One of the best things about traveling is getting to try delicious eats of a different culture. And one of the best places to explore your gustatory curiosities is France. The plates France is famous for include cheese, cured meats, bread, baguettes, roasted duck, croissants, and fine wine. Parisian chefs also employ time-tested, advanced cooking techniques to combine classic flavors and ingredients in magical ways.
Not only is the grub in this European metropolis good, but many people would agree it is some of the best around the globe. Why is that? What makes the meats, the cheeses, the breads, the pastries, even the fruits and vegetables, some of the most delectable around? One of the reasons is because chefs in France use only the freshest, local ingredients available to them. The culture does not rely on preservatives and artificial flavorings in their kitchens, in the way many other countries do.
The cheese in France is considered some of the best on the planet because the country does not undergo the same methods of pasteurization as the United States, leading to more flavorful, fresher cheese. If your mouth is watering now, you may be wondering how you can experience the best cuisine ever the next time you travel to France. Consider this your guide!
Some of the best grub can be found on the streets and in the markets, walking along the picturesque streets. However, the streets are big and long, so to make the best use of your time on your trip, be sure to check out our guides on how to buy cheese in Paris before you head out. With fresh ingredients of your own, you can now construct some delicious meals of your very own.
Another great way to experience awesome eats abroad is to book a dining tours with kids if you are traveling as a family. Tours are an excellent way to quickly learn about how certain plates are prepared and what types are available since it may be a new place for you.
Life as a Parisian is surely a delicious one, but you too can experience the same culinary pleasures yourself on your next trip. Fuel up on coffee and croissants at a local cafe, and after your sightseeing, be sure to try some of the well known and renowned venues the city has to offer. There are lots of options, from a classic French restaurant like The Five and The Bee to global fusion like Marclee to raw dish restaurants in Paris, like Sol and Semilla 42 Degrés.
Whether you choose to shop, cook, tour, or dine, your taste buds cannot go wrong in one of the most culinarily advanced cultures on the planet. Enjoy your meal and be sure to experience all of the eating pleasures available in France.
For more information, please refer to the following pages:
Food is one of the most significant elements of French culture, which places a high value on enjoying meals. In fact, UNESCO has even declared French cuisine to be a part of humanity’s cultural heritage. French food culture dates back to the Middle Ages, and throughout history, it has evolved into the advanced cuisine we see today. After the French Revolution, the art of cooking spread after guilds were abolished, which allowed French cooks to operate with fewer restrictions, and from there, modern French cuisine flourished. Today, food in France is more than just a small aspect of culture—it’s a traditional and ritualistic part of everyday life. The French view food as something to be fully enjoyed and savored. Mealtimes, then, are often extended affairs with multiple courses, and a good amount of socializing takes place at the dinner table. When it comes to food, the French value quality over quantity, giving respect to the rich tradition of cooking in France.
When you visit Paris, you may be overwhelmed with food choices, but you should take care to try certain foods that make Paris the culinary capital of the world. Baked goods like a fresh baguette from a boulangerie or a croissant from a patisserie are a must-have for all visitors, and for dessert, you should pick up a few delicious macarons or a scrumptious paris-brest. Paris is also well-known for its markets, where you can find a selection of delicious meats and cheeses to eat on a picnic. You should also indulge in Parisian street food, which offers traditional French eats like crepes as well as Middle Eastern specialties like falafel. However, no visit to Paris is complete without traditional French meals like the croque-monsieur, quiche, and duck confit. As you can see, there is no single best food to eat in Paris, so you should do your best to try them all.
If you’re looking to sample classic French cuisine in Paris, then you’ll surely find plenty of bakeries, cafes, and restaurants that suit your needs. To sample traditional French breads and pastries, head to Parisian boulangeries, or artisan bakeries, and patisseries, or pastry shops. While some boulangeries and patisseries may serve a variety of breads and pastries, most will offer traditional goods like baguettes, croissants, and macarons. Cafes are also an excellent place to sample traditional French foods. Le Procope is the oldest cafe in Paris, and its decor and menu reflect the cafe’s roots that date back to the 1600s. Cafe de la Rotonde is another historic cafe where you can enjoy classic Parisian cafe cuisine. To find a full French meal, however, you’ll have to venture to one of Paris’s many bistros and brasseries. Restaurant Allard is an excellent French bistro in the Saint-André des Arts district where you can sample French classics like foie gras, or if you wish to escape the tourist crowd, head to Bistrot Paul Bert in the 11th Arrondissement, where you can find some of the best steak-frites in Paris.
Dining in Paris can be an unforgettable experience, but if you’re not careful, it can become an expensive affair. However, you can find plenty of high-quality Parisian cuisine for a reasonable price. Many cafes, such as Breizh Cafe, offer great food for under 10 Euros. For classic French fare or a delicious sandwich, head to Le Petit Vendome in the 1st Arrondissement. This bistro offers reasonably-priced takeaway sandwiches and is constantly packed with both tourists and locals alike. Another great inexpensive bistro in Paris is Bistrot Victoires - a gem among the high-price, low-quality restaurants that surround the Louvre. If you enjoy craft beer, head to L’Express de Lyon, where you can find some of the lowest-priced draft beer in Paris. You can also find plenty of inexpensive Middle Eastern food in Paris, such as L’as du Fallafel or Chez le Libanais, and Asian food, such as Bien Bien and Pho 14. Street food stands, which often serve crepes or falafel, are also a great option if you’re eating in Paris on a budget.
When you visit Paris, you’ll quickly find that nearly all of the food you eat is fresh whether you buy it at the supermarket or eat it in a cafe. While this is partially due to the abundance of fresh markets and bakeries around the city, nearly all restaurants, specialty stores, supermarkets, and others order their fresh food in bulk from Rungis - a high-quality wholesale distributor that sources fresh products throughout France. Unlike traditional wholesalers, Rungis is comprised of an association of more than 1200 French food producers and enterprises, making it the largest wholesale food market in the world. At Rungis, fishmongers, butchers, produce sellers, and other fresh food producers sell their goods to restauranteurs, shop owners, and other culinary professionals in Paris at market prices. Although some online wholesalers like Amazon try to compete with this marketplace, Parisians prefer to buy at Rungis due to the quality and freshness of its goods. This business model allows Rungis to always provide its customers with fresh food while supporting local French producers.
While there’s no such thing as a truly “bad” meal in Paris, there are plenty of tourist traps that serve lesser-quality meals at inflated prices. So, how do you avoid these subpar places? First, as a general rule, you should avoid restaurants around popular attractions. The area surrounding the Eiffel Tower, for instance, is notorious for its low-quality tourist trap eateries. You should also avoid restaurants that have a dedicated staff member standing outside to solicit your business. These “touts,” as the French call them, are a telltale sign of a poor-quality restaurant. Third, you should look for restaurants with relatively short menus. A limited menu means that the ingredients are likely fresh and the dishes are prepared on-the-spot. If a restaurant is quite crowded, you can also tell whether it’s worthwhile by scanning the crowd to see whether it’s filled with tourists or locals. Finally, apps like LocalSpot only suggest restaurants that are well-reviewed by people who live in the neighborhood, making them a great way to choose good local eateries
Although most people travel to Paris to sample traditional French cuisine, you can also find plenty of excellent food from other cultures in the city – particularly Japanese food. France and Japan have enjoyed a healthy cultural exchange since the 1600s, and Paris even has a huge Japanese cultural center in the 15th Arrondissement. The City of Light also has its own little Tokyo on Rue Sainte-Anne, where you can find a plethora of excellent sushi and ramen. You can also find plenty of Japanese-inspired desserts at bakeries throughout the city. Chef Sadaharu Aoki, for instance, is a Japanese chef who puts a creative spin on traditional French desserts, infusing them with fresh flavors like matcha and yuzu. Likewise, numerous Japanese chefs – such as Shinichi Sato and Dai Shinozuka – have traveled to Paris to study French cuisine and then opened their own restaurants – both French and Japanese – within the city. Given the extent of this cultural exchange, you’ll surely find excellent authentic and modern Japanese food in Paris.
While the French take great pride in their culinary tradition (and for good reason), Parisian food has been heavily influenced by many other cultures. For example, North African dishes, such as couscous, became popular among Parisians after Algerians immigrated to France after World War I. Likewise, immigrants from Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and other parts of the Middle East have imported their culinary traditions, and today, dishes like hummus and falafel are a regular part of Parisian cuisine. The French have also enjoyed an excellent cultural culinary exchange with many Asian countries. Vietnam, for instance, was a former French colony, which allowed the two countries to exchange culinary traditions. Finally, Parisian cuisine also receives foreign influence from the numerous chefs that travel to the city to study and train there, and many of these chefs choose to open their own restaurants in the City of Light. Paris’s status as a hub for international commerce has thus allowed for positive foreign influence on traditional French cuisine.