When planning our Paris Family Vacation, I did so much research to ensure that we tried all of the best food Paris had to offer. Today, I’m sharing my Top 18 Must Eat Paris Foods, plus some honorable mentions, to help you with planning your own Paris trip!
Must Eat Paris Foods
We all had very different goals for our trip to Paris.
Me? I was just planning on eating my body weight in fabulous French food, and I’m happy to report that I’m pretty sure I did just that. (I’m not even mad about the extra 10 pounds that 2 months in Europe gained me – it was worth every ounce.)
There were so many wonderful foods that lived up to expectation, and a few that really weren’t worth the hype (or the euros).
To make your culinary adventures in Paris a little more focused and definitely pleasurable, I’m sharing my top picks and also where I recommend you try them.
(Be sure to grab our free printable checklist at the bottom of the post!)
To get you excited about your Paris culinary adventures, here are some of my favorite books about Paris food (that aren’t cookbooks):
- The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen by Jacques Pepin
- The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry : Love, Laughter, and Tears in Paris at the World’s Most Famous Cooking School by Kathleen Flinn
- My Life in France by Julia Child
And, some of my favorite French cookbooks:
- Pierre Herme Pastries
- The Little Paris Kitchen by Rachel Khoo
- Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan
- Escoffier Cookbook
- Essential Pepin by Jacques Pepin
18 Paris Foods You Must Eat
Hands-down my all-time favorite dessert and one of the best things I ate in Paris. (I may have eaten three in a week. It was still not enough.)
Isaphan is a raspberry-rose macaron with a lychee and rose petal cream center and plenty of fresh raspberries sandwiched between the two cookies.
The flavor combination can also be found in macarons, ice creams, eclairs, etc, but the original pastry is a must-try. (While I don’t think there’s such a thing as a bad isaphan, if you only try one, get it from Pierre Herme.)
Real French croissants are just as superior as you would expect. Crunchy, caramelized outside, and hundreds of fluffy layers inside. (The secret is the butter.)
Chocolat Chaud (Hot Chocolate)
This is hot chocolate as it’s meant to be made: actual melted chocolate mixed with milk. Rich, thick and not too sweet. Angelina’s (several locations in the city) is one of the best places to enjoy a cup.
There are so many great place to grab a crêpe in Paris, but my favorites were from Le Breizh Café (several locations throughout the city) and Crêperie KIGG (7 Rue Joseph de Maistre, 75018 Paris). The raw, salted butter on the ones from Breizh made that my favorite of the trip.
All the cheese. Every cheese. There are no bad cheeses in France. Take my word for it.
There’s no need to order an expensive cheese plate at a restaurant. You can get some amazing cheeses at local grocers or fromagères and then take them on a picnic or back to your hotel.
During our Secret Food Tour in Montmarte, we sampled several amazing cheeses (roquefort, comté, fresh goat cheese, truffle-infused cheese, raw milk cheeses, etc) at La Butte Fromagère (32 Rue des Abbesses, 75018 Paris).
Berthillon Ice Cream
Not just any ice cream – you need to seek out this brand! We visited their flagship location at Paris Island, but there are many stores and restaurants throughout the city that offer their ice cream. See the full list here.
Sooooo many great chocolates to choose from, but our favorites were from Alain Ducasse (several locations) and Maison George Larnicol (7-9 Rue de Steinkerque, 75018 Paris), who was awarded the Best Craftsman of France award last year.
Of course, you cannot go to Paris without having this quintessential cookie. We enjoyed these delicate treats at a couple of locations and I’ll list our favorite flavors below:
- Christophe Roussel (5 Rue Tardieu, 75018 Paris) – lavender apricot, pistachio morello cherry and rose were my favorites here
- Pierre Herme (several locations) – I still think I need to try all of his flavors, but so far I love isaphan, montebello, infinite rose, and mogador
- Laudaree (several locations) – orange blossom, blackcurrant violet and rose were my favorites
Goose and/or Duck
Both are a staple in our house, but if you’ve not had much experience with either you need to try some duck confit (duck that has been preserved in salt and cooked in it’s own fat), foie gras (a buttery spread made of duck or goose liver), rillette d’oie (goose shredded meat with fat), or any duck (canard) pâté. These are available in restaurants, at grocers, and at boucheries (we purchased a few from Boucherie Jacky Gaudin, 50 Rue des Abbesses, 75018 Paris)
Jambon-Beurre (Ham Sandwich)
To the uninitiated, this just looks like a boring ham and butter sandwich. To those in the know, this is one of the best culinary pleasures that Paris can offer.
Every single aspect of this sandwich is perfect – the crunchy-on-the-outside, melt-in-your-mouth baguette, the incomparable French butter smeared all over, and great-quality ham. Sometimes served with cheese, but not always.
Grab one and take it to a nearby park for a picnic. (I had two great jambon-beurres but the one in the picture above is from Boulangerie Patisserie Artisanal, 97 rue de Monceau, 75008 Paris France.)
Yup, snails. Often served in a garlic-butter sauce, this appetizer requires a generous side of bread to soak up all of that buttery goodness when you’re done with the main event. While I’ve had escargots outside of Europe often, they can be hit or miss. Every time we ordered them in Paris, they were a hit (even with my 7 year old).
Do not confuse escargot with sea snails – they are not the same. Sea snails are much larger and I would say, a little less pleasant for most.
Praluline (Praline Brioche)
A sweet brioche bun topped with pink, rose sugar-candied almonds. A must-have with a cup of coffee.
If you’re a fan of sauerkraut, this brasserie staple is a must-try in France. It’s white cabbage cooked in white wine, animal fat, herbs and garlic and then served topped with various cuts of pork.
Okay, so eclairs are often found outside of Paris but they are a world apart from the eclairs you can find from patisseries around the city. For one, the center is richer and the pastry is divine, nothing like the donut-like pastry that personifies eclairs here.
We had amazing eclairs from Boulangerie Alexine (40 Rue Lepic, 75018 Paris) and L’Eclairs de Genie (several locations).
This French pastry is made with a croissant-like dough that has sugar sprinkled in between the layers, creating little pockets of sweetness throughout the soft, somewhat moist center of the pastry, while the outside has a crispy, caramelized coating.
A silky, luscious appetizer of perfectly soft boiled eggs topped with a dijon mustard- and red wine vinegar-infused mayonnaise sauce. Like most French food, it is deceptively simple but incredibly delicious.
While French fries are actually Belgian, a classic Steak Frites should be enjoyed at least once in Paris.
Truffles are a way of life in France and when in season, they pop up on menus in the most unexpected places.
We were lucky enough to sample truffles and truffle-infused foods several times during our Paris vacation, but the most notable experience was a 7-course meal at La Maison de la Truffe which featured truffles in every dish, including the dessert!
I made this section separate as (in my experience) the top 18 foods above are either only (easily) found in France, or are very different from versions you can get in North America. Even macarons, which are increasingly popular, are usually not available in the same flavors here as you can find in Paris.
The below list of foods are all highly recommended, but many of them can easily be found outside of Europe. If you don’t have access to these foods locally, definitely try them in Paris – you’ll be glad you did.
- Croque Monsier (or Croque Madame)
- Creme Brulee
Must-Have Paris Wines
If you’re a red wine lover, check out a classic Côtes de Rhône or Beaujolais. These light red wines should be served slightly lower than room temperature and don’t have the heaviness that many associate with red wines.
Vouvray is a must for champagne lovers. This sparkling wine is just as good and hails from the Vouvray region, where many younger winemakers are setting up to produce this exciting wine. A great bottle of Vouvray will cost you a fraction of a mediocre bottle of champagne. (If you are looking for a specific recommendation, I bought a few bottles of Domaine Brisebarre’s Vouvray AOC from Val de Loire to bring home with me.)
Natural wines are increasingly common in Paris, and while I’ve personally not found one to convert me yet, Au Passage had an impressive array when we visited.
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Did I leave off any of your favorite Paris foods? Let me know in the comments below!