Paris food guide: Famous French foods to try in Paris

Looking to explore the mouthwatering Paris food scene? Then this Paris food guide is for you. Whether you look forward to sinking your teeth in a sweet little treat at one of the gorgeous Parisian parks, indulging in a cheese plate at a wine bar or splurge on a Michelin star dinner at one of the best restaurants in Paris, we can’t wait to introduce you to the best French food in Paris.

Discovering a destination is a multi-sensory experience after all. Criss-crossing the city from one Paris arrondissement to the next and from one Paris landmark to another, taking in the sights, sounds and smells, and staying in a Parisian hotel is just part of the fun. To really get the feel of a city, you need to experience its array of flavors too.

So yes, eating your way through Paris is an essential part of every Paris itinerary. That’s exactly where this Paris food guide comes in. Before we dive in, a word of caution: don’t read this on an empty stomach or you’ll be in for some serious food cravings.

Escargots, macarons and cheese are some of the finest French foods to try in Paris
Oysters and cheese are some of the most famous foods in Paris to try

Affiliate links are sprinkled throughout the site content. Clicking on such a hyperlink and booking on the accommodation platform it refers to, may result in a commission for CosmopoliClan at no additional cost to you. As Amazon Associates, we also earn from qualifying purchases. For more information, visit the Disclaimer page.

12 Paris food favorites

From street food to formal dining, here are the most famous foods in Paris. For each item, we’ve included the best place to try these foods as well as a cooking class suggestion.

Book your favorite restaurant through The Fork with our referral code 82798AFA and receive a €10 discount!


In the top 10 most popular foods in Paris are croissants and other Parisian pastries

The indisputable number one food in Paris is of course the croissant. Its only competitor in the race for most popular breakfast food in Paris, is the baguette. A croissant is a crescent shaped, layered roll of is yeast-risen dough is drenched in butter and baked to perfection. It’s crisp and flaky on the outside and tender and sumptuous on the inside.

Sure, you can buy croissants in just about any country. But even in Belgium, just across the border from France, croissants are a watered-down version of the French original. Many of those wannabe-croissants substitute butter by the healthier margarine but it really compromises the result. So, don’t hold back when you’re in France and go for the original buttery version called croissant au beurre.

The best place to try this food in Paris is a reputable bakery. Here are our favorite addresses:

  • We love the almond croissants from Carette, located at the Place du Trocadéro in the shadow of the Eiffel tower.
  • La Maison d’Isabelle, in the heart of the Quartier Latin, also holds quite the reputation when it comes to croissants.

Roll up your sleeves! Learn how to make your own croissants in one of these workshops:

Paris Cooking Class: Learn How to Make Croissants
French Croissant Workshop Experience in Paris
Ohlala Croissants in Paris
Learn to bake French croissant with a chef
Hands-on Croissants in Paris

Onion soup

Another classic food of France is onion soup. In addition to onions, the recipe features butter, poultry broth and herbs. It’s topped with a slice or two of French baguette which get covered in grated cheese. The soup is then put in the oven so where a delicious cheese crust forms on top of the soup.

Le Bistrot des Vosges is renowned for its onion soup. You can find this charming restaurants, which specializes in classic French cuisine, amidst the lively Le Marais district. No better place to end your night in Paris.


An example of the famous food of Paris are these colorful macarons from Pierre Herme

The colorful Parisian delights known as macarons are a feast for they eyes and a joy to the palate. A macaron is an elegant little sandwich that consists of an almond-meringue base and cover that gently lock in a flavorful filling of ganache, butter cream or jam in place. It looks like a playful yet perfectly shaped little round sandwich and comes in a panoply of flavors and colors. Both taste and texture are fine, light and delicate. Macaron-making is an art that only a select club of Parisian chefs master.

Shopping for a box of pastel-colored macarons from Laduree should be on every Paris travel guide
A pink box with macarons, the sweet and famous food from Paris

The best place to buy this elegant little treat in Paris is at one of the following macaron boutiques:

  • Parisians tend to prefer the Pierre Hermé macarons. Chef Hermé himself, once crowned The World’s Best Pastry, is the artist who gave the classic macaron a modern twist. We can’t get enough of his signature flavor called Ispahan, a fabulous combination of raspberry, lychee and rose.
    (Book your table at Le Café Pierre Hermé through The Fork with our referral code 82798AFA and receive a €10 discount!)
  • It was his love for French pastry that brought Tokyo-born Sadaharu Aoki to Paris. And that loved turned out to be mutual because he’s become one of Paris’ most renowned macaron masters. The combination of this classic French delicacy with the bold Asian flavors is spot on.
  • Ladurée used to be the most iconic macaron house in Paris and the brand that put this little treat on the map. In recent years, however, the brand had a hard time keeping up with the competition and surviving the pandemic. Even though the Ladurée macarons lost some of their shine, the pastel-tinted decor and packaging alone are worth a visit.

Roll up your sleeves! Learn how to make your own croissants in one of these workshops:

Paris Cooking Class: Learn How to Make Macarons
Macaron Bakery Class at Galeries Lafayette Paris
Ohlala Macarons in Paris
Learn to make macaron with a Chef
Macaron Class in Paris
Modern & Gourmet Macarons class in a Parisian Home

Steak tartare

Steak tartare is one of the Paris foods you should try

Next up, a classic in French cooking. The steak tartare or steak à l’américaine as it was once called (in both France and Belgium we still refer to chopped raw beef as filet américain). While the origin of the name is still food for debate, the appetizer it refers to needs no introduction. Steak tartare consists of finely chopped raw beef seasoned with salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco or Mustard. The French version also includes a whole egg yolk that is placed over the meat. Common accompaniments are parsley, onions and capers.

The best place to try this food in Paris is L’Atelier du Tartare near the Louvre and the Palais Royal with its fabulous garden.


French cheese is an essential item on this list of food to try in Paris. There are hundreds of French cheeses most of which are made with from raw milk. Only 46 French cheeses benefit from the French designation of origin (AOP). A trip to Paris is the perfect occasion to taste the variety of cheeses, from bloomy rind cheeses such as Brie and Camembert over washed rind cheeses such as Pont l’Évêque and Reblochon to blue cheeses such as Roquefort and Bleu d’Auvergne.

Whether you prefer your cheese to be soft, hard or crumbly, rather neutral scent-wise or even stinky, Paris is the perfect place to discover your favorite French cheese. Add a bottle of wine and a baguette to your shopping list and enjoy the perfect Parisian picnic under the Eiffel Tower, on the former love lock bridge Pont des Arts or along the banks of the Seine.

Picnic with French food in Paris

These are some of the best places to stock up on French cheese:

  • The fromagerie Quatrehomme is a family-owned shop that has been in business since 1953. The dazzling offer consists of both high-quality French cheeses and a refined offer of personal creations such.
  • The fairly young fromagerie Taka et Vermo is rising star in the Parisian cheese scene. The shop presents a select offer of cheeses from small producers as well as a selection of homemade signature cheeses.
  • France’s most renowned cheese maker, Laurent Dubois, presents a diverse assortment of the country’s finest cheeses. With no less than four fromageries in Paris, you can rest assured to discover your new favorite French cheese.

Roll up your sleeves and learn how to make your own cheese in this cheesemaking workshop and wine & cheese tasting with an expert or go for a tasting and wine-pairing session:

Paris Wine Tasting plus Cheese & Cured Meat Lunch with an Expert Sommelier Guide
Paris Art of Pairing Cheese and Wine Tasting in a Cheese Cellar
French wine and cheese tasting in Paris
Secret French wine & cheese tasting
Secret Cellar Cheese & Wine Tasting
Art of Cheese & wine in a Cheese school


Hand holding a Madeleine at the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris

The madeleine is a small spongecake baked in the shape of a shell. You’ll find this French classic in many, if not all, bakeries in Paris. Butter, fresh eggs and powder sugar are the main ingredients of this tasty cake. Parisians love their madeleine since it reminds them of their childhood. In recent years, more creative versions of this legendary cake are being introduced by a new generation of bakers.

Here are the best places to try this food in Paris:

  • Bo&Mie‘s dark chocolate glazed madeleine stuffed with its liquid praliné filling is heavenly.
  • Fans of this iconic spongecake will certainly appreciate Blé Sucré‘s giant madeleine-to-share with its orange juice infused sugar glaze.

Confit de canard

A confit de canard is a must-try food in Paris
Source: Depositphotos

Many of the classic Paris restaurants have confit de canard or duck confit on the menu. This traditional preservation method, which Originated in Gascony, involves curing the meat with salt and herbs before poaching it for hours. It’s then ready to be preserved in its own fat until the chef decides to take it out of its container and slightly fry it until the skin is nice and crisp. The tender meat is a treat for the palate and is usually served with potatoes and greens.

Restaurant Le Petit Châtelet is the perfect place to try this traditional food in Paris.


Our favorite Paris food are crepes and galettes at Breizh Cafe

French food favorite to try in Paris is the crêpe or European-style pancake. Unlike the American pancakes, which are fairly thick because of the use of a raising agent such as baking powder, European pancakes are ultra thin. They originate from the region of Brittany in Western France. They come in a sweet version, made from wheat flour and called crêpe, and a savory version, made from buckwheat flour and called galette.

Both crêpes and galettes can be eaten at a crêperie but you can also find the sweet variation on the afternoon menu of a bistrot or even at a local food stall. The galettes are perfect for lunch or dinner. But the best place to try this famous French food in Paris is one of the Breizh Cafés which you can find in the most popular arrondissements or neighborhoods. Whether you come for lunch or dinner, we’d strongly recommend ordering a savory one and following up with a sweet one for the ultimate crêpe experience.

Roll up your sleeves! Learn how to make crêpes in one of these workshops:
Ohlala Crêpes in Paris
How to make crepes like a pro


Oysters are a must-try food in Paris

Apéro time in Paris calls for oysters. French love their oysters or huîtres (pronounced as wee-tr), which are mostly grown along in western coastal regions of Normandy, Brittany and Nouvelle Aquitaine. Two types of oysters are available: the cupped ones called huîtres creuses and the flat ones called huîtres plates. Oysters in France are ordered by the half-dozen or demi-douzaine.

The creuse is the most common type of oyster. Its size ranges from 0 (the largest ones) to 5 (the smallest ones). This type of oysters tastes fresh and salty. The plate is more exclusive. Its size ranges from 000 (the largest ones) to 6 (the smallest ones). This type is reserved for the connoisseur due to their sophisticated taste and price tag.

Legend has it that oysters should only be consumed in months with the letter “r”, so in January, February, March, April, September, October, November and December. The “r”-free months are the breeding season during which oysters are more milky. This compromises the taste.

Oysters are a famous food from France

The best places to try this iconic French food in Paris are:

  • For the most memorable experience, head to Les Maquereaux. This trendy barge is located on the Seine, overlooking Île Saint-Louis.
  • The stylish cocktail bar ISTR is the place to be for an aperitif near the Place de la République. Fun fact: the name means oyster in Breton.
    (Book your table at ISTR through The Fork with our referral code 82798AFA and receive a €10 discount!)
  • The Opium La Cabane oyster bar is located at the Rue Dauphine, which is an extension from the famous Pont Neuf, leading up to Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Cabane means hut which accurately describes the small and straightforward setting. But who cares, you’re here for the oysters, right?
    (Book your table at Opium Cabane through The Fork with our referral code 82798AFA and receive a €10 discount!)


Merveilleux consist of meringue, chantilly and chocolate chips

Let’s end this post of famous Paris foods with a sweet one: the merveilleux or the marvellous. This finger-licking dessert consists of French meringue, the crisp and crunchy result of baked whisked egg whites and sugar, covered in whipped cream and coated with chocolate chips. It dates back to the late 18th century, when the French and Flemish high society rediscovered the good life after Robespierre’s Reign of Terror.

Pastry chef Frédéric Vaucamps initiated the revival of this French delicacy in the city of Lille. Nowadays, you can indulge in this French dessert in his Aux Merveilleux de Fred tearooms and stores around the world. We’d also recommend trying Fred’s French meringue and his cramiques, deliciously sweet Belgian brioches with raisons or chocolate. We’re lucky enough to have one of his shops in the city where we live and treat ourselves to one of these delectable treats every other weekend.


L'Escargot Montorgueil is the number one restaurant to try this French food in Paris

This iconic French appetizer or starter may still raise some eyebrows but it’s inextricably linked to French culture. Escargots are cooked snails, usually served with butter, garlic and parsley to complement and enrich the mild taste of the snail. Texture-wise, an escargot is rather chewy and slightly juicy. A typical dish consists of 6 to 8 snails and you can use the escargot fork to remove them from their shell. It’s the healthiest item in this list Paris food guide, rich in protein and low in fat.

A good place to try this traditional French food in Paris is L’Escargot Montorgueil, a true institution which has been serving this culinary treat for almost two centuries.

Ice cream

Two girls ordering ice cream in Paris

We love visiting Paris year-round but, because of school obligations, summer is the one season during which we plan our longest Paris itinerary. The ultimate refreshment on a hot summer day in the streets of Paris is a waffle cone topped with ice-cream.

Berthillon is the most famous ice cream manufacturer in Paris
Ice cream is the best summer food in Paris

Here are some of our favorite Paris ice cream stops:

  • France’s most legendary chef, Alain Ducasse, introduced his new ice cream concept in Paris earlier this year. We were lucky enough to find his charming ice cream trolley in the Jardin du Palais Royal right after we arrived. Two flavors were available, dark chocolate and a raspberry and red currant combo, and they were truly heavenly.
  • The most renowned ice cream house in Paris is Berthillon. It’s located on the Île Saint-Louis, right at the end of the waiting line. Oh yes, Berthillon ice cream is loved by Parisians and tourists alike. Just note that they close up shop every summer, in peak ice cream season, for several weeks. Luckily, Berthillon ice cream is available at dozens of outlets across the city. Make sure to try the pink grapefuit and cassis, both flavors are to die for.
  • While making our way from the Luxembourg Gardens to the Saint Sulpice church in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, the inviting parlor of Il Gelato del Marchese caught our eye. We had to check it out and were thrilled to find a panoply of gelato and sorbet flavors. The passion fruit and cassis were amazing, the mango not so much.

Oh and just so you know: French fries are not actually French

Steak frites, a steak with French fries, is often included in Paris food guides. This may come as a surprise but French fries are not actually French… They’re Belgian. And I’m not claiming this just because I’m Belgian but because it’s a simple fact.

So, no, the popular lunch food in Paris called steak frites doesn’t really qualify as Parisian food.

Paris food tours

If you’re looking to discover even more places to eat in Paris, then you could consider booking a food tour or cooking lesson. Just browse through the mouthwatering offers on Viator or Airbnb Experiences and pick your favorite.

Buying gourmet food in Paris

Jams and preserves are another classic Paris food

Looking forward to stocking up on Parisian delicacies (and other French specialties) before heading home? Paris is home to a number of gourmet food stores where you can find the most famous foods of France. From foie gras and caviar crisps to nougats and food preserves. Here are some famous Paris food stores:

  • La Grande Epicerie de Paris is the number one gourmet food store in Paris, offering a dazzling variety of French delicacies. (Au Bon Marché – 7th arrondissement)
  • Lafitte is the place to be for foie gras and offers a wonderful selection of gift boxes (Île Saint-Louis – 4th arrondissement)
  • La Fermette is your go-to cheese boutique but also offers a wide range of jams and chutneys to complete the apéro experience. Their vacuum-sealing service ensures that your purchases remain fresh, even after a plane ride. (Rue Montorgueil – 2nd arrondissement)
  • La Chambre aux Confitures is renowned for its jams, preserves and spreads. Some of their signature flavors include strawberry – basil and banana – passion fruit – ginger. They operate several boutiques in Paris.

That’s it for this Paris food guide. We bet you can’t wait to spoil your palates with the mouthwatering food of Paris. Have you had the chance to try one of these famous French foods yet? If not, which is the first one on your list when you make it to Paris? Feel free to let us in on your Paris food cravings in the comment box.

A pink box of macarons in Paris France
Macarons, cheese and wine are all you need for the perfect Paris picnic
Cheese, macarons and escargots are some of the famous French food in Paris
Some of the most must-try foods in Paris are onion soup and escargots

Affiliate links are sprinkled throughout the site content. Clicking on such a hyperlink and booking on the accommodation platform it refers to, may result in a commission for CosmopoliClan at no additional cost to you. As Amazon Associates, we also earn from qualifying purchases. For more information, visit the Disclaimer page.

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