If you’re heading to the city of lights and wondering what to eat in Paris while you’re there, in this article we’re going to share all of our absolute favorite French eats to find in the capital.
Paris is a city of romance, culture, and beauty that has been drawing travelers from all around the world for centuries.
Whether you’re visiting Paris with a lover, a friend, or even taking a solo trip to Paris, eating well should be at the top of your to-do list in this pretty city.
But what are the must-try dishes when you’re in the City of Lights? What should you order at traditional cafés and brasseries? And how can you make sure you don’t miss out on some of Paris’ most characteristic flavors?
If you’re on a budget while traveling Paris, don’t miss our guide to the best cheap restaurants in Paris.
This guide will help you find the best food and drink in the City of Lights. So get ready to feast your way through one of Europe’s most sparkling cities – Bon Appétit!
What to Eat in Paris [and Drink!]
To make the most of your time in Paris, don’t miss out on these food and drink options.
No trip to Paris is complete without indulging in one of the city’s most famous treats: the croissant. The light and flaky pastry is a staple of French cuisine and a calling card around the world.
But, do you know where in the world is considered to be the birthplace of the croissant? It isn’t Paris. No, not even France.
The birthplace of the croissant is Vienna, Austria, and this flaky favorite was introduced to Paris by Austrian bakeries as they began to set up shop in the city of lights.
The croissant gets its unique shape from being folded multiple times and then baked with butter, resulting in a delectable treat.
The crescent shape is actually an homage to the crescent moon on the Turkish flag, as a way to celebrate the Austrian defeat of the Ottoman Empire.
While you can find croissants around every turn in Paris, you should know that not all croissants are created equal.
Check out La Maison d’Isabelle, which won the city’s prize for best croissant in 2018. You can have the most delicious butter croissant of your life here for only €1.
Paris is less than an hour away, by train, from the actual birthplace of Champagne.
If you have time for a day trip, you should absolutely visit the nearby Champagne region firsthand. Not only is it beautiful, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience to get up close and personal with the history of this celebratory drink.
There are several great options for Champagne tours from Paris that will take you out into the charming countryside for a day of tastings. These tours include visits to the birthplace of the Father of Champagne himself – Dom Perignon.
If you don’t have time to spare, enjoy a glass locally in Paris instead. Even if you don’t normally like Champagne, you might be surprised by what you try here.
Make your way to Le Dokhan’s Bar, a local favorite, where the sommelier will help guide you through the 200+ Champagne varieties available to find the right one for you. You can even participate in a small tasting here if you’d like.
3. Hot Chocolate
Balance out your chilled Champagne with some creamy hot chocolate while visiting Paris. Compared with the hot chocolate found in the US, hot chocolate in Paris is much thicker and less diluted.
Made with real, melted chocolate and milk this delightful drink is usually served with a dollop of thick whipped cream!
4. Steak Frites
Steak frites is a classic dish that simply cannot be overlooked. This French dish is composed of succulent steak and crispy French fries. It is a perfect combination of savory and salty flavors that will delight your taste buds. Plus, it’s sure to fill you up and give you the energy to explore the sights.
The place to get steak frites in Paris is Le Relais de l’Entrecôte. Aside from a walnut salad and your drink of choice, steak and frites is all they will serve you.
You’ll be asked how you want your steak cooked, and that’s it. Second helpings are included. If you decide to try steak frites in Paris, try to get a seat at Le Relais de l’Entrecôte. Be sure to book a table a day or two in advance (more in summer).
Tasting the quintessential French baguette is an absolute must. The long, thin, and crispy loaves of bread are beloved throughout the city, not just for their delicious taste but also for their cultural significance.
Baguettes are a symbol of French heritage, and no trip to Paris is complete without trying one.
You can get a freshly baked baguette to go at most bakeries. Then, pick up sandwich meats, cheeses, fruit, wine, and other snacks to go have a picnic alongside the Seine or at the Eiffel Tower.
At many cafes, you’ll also find pre-made baguette sandwiches available for purchase. These tend to be flavorful, fresh, and light for the perfect lunch that won’t weigh you down.
While you can find many varieties of baguette sandwiches, if you’re a ham eater then the classic jambon-beurre is a must-try. Also known as Le Parisien, this simple yet popular Parisian sandwich consists of heavily buttered bread with slices of cooked ham on a crispy baguette.
You can order it at most cafes around the city, but one of the best places to enjoy it is at Chez Aline. If you notice the line is out the door, don’t fret. It moves quickly and your short wait will be well worth it.
For a colorful and elegant treat, try the classic French macaron. These meringue-based confections come in a variety of flavors, from rose and raspberry to salted caramel and pistachio.
Where to get the best macarons in Paris is a hotly debated topic among both locals and tourists, however, Ladurée is one of the most beloved. This historic patisserie offers prime examples of melt-in-your-mouth pastries that are almost too beautiful to eat.
You can either buy individual macarons or gift boxes filled with an assortment of flavors. Even if you don’t have a sweet tooth, the beauty of Ladurée’s macarons in their colorful presentation is enough to make anyone smile.
To make your macaron experience even more special, go beyond simply buying them ready-made and sign up for a cooking class instead!
Once you learn the French technique for making macarons you’ll be well equipped to impress friends back home for years to come.
Of course, when in Paris crepes are a must. These thin pancakes can be found on almost every street corner in the city, and they come in both savory and sweet varieties.
While the sweet crepes are made with white flour, you’ll see that most savory varieties are actually called galettes. They are made with buckwheat flour, giving it a much nuttier taste. It goes perfectly with goat cheese, jambon, and eggs.
Whether you’re in the mood for a light and fluffy crepe with Nutella and bananas or something heavier like one filled with cheese, ham, or mushrooms, you’ll have plenty of options.
For an authentic experience, try your luck at Creperie Bretonne. They serve up a variety of freshly made crepes that are cooked to perfection. Order a cider from Brittany to accompany your crepe as well, as these are traditionally consumed together.
You’ve likely heard of the French delicacy escargot, and your trip to Paris is the perfect time to try some. This dish of cooked snails can be found on local menus throughout Paris in a variety of preparations.
While popular all over France, escargot is particularly popular in Paris and Burgundy. You’ll find them served as an appetizer with garlic butter sauce or even incorporated into pasta and other dishes.
Wherever you try it, and in whatever form, having escargot in Paris is guaranteed to be a memorable experience.
9. Onion Soup
For a hearty, savory meal look no further than a bowl of classic French onion soup. This fragrant, flavorful soup is made with onions and beef broth, topped with melted cheese.
Onion soup originally became a popular staple in France due to the affordability and availability of onions. Today, it remains popular more because of its comforting flavor than the cost.
For a local feel and authentic French food, head to Les Philosophes. Not only can you enjoy onion soup here, but you’ll find other French specialties like beef bourguignon and duck confit on the menu as well.
10. Croque Monsieur and Croque Madam
Invented in Paris in the early 1900s, the quintessential croque monsieur is certainly a food to experience while in town.
A traditional Croque Monsieur is made with crusty bread, melted cheese, ham, and bechamel sauce. A Croque Madame adds a fried egg on top of the sandwich. These sandwiches are often served for lunch or even breakfast, and they never fail to satisfy.
Fric Frac is a fun place to try these specialties, with a menu focused on this dish. You’ll find both traditional and fusion take on the sandwiches. They also have great options for vegetarians.
Le Petit Cler takes a simpler approach to the dish and is popular for its fresh ingredients. For a classic version, this is the place to go.
FAQ: What to Eat in Paris
As you prepare to eat your way through Paris, you might be wondering:
What is a typical breakfast in Paris?
Breakfast in Paris tends to be simple. It usually consists of a pastry and coffee or tea. You can grab this from any place that has its tables outside in the mornings. Bakeries also usually have espresso machines where you can grab a pastry and a coffee to-go.
What is the biggest meal of the day in France?
Lunch is usually the biggest meal of the day in France, with a few courses and often accompanied by wine.
Final Thoughts: What to Eat in Paris
From steak frites to macarons and crepes, Paris has a delicious array of classic French dishes that are sure to tantalize your taste buds.
Whether you’re looking for something savory or sweet, there’s bound to be something on the menu that satisfies both your cravings and cultural curiosity!
With so many incredible options available at various price points throughout the city, it’s easy enough to eat well without breaking the bank.