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Must-Have French Food in Paris

I'm taking my first trip to Europe next month. I'm excited to try the food in France. What are some certain dishes that I absolutely MUST try while in Paris?

Posted by
18228 posts

I had Bœuf au Poivre (steak with black pepper sauce) in Paris. Delicious with a pile of hot crisp Pomme Fritz.

Posted by
11450 posts

I love moules and frites ( mussels and fries) ,, if you haven't tried mussels before now is the time, they are not strong flavored and not as stringy or tough as clams( I actally don't like clams much at all)They are a very common dish( and almost every dish in casual eateries comes with frites, fries, but they are much better then what you get at a fast food joint here) One of the things you really need to try is ordering a cheese plate or two,, I don't know how to say it, but cheese is something like wine, its something every french person grows up eating,, and there are so many varieties,, from the mildest creamy ones to stronger and more odourous ones( yum), some are firm, some are runny, some are dry and crumbly, some are oozing and luscious.. mm,, can you tell I like cheese,, kids there do not grow up on plastic cheese slices..

Posted by
3313 posts

See if you can find a copy of Lonely Planet's "World Food France." There are used copies available on Amazon. A terrific introduction to the the many cuisines of France and how they assemble in Paris.

Posted by
565 posts

Salade de chevre chaud. Croque madame. Crepes of any flavor in the Montparnasse neighborhood, away from the touristy sights. Cafe gourmand. Felafel with roasted eggplant in the Marais. I'm hungry now. Thanks a lot :) Emily

Posted by
873 posts

Fresh bread, whether it's in the form of a croissant or flute or something else. Just find a bakery and buy what looks good; it'll all be fresh. Also? Macarons from Laduree. Heavenly bite-sized bits of yum!

Posted by
8265 posts

Onion soup at Le Pied de Cochon restaurant in Les Halles.

Posted by
893 posts

Can't believe no one has said street-vendor crepe. They're all over the place. Make sure you get one that's being made fresh and not one where they've pre-made them and just heat them up and add a filling.

Posted by
1253 posts

Any flavor of Sorbet. There was an ice cream shop on the Ille St Louie(sp?) that had the best Lemon Sorbet. I also agree about the bread.

Posted by
4674 posts

Pierre Herme macarons are better than Laduree's now...

Posted by
4529 posts

Boeuf Burgougne Street crepes - I prefer Nutella Escargot Almost any pastry (go into a patissierie and order something that looks good - you can just eat it to go) Baguette (buy one fresh from a bakery and eat it as a snack or with some fresh bought cheese) Croque Monsieur
Coq au vin Those are on my list. But the main thing is to try things and experience great French food. Remember that in the US, French food is "high class" but in France, most restaurants offering the same fare are casual, everyday kinds of places. You can read a restaurant's menu from the sidewalk and pick a place with foods you want to have or try. Or if you see someone eating something, politely ask them what it is. The French love their food and will not be shy about talking with you about it if you are polite.

Posted by
11450 posts

oh yes, crepes,, a fresh poured crepe with ham and cheese,, in fact that is one thing I know I will have within hours of arriving!

Posted by
3580 posts

I love the individual quiches sold at that great bakery on rue Cler. There is a variety to choose from, and there are tables outside, in warmer weather, where you can eat.

Posted by
1284 posts

I always have duck in France as it is often on French menus, something I rarely have at home. I'll echo what others have said about bread, croissants, and pastries. I also love a good French omelette.

Posted by
1014 posts

As said before, French bread and pastries from bakeries. I always try to get some creme brule somewhere. I just love its crunch top and creamy insides. Goes great with a cafe'.

Posted by
31435 posts

Rachelle, If you're "adventurous", you might try Escargot or Steak Tartare. Have a look at Rick's experience with a Parisian lunch on This Video. Bonne Voyage!

Posted by
11 posts

salade landaise, canard (duck), foie gras, et fromages!

Posted by
11450 posts

That place in Paris is called Berthillions,, quite renown! The Cassis( black current) is very good, but, I actually prefer the gelato from a place called Amorinos,, they do the cones in a shape of a rose,, petals, its amazing. There are several locations , I know of one on the same road of the Pantheon.
Berthillions is has many locations too, one on Champs Elysees also, plus many restaurants and cafes feature their product , often with a sign saying so!

Posted by
23 posts

Confit de Canard - Duck, cooked in it's fat w/ Frites - Sublime! I can't go to Paris without having Duck, or Foie Gras for that matter! Un Baguette - Fresh bread from a boulangerie - hopefully early in the morning with some butter, maybe some cheese. Escargot is for a regular dinner - but it's really the butter/garlic/parsley you want to dip fresh bread into - yes, the snails are delicious, but the drippings, when dredged by proper french bread is better. Macaroons at La Duree are nice, but they're just little tiny pastries (although delicious) - I was more impressed with the giant pitcher of Chocolat Chaud they placed on our table - it was enough for 4 - it's like chocolate pudding mix before you refrigerate it - decadent......... Steak-Frites at a reputable location, like Robert et Louise..... otherwise, the French really don't do justice to a steak like Americans have grown accustomed to - let alone "midwestern beef", which is the best I've ever had aside from Kobe beef.......... Chocolate Mousse at Chez Janou....... lovely, fluffy, chocolaty goodness - good-natured Parisians surrounding you...........

Posted by
11450 posts

What Jeff says it true about French steaks, unless you can afford the best cuts( which is not what you will get if you order steak and frites at a cafe etc) then avoid beef. We north americans defianetly have better beef, at more reasonable prices. When in France try more pork, duck, rabbit, seafood and chicken dishes,, actually the chicken is particularily tasty..

Posted by
8193 posts

Amorino gelato is great, as Pat mentioned. Love Berthillon's raspberry sorbet, it's unbelievable. From a patisserie I love pain au chocolat, flan nature (custard in a pie shell) and chocolate eclairs. For a sandwich my favorite is baguette with sweet butter and camembert.

Posted by
283 posts

I agree with it all. My off the plane food is a jambon/beurre sandwich available just about everywhere. Rick says it is boring, but great ham and wonderful French butter on a beautiful French roll. Oh, la, la! Check out the blog of David Lebovitz. He was a chef at Chez Panisse (Alice Waters) and now lives in Paris. He writes great blogs about living in France and the real emphasis is food. He has several links to his favorite places to eat, where to get what, etc. http://www.davidlebovitz.com/

Posted by
251 posts

Croissants spun out of butter and air, pain au chcolat, fois gras and bouef tartare. Yum.

Posted by
709 posts

Fresh Bread, still warm... Escargot... spectacular! Fois Gras! Oh, man... Tartare de Bouef. Not for everyone, but if you're adventureous, this is the ticket. Get it with a raw egg on top and you're in heaven! Pat said it best: the Cheese Plate. Couldn't have said it better myself. and of course: thick, rich, almost spoonable chocolate chaud (Parisien Hot Chocolate). This stuff is so good my 18mo daughter has a t shirt with a cup of it on it and she knows what it is. "Chaud! Chaud! Chaud!" She's brainwashed before 2...

Posted by
126 posts

Someone mentioned "falafel" - and I agree - try one at L'as du Falafel 32 Rue des Rosiers, to get the real stuff. They claim they serve the best falafel in the world... I have been there, and the food is amazing. Locals lining up (and very few tourists) at the front of the store may be indicative of their popularity... You can get your food to go - or you can sit down and have a leisurely meal. The food is incredibly fresh, authentic, and delicious. They serve much more than falafels. And... Just a few steps away... try: Sacha Finkelsztajn 27 Rue des Rosiers
Delicious Yiddish baked goods. Also, agree with the "salad au chevre chaud" suggestion. Simple lunch with wild greens and warm (oven baked) goat cheese on top of toast squares. We always have great little things to eat at patisseries and bakeries. If you're ever in the 7th arr - try stopping by at the "Bon Marché." You can get a wonderful assortment of picnic items: cheeses, meats, olives, breads, fruits, wines, etc.

Posted by
335 posts

Bread - absolutely! Steak/frite at L'Relais d'Entrocote in the 6th (I want some right now!) Macarons - at Laduree or Gerard Mulot Salads - they're huge and wonderful Cheese plates And don't eat in restaurants with menus posted in English - they cater to tourists.
Enjoy!

Posted by
809 posts

give me a croque madame and a nice salad and a cheese plate (I found ordering a cheese plate for my picky kid was a life saver and it taught him to love french cheese.

Posted by
14776 posts

Okay, maybe it's because there's a felafel stand on almost every corner here, but I just can't see being in FRANCE and eating felafel, especially not standing in line with 40-50 people ahead of you (yeah, I counted last time, but it was Saturday night). French food (even for a vegetarian) is so much better. Hot chocolate "a la ancienne" at Angelina's - and their pastries are amazing too. France has the best dark chocolate in the world. If you want to know more (including tasting), take the Paris Walks chocolate tour. And I agree, bakery products - no matter which I choose, I've never yet been disappointed.

Posted by
35 posts

Wonderful question. I'm getting hungry just reading the answers. Thanks!

Posted by
335 posts

OMG! I forgot hot chocolate! My fave is at Angelina's but be sure to also order a pitcher of hot milk to "cut" the VERY rich,thick hot chocolate. And if you go at an "off" hour, it's not crowded.