Paris Food Guide 2022 | What to Eat in Paris, French Desserts, Famous French Drinks, Michelin-Star Restaurants in Paris & More!
Whether you're looking for a cozy neighborhood bistro or a triple-Michelin-starred temple to culinary arts, you'll find that every establishment takes pride in the elegant preparation and presentation of high-quality products, which are inevitably served with wine. Parisians are many things, but their love of food—especially social food—sets them apart. In Paris, food and wine serve as more than just fuel for the body; they also serve as a means of social interaction through the practice of gastronomic excess. Read on to find out the whats and wheres of food and drinks in Paris.
What to Eat in Paris?
One of the few occasions when eating while walking is permissible in Paris is when you bite off the end of a baguette as you leave a bakery. But really, is there anything finer than French bread that has just come out of the oven, especially when you can get it for around a euro?
Where to Eat: Maison Julien, L'Essentiel Mouffetard, Boulangerie Martyrs
Few people have the willpower to withstand the allure of a croissant. A plain croissant might be the most recognizable dish from France. Originally fashioned to represent the Ottoman flag ensign, a moon-shaped croissant today denotes that it is made with margarine and is required by law to have the ends tucked in.
Where to Eat: Stohrer, Du Pain et Des Idées, Tout Autour du Pain
The ultimate indulgence for sweet-toothed Parisians is macarons, the traditional French confection made of two brilliantly colored mini-meringues held together by a wonderfully gooey filling of buttercream, ganache, or jam. This popular cookie in France is often expensive due to the ingredients and preparation.
Where to Eat: Ladurée, Gérard Mulot, Pierre Hermé
French culture is incomplete without crêpes. The finest crêperies in Paris no longer limit themselves to selling a simple flat pancake dusted with sugar. Nowadays, they take great pleasure in adorning their delectable masterpieces with rose petal whipped cream or transforming them into bizarre modern works of art.
Where to Eat: Creperie Gigi, Lulu La Nantaise, Framboise Crêpes
This cake-like delight, which bears the name of the French patron saint of bakers and pastry cooks, will not let you down. It is hardly surprising that this dessert was given the name Saint Honoré as it contains puff pastry, caramelized sugar, whipped cream, and pâte à choux.
Where to Eat: La Pâtisserie des Rêves
Ispahan is a delicious macaron that melts in your mouth. The "Picasso of Patissiers," as he was nicknamed by Vogue, Pierre Hermé, invented the dessert Ispahan. At the youthful age of 14, Hermé started his baking profession, and he has since had a very successful one.
Where to Eat: Ladurée, Gérard Mulot, Pierre Hermé
This dessert is a traditional French dish that can be found in most patisseries around the nation. As you can see, the dessert closely resembles a snow-capped mountain. Mont Blanc is an English name that means "white mountain." The Mont Blanc is a delicious delicacy made with caramelized chestnuts and whipped cream.
Where to Eat: Le Mont Du Bonheur
Éclair literally means "flash of lightning" in French. Éclairs are frequently consumed so quickly that they disappear in a "flash," thus the name of this dish. A traditional éclair is usually topped with frosting and filled with custard that has either vanilla, coffee, or chocolate flavor.
Where to Eat: L’éclair de Genie
While wandering the streets of Paris, you may likely come across the wholesome and adaptable galette. The galette is produced using buckwheat flour instead of wheat flour, which gives it a richer and more savory flavor as well as a darker hue, in contrast to the classic sweet crêpe, which is made with wheat flour.
Where to Eat: Rue Mouffetard, La Petite Bretonne
The delectable Gaufre (or waffle), which originates from the nearby country of Belgium, is the perfect snack for both winter and summer. Additionally, while they can be topped with a variety of savory and sweet ingredients, Chantilly cream works best to balance off the rich pastry.
Where to Eat: La Gaufrerie, Street Crêpes Churros Gaufres
Bao burgers (also known as gua bao) are soft and fluffy steamed buns that are typically stuffed with slow-cooked, braised pork belly, pickled greens, powdered peanuts, and coriander. These delicious Asian treats, which are relatives of dumplings, first gained popularity in New York in 2009 before quickly spreading to Paris.
Where to Eat: Bao Shelter, Panda Panda, Siseng
One street snack dominates them all in Paris's well-known Marais district: the falafel. In fact, this Middle Eastern dish, which combines fried chickpea patties with veggies, hummus, and other ingredients in flatbread, is so delicious that it can unite vegetarians and meat eaters.
Where to Eat: L’As du Fallafel, Chez Marianne, MI-VA-MI
The grass that the Normandy cows eat is produced in an abundance of rain, soft sunlight, and humidity in Normandy, which is located at the northwest tip of France. The famous Normandy butter, cream, and fine cheeses Pont l'Évêque, Livarot, and Camembert are all made from the milk of these cows, resulting in their unique taste.
Where to Eat: Un Zebre a Montmartre
130 miles east of Paris, in the Brie region, cheesemaking has a long history. Brie's proximity to Paris, which allowed shipping the cheese to a sizable market simple and affordable, was a benefit to its early cheesemakers. At least half of the Brie de Meaux's thickness has ripened by the time it is matured and prepared.
Where to Eat: Le Comptoir de la Gastronomie
Along with Stilton and Gorgonzola, Roquefort is regarded as one of the top three blue cheeses in the world. The Roquefort cheese should melt on your tongue and leave a pleasant aftertaste of salt and mold. It has a strong, clear flavor. It is best consumed towards the end of a meal because it is a rich cheese.
Where to Eat: Au Général Lafayette
This mountain cheese comes from the Savoie region, which is on the eastern edge of France. It is known for being young, fresh, and soft. With velvety skin and an ivory interior, reblochon is an orange-yellow tint. An elegant nutty finish follows the crisp, clean fragrance.
Where to Eat: Fromagerie Androuet
Sweet bread known as brioche has a considerably fluffier and lighter texture than a baguette. There is one dish you might have already tasted with brioche, but it works fairly nicely for both breakfast and lunch. Brioche-based French toast is a delectable delicacy.
Where to Eat: Boulangerie Utopie
A Ficelle resembles a baguette somewhat, although they are not the same. Because of the Ficelle's reputation for elegance, eating a piece of this bread traditionally signals the start of an elegant meal. The Ficelle is far thinner than the Baguette, which is how they differ from one another.
Where to Eat: Le Grenier à Pain Abbesses Bodian
Faluche's fiber content won't be extremely high because it is comprised entirely of white components. In France, faluche is well-known as a breakfast dish. For a tasty breakfast treat, it goes great with some butter and jelly. Other French loaves of bread don't look quite like the Faluche.
Where to Eat: Carré Pain De Mie
Pain de Campagne
Like other sourdough loaves, this is often viewed as a circular loaf. You will need to carefully consider which meals to plan with this bread because it does have a slightly sour flavor. Even though there are better French bread options available, the Pain de Campagne is still a good choice for lunch and dinner.
Where to Eat: Le Grenier à Pain Abbesses Bodian
What to Drink in Paris?
Where to Eat in Paris
Chez Alain Miam Miam
You know you're onto something good when a market stand gains close to 50,000 social media followers and inspires a brick-and-mortar restaurant right around the block. One of the original street food sellers at the Marché des Enfants Rouges, Alain has a devoted following for his salad-stuffed galettes and sandwiches made with almost solely organic ingredients.
Best Dishes: Ham and cheese galette
Location: 26 Rue Charlot, 75003 Paris, France | Find on map
Timings: Wednesdays to Sundays 9 AM to 4 AM
Price for Two: €18
Marche des Enfants Rouges
This underground market, one of the most well-known in all of Paris, is situated in the third arrondissement. The market's name comes from the building's previous life as a 16th-century orphanage where the kids wore red clothing provided by Christian charities. This is the place to go if you enjoy both French food and other cuisines.
Best Dishes: Lebanese, African, Thai, and French cuisine
Location: 75003 Paris, France | Find on map
Price for Two: €50
Food Events & Festivals in Paris
Paris Food Culture
Since food in Paris is sacred, most of the ingredients are served fresh, and very unlikely to be processed. The cheeses available in fromageries are very different from the packaged mass-produced cheese available on the shelves in the refrigerated section of a supermarket, the meats that are served on the charcuterie platter are fresh. A multi-course meal for dinner might sound over the top, but because of the quality of ingredients used to prepare the meals, they remain healthy and wholesome.
Food is a Law
A testament to their love for food, it was illegal for workers in France to eat lunch at their desks. It’s considered a societal faux pas to schedule work meetings or calls during lunch hour, which can last up to two hours. It’s normal to see a workplace practically empty during lunch, and the cafés and restaurants lining the streets thriving during mealtime. Of course, this rule was rescinded during COVID-19 to ensure proper social distancing.
For the Parisians, food quality must be impeccable. And that means purchasing ingredients from the freshest and most trusted sources. Most areas in Paris have open-air food markets as often as twice a week, where chefs from the most accredited restaurants step out to oversee the sourcing of their produce. The markets cater to everything from meats and cheeses, to wines and breads. A lot of homes also have a dedicated veggie patch in the garden, where they grow their own vegetables for personal consumption.
Multiple Courses is the Norm
As exhibited above, a meal in Paris can span anywhere between one to two hours. This is primarily due to the fact that meals in Paris are usually a multi-course affair. Rarely do people sit down for a quick main course and head back to work. A proper meal would include an entrée (appetizer), main course, a cheese course, and dessert, which are almost always accompanied by a beverage of some sort.
Not all Food Joints are Restaurants
While a restaurant is the safest place for you to get an a-la-carté meal, food serving joints in Paris go by different names. You can really find what you’re looking for if you know where to go. A lot of us might classify a boulangerie and a patisserie under the umbrella of a bakery. However in Paris, the former is a place you go to when you’re looking for bread-based items such as croissants, bagels and baguettes. The latter would be for people with a sweet tooth, looking for eclairs, or macarons. If you’re lucky, you might end up at a joint that operates as both.
Strong Wine Culture
While a lot of us would frown upon the idea of consuming alcohol in the middle of a work day, it is quite natural to pair a glass of wine with lunch or dinner. Quite a few dishes in Paris also have wine as an ingredient. It is also customary to carry a bottle of wine along when you’re visiting a friend, and bottles of reds, whites and rosé are easily available at the local supermarkets.
Varied Cheese Options
Cheese is beloved in Paris, and has its own dedicated course in a meal. Usually served as a cheese platter with wine, or before the dessert course, an authentic Parisian meal would be incomplete without fromage. Fromageries line the streets of Paris, where you’ll find an array of cheeses from Brie to Camembert.
Beverages are Prominent
Wine is not the only beverage that Parisians enjoy. Meals are usually accompanied by Apéritifs, which are basically appetizers in alcoholic form, or Digestifs, which are consumed after the meal to aid in digestion. Digestifs range from cognac to liqueurs, and usually have high alcohol content.
Impeccable Table Etiquette
The Parisians put a lot of effort into what goes on the table, not just on the plate. You will see that tables are usually adorned with elaborate table settings, with specific cutlery for a specific course, and everything has a purpose. If you have two wine glasses as part of your table setting, know that one is for white wine, and the other for red wine. Table manners and dining etiquette are taken very seriously in Paris.
Top 6 Paris Food Habits
- Light to heavy: Breakfast in Paris is usually light, with a cafe au lait and a croissant or tartine. Lunch and dinner tend to be heavier meals. Meals are usually laden with meat, with servings of escargot, foie gras, bouillabaisse, and bisque as favourites.
- Slow eating: While not all of us have the luxury of two-hour meal breaks, the French tend to truly savor their meals. This practice not only allows for healthier social lives and digestive systems, but also allows them to avoid unnecessary snacking throughout the day. The waiters appreciate this as well, and usually won’t bring you the cheque until it is explicitly requested.
- Smaller portions: Ask any Parisian, and they’ll tell you that they prefer smaller portions of a full-fat meal, rather than larger portions of low-fat servings. Only recently did the French government legalize the practice of packing food leftovers, as people are usually accustomed to finishing what is served to them on a plate.
- Smoking: While not a food habit in itself, smoking during or after a meal is quite common in Paris. Legally, smoking is not allowed indoors in cafés and restaurants, however, the post-meal cigarette is a time-honoured Parisian favourite.
- Late dinners: While the rest of Europe sits down for dinner around 6pm, Parisians like their dinner later in the day. Restaurants mostly fill up after 9pm, when most people sit down for their last meal of the day.
- Tipping: Waiters and hosts in Paris are paid full wages, and get benefits as well. So tipping in Paris is not customary. However, if the guest finds the service to be exemplary, it wouldn’t be considered rude to show your appreciation through a tip.
Frequently Asked Questions About Paris Food
The best food in Paris includes croissants, creme brulees, galettes, and brioche.
You must try cognac and Chambord when in Paris.
The best local dishes in Paris includes macarons, ratatouille, and croque monsieur.
The best desserts in Paris are Le Saint-Honoré, Ispahan, and Mont Blanc.
The best luxury restaurants in Paris are Le Cinq at Four Seasons George V, Café de l’Homme, and Le Grand.
Some of the best street food in Paris are falafel, bao burgers, and gaufre.
The best restaurants in Paris are L‘Atelier Maître Albert, Brasserie Lazare Paris, and Le Ciel de Paris.
Some of the best bars in Paris are Septime La Cave, Le Mary Celeste, and Gravity Bar.
The best cafes in Paris are Télescope Café, Ten Belles, and Café Méricourt.
Paris is most famous for its croissants and macarons.
The best food in Paris can be found in Rue Cler, Montmartre, and Rue Saint-Antoine.
Some of the best budget restaurants in Paris are Bouillon Julien, Miznon, and Ground Control.
The best cheeses in Paris are Brie, Roquefort, and Reblochon.
A typical breakfast in Paris includes a croissant or tartine, cafe au lait, and some fruit.
Typical lunch in Paris includes a starter like a salad or soup, a main dish usually protein-based, and a cheese course or dessert.