If you have been to France, you know the French are passionate about food, wine, and dining but what exactly are you supposed to eat in Paris to have the full experience? You’ve probably heard about Crepes & Champagne, but there are a lot of other foods, drinks and other things you need to try in Paris. We’ve traveled to Paris, teamed up with our local team, and really hunkered down to compile this list of foods and drinks you simply have to try in Paris.
What This Article Covers
Top 16 Foods to try when you are in Paris
When you are traveling to a new destination half the fun is experimenting with new foods and drinks that you can’t get back home. Some of the below dishes you might know by name, others will be completely foreign to you. One thing is for sure: When you go to Paris and you try these, you will become a true Parisian. Here we go!
Also – if you’re in Paris and want to get a locals perspective, try our Le Marais Food Tour in Paris. A local Parisian will take a small group around
1. Soupe á l’oignon
This is especially good when it is cold outside and Paris is known for cooler weather. It can be quite heavy so be careful about ordering a big main course. It is prepared pretty much the same everywhere- onion soup in thick gruyere cheese melted on top and a piece of bread trapped in the mix.
There are many origin stories for this one, but one of the most accepted is King Louis XV came back to his hunting lodge and finding the cupboards practically empty with only onions, butter, and champagne- The rest is history.
Where to eat the best French Onion Soup in Paris:
- La Jacobine– Near Notre Dame
2. Langue De Boeuf
Beef Tongue | Starter | No fear
I can already see your contorted faces. I know this one is pretty out there and I was very hesitant the first time I tried, but it turned out to be not so bad. I feel like this depends a lot on how it’s prepared and who prepares it with it usually prepared as braised with jus on top or with vegetables.
If you try it in the above way mentioned, there is a chance that if you didn’t know what it was, you wouldn’t think it is tongue and be all grossed out. There are many people who love tongue, so if it doesn’t appeal to you, have a few drinks first.
Where to eat the best Langue de Boeuf in Paris:
- You will usually find this at most corner cafe’s as a special of the day, as many restaurants don’t have it as a constant on the menu
Chitterlings Sausage | Main Course
Not for the faint of heart as it’s made of chitterlings and often has a urine smell. Supposedly this type of sausage is a more recent invention since it appears not to be written about before the 19th century. It is usually prepared in wine with a side of steamed potatoes
As unpleasant as that sounds to the uninitiated, there is actually an association AAAAA, which basically means the Amicable Association of Andouillette and who are dedicated to this type of sausage, so it can’t be that bad…. can it?
Where to eat the best Andouillette in Paris:
- Brasserie Bofinger– Near Bastille
4. Os A Moelle
Bone Marrow | Main | Adventurous
If the idea of eating bone marrow makes your face contort, remember that back when humans first roamed the earth, cracking bones and eating bone marrow was a great source of fat and fat is the best part of pretty much every meal. So think of it as getting back to your more primal self. This is usually cooked in the oven with spices.
Full disclosure that I have indeed tried this, but it was not my favorite. Baked in the oven, it was served as you might think- with the bones where you dig in. You only live once!
Where to eat the best Os a Moelle in Paris:
- Os a Moelle– Yes the name of the restaurant is called Bone Marrow
5. Steak Tartare
Raw steak | Starter | Chic
This delicious dish is prepared raw of course with usually an egg, onions, and herbs on top. Many stories abound about the origin of this dish with the biggest being that this is how the Tartars ( relatives of Mongols) used to eat their meat packed under the saddle and trust me that a lot has changed since then.
Much closer to home seems to be the real story of serving this dish in Post world war II Paris called ” Steak á l’ Americaine” where you would take the raw beef, add an egg yolk, and some spices, and serve it. Yes, you can eat raw beef and yes it’s delicious. The French really excel in this area so it is definitely something to explore when you’re in Paris.
Where to eat the best Steak Tartare in Paris:
- La pie noir- No website 5 rue de la Montagne Ste Genevieve, 75005 Paris France/ +33 1 43 54 08 99
According to Pliny the Elder, in Ancient Roman times, snails were so esteemed as food that there were snail farms and one, in particular, would feed his snails wine and meat! If the Ancient Romans ate them, then you know they are for lovers of life.
Today they are usually served in a portion of 6 or 12. They are usually served Borgogne style- with garlic and parsley. Grab the baby fork they give you, reach in there, and eat some succulent snails! If you have had them outside of France and didn’t like the taste you should definitely give them another try in Paris. The Parisians really excel in this category so it is something delicious to try in Paris.
Where to eat the best Escargot:
- L’Escargot Montorgueil– Close to Les Halles
7. Cuisses De Grenouilles
Frog’s legs | Starter | Classic
Legend has it that in the 12th century, monks in modern France got around the no-meat fasts by indulging in eating frog’s legs which were considered fish at the time- Genius! The peasantry started following suit and the rest is history. The usual way they are prepared is fried so eat them fried and guess what… They taste like chicken.
Best place to eat frog’s legs in Paris:
- Roger la Grenouille– yes you translated the name of this restaurant correctly- Roger the Frog.
8. Foie Gras
Goose liver pate | Starter | Chic
This delicacy’s history goes all the way back to Ancient Egypt and similar texts trace it through Ancient Greece and Rome, so who are we to contradict the Ancients? A french perennial favorite, so if you want to skip the restaurant, go to any corner store that sells cheese and meats and grab a small jar.
It is already prepared, but you can find it with truffles as well for a special treat! If you happen to procure some toast and slather the foie gras on there and wash it down with a bottle of Sauternes you will thank me after.
Where to eat the best Foie Gras in Paris:
- Arnaud Nicolas– Near the Eiffel Tower
9. Les Huitres ( Pronounced Leh Weetre)
Supposedly the first shellfish dinner was discovered to have happened 164,000 years ago in what is modern South Africa. And people have been going non stop ever since! In their purest form, they are eaten with nothing, but some like to put on top tabasco or red wine vinegar with shallots or onion
I know what you are going to say.. ” I can eat oysters anywhere”. You are right, you can, but they will be better in Paris- You need to trust me on this one. Also, wash them down with a cold glass ( or two) of Champagne.
Where to eat the best oysters in Paris:
- L’huitrier– In the 8th arrondissement
10. Boeuf Bourguignon
As the name implies, this dish doesn’t have its origins in Paris, but has become a staple over time and one of the true French Classics. Imagine you are battling the wind and rain ( common occurrences in Paris) when you come inside a small restaurant and a steaming bowl of this special beef dish with glazed carrots and potatoes is just waiting for you.
Like many great dishes, this would have started out as classic peasant fare, but over time worked its way up even to the upper classes. The classic preparation takes two days to truly tenderize the beef. Braised in a full- bodied red Burgundy wine and served with carrots, potatoes and of course a glass of red wine, you are always in for a treat.
Where to eat the best Beouf Bourguignon in Paris:
- Au Bourguignon du Marais What better place to get this dish than a restaurant that has the dish in its name!
11. Confit de Canard
Duck Breast | Main | Classic
This delectable duck has its traditions going back centuries and specifically to the Gascony region of France. Back in the day before refrigerators it was important to find any way possible to preserve meat. This was done by rubbing the duck down with salt and herbs first and letting it marinate.
The classic way to prepare this dish is to rub it with salt, thyme, and garlic. You then place it in a deep dish where it is cooked super slow and the fat slowly drips away to create super tender meat that melts in your mouth. Serve it on top of potatoes and go to Food Heaven. While there are more and more different ways to prepare it, one thing is certain- you won’t regret eating it!
Where to eat the best Confit de Canard in Paris
Au pied du Fouet– Near the Eiffel Tower
12. Camembert and Brie Cheese
Dessert | A must
In many countries around the world, cheese is eaten before the main course as either a snack or together with an aperitif ( Before dinner drink). In France you can of course also eat cheese whenever you want, but usually cheese is dedicated to end of a meal as dessert.
While France has officially over 1500 types of cheese, Camembert and Brie might be two that you have heard of and are quite common. What’s the difference? There are of course many and while both are made from cow’s milk it is safe to say that Brie is milder and Camembert is much more intense as far as flavor and smell
Where to eat the best cheese plate in Paris:
- Le petit sommelier de Paris– Near Montparnasse
Bubbly | Whenever
I am not sure how to express this in words, but drinking champagne in Paris is just different. You even feel french when you drink it in this bustling town. And the great thing about it is that you can drink it at any time of the day. My personal recommendation is order a glass together with a dozen oysters- simply divine.
Like many amazing things, Champagne as a drink happened almost as an accident. The people from champagne looked on in envy as the wines of Burgundy were being prized for the top wines in France. Being high up in the north made it difficult to produce red wines and because the yeasts in the wine became too cold, they died off and reappeared in the spring creating a 2nd fermentation that brought bubbles. Eventually others caught on that this actually tastes delicious and the rest is history.
Where is the best place to drink Champagne:
Champagne Bar in the Eiffel Tower– Nothing fancy but what better way to view Paris than with a glass of this bubbly
Cookie |Dessert | Typical French
When you get to Paris for the first time, you will often notice as you window shop these colorful rows of circular sweets in the window. They are unlike any cookie you have ever eaten. Your first bite is unforgettable as your teeth break that paper thin crust and then delve into a chewy jam or ganache of a million flavors they have created over time.
Tradition has it that these sweet delicacies come from the Italian word Maccherone which was a type of dough. The legends abound that they were brought over by Catherine de’ Medici in the 16th century and that Louis XIV ate them at his wedding. While these stories are cool, the fact is that when in Paris, they are a must-try.
Where is the best place to get Macarons in Paris:
- La Durée– They have many boutiques around the city and they are supposedly the first to create the Macaron as we eat it today back in the late 19th century!
15. La Soufflé
Soufflé | Dessert | A-must
So let’s start with the name- Souffler in French means to Puff. If you have eaten this dessert than it makes complete sense to you. If you haven’t, then you are in for a true treat. While this dessert was insanely popular back in the 70’s it has seen a resurgence in certain circles in Paris.
The magic is when your spoon first digs into the airy pastry. There is a crunch on the outside and an airy cream on the inside. This is slow food at its pinnacle because you cannot pre-make it. As a result, when you order it, you will need to wait at least 15-20 minutes for it to cook in the oven. It is well worth regardless if you want it plain, au Chocolat or with grand Marnier- Try them all!
Where is the best place to eat Soufflé in Paris:
- Le Recamier– Near St Germain
16. Cognac or Armagnac
After dinner | chic
When you have decided to have a true Parisian feast it will include many different courses. This doesn’t only pertain to the food, but also to the drinks. Firstly you will indulge in an aperitif to open up your stomach before your meal. Secondly, you will drink some delicious wine with your meal itself. Finally, with a full stomach, you will need something to help digest everything and that is where Cognac or Armagnac comes into the picture.
They are both distilled from grapes and both end in ” gnac “. That is pretty much where the similarities end. They are made from different grapes, different parts of France, and different types of distillation, but the important thing in all this is to understand that they are both noble French brandies and should be tried and tasted.
Where is the best place to drink Cognac and Armagnac in Paris:
- Little Red Door– What better place to try a special French drink than in a French speakeasy?