Paris, these markets are something to see. If you’re looking to visit some marchés while in Paris, you won’t be disappointed.
Whether you want to visit the Marché des Enfants Rouges in Le Marais, or head on over to Rue Montorgueil, there are marchés in every arrondissement you can explore. They aren’t all open every day, though, so don’t forget to research the markets that interest you before you take a trip to make sure they’re operating.
Markets are the best place to experience Parisian food, even if you aren’t cooking for yourself. See the fish stands to know what’s freshest and speak with the vendors to get their personal recommendations for cheese, produce, or even local food souvenirs.
It’s also a perfect opportunity to practice your French!
French Lingo You'll Need
If you’re wanting to explore Paris, it’s never a bad idea to brush up on your French. To have the best experience as you try out Parisian cuisine, here are some keywords and phrases to have in your back pocket!
- Bonjour: Hello. In France, it’s crucial that you start any interaction with anyone with bonjour or bonsoir if it’s the evening
- Merci: Thank you
- S’il vous plaît: Please
- Manger (pronounced man-jay): To eat
- Boire: To drink
- Petit-Déjeuner: Breakfast
- Déjeuner: Lunch
- Dîner: Dinner
- Parlez-vous anglais?: Do you speak English?
- Je voudrais…: I would like…
- L’addition: The check/bill (to ask for this in French, you would say “l’addition, s’il vous plaît”)
- Pourboire: Tip (if a restaurant says service compris, this means the tip is included in your bill)
Best Food Tours in Paris
One way to eat your way through Paris is to book a food tour. With these, you’ll be able to enjoy classic Parisian food and wine with a dedicated tour guide. This is a perfect way to not only indulge in some delicious cuisine but also to learn about it as well.
A highly rated food tour operator in Paris is Secret Food Tours. Run by Parisians, you can choose from five different food tours to help you explore the culinary side of Paris.
For sweet tooths, check out their chocolate & pastry tour, or explore different quartiers with their tours of Le Marais, Montmartre, Saint Germain, and the Latin Quarter.
This company's wine tour includes five wine tastings, known as dégustations in French. Tickets for the tours are on the spendy side but can be worth it if you want to delve into French food outside of a restaurant setting.
You can also check out Viator’s top-rated Ultimate Paris Food Tour for a three-hour food fest in the Le Marais neighborhood. You’ll get 12 tastings from eight dining establishments, and with groups limited to ten people, you’ll be able to truly immerse yourself in the intimate experience. This tour is operated by Devour Paris Food Tours.
Tips to Finding Restaurants in Paris
With all the food options in Paris, it’s hard to go wrong with where you eat. That being said, there are some ways to ensure you aren’t being overcharged for your Parisian delicacies, and that you’re eating at a local joint.
Here are some of the things I always keep in mind during while searching for a delicious restaurant in Paris:
- Don’t eat too close to tourist landmarks: Head a few blocks away to find more local haunts that won’t carry as high a price tag
- Look for menus in French: Many restaurants that cater to tourists will have menus in English and French. If the menu is only in French, that’s a sign it’s not necessarily a tourist hotspot, and the prices will likely reflect that
- Avoid menus with pictures: The fewer pictures there are on a menu, the better
- Don’t shy away from “small” restaurants: One of the joys of eating in Paris is experiencing the sometimes crammed restaurants squeezed into the French architecture
- Listen for French: If everyone sitting en terrace is speaking French, there’s a good chance the restaurant is approved by local Parisians
- Read TripAdvisor reviews: Even if you have to pop off to the side to check, it’s never a bad idea to read reviews before committing to a restaurant
Paris, You Had Me at Bon Appétit!
Whether you’re in Paris for the first or hundredth time, you’ll never get tired of French food. The options are endless, and no matter if you’re searching for something sweet, savory, or alcoholic, you’ll find so many delicious ways to make your mouth water.
Regardless of how you choose to eat your way through Paris, be sure to always say bon appétit!
While food is a very important part of any holiday, there are other things to plan before you go. Use Pilot to plan your trip effortlessly!