What to try in Paris?
French cuisine is as iconic in Paris as the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre. But once you arrive in Paris, you are overwhelmed by the variety of French cuisine. We have prepared for you a list of must-try dishes while in Paris. You may not turn into a Parisian at once, but you will feel the spirit of Paris and learn more about its culture – definitely.
French bread is the first thing you should try when you come to Paris. The peculiarity of the French baguette is that it has a toasted crust, which distinguishes it from ordinary bread. In contrast to the high gastronomy of France, baguettes can be afforded by everyone – they are sold at every turn. Walk into any bakery in the morning (you’ll spot one by the smell of aromatic bread) and take a freshly baked baguette with you in an armful. We assure you, with a baguette in your hand, walking around Paris, you will not be distinguished from any of the locals.
Where to try: You can find French baguettes in any bakery, called boulangerie in French. By the way, if you want to visit the place where baguettes are baked for the president of France, we suggest a walk through Paris with a local.
How much is it: from 1 euro
Another French food that’s hard to imagine a trip to Paris without is croissants. The French eat them as often as baguettes, perhaps even more often. When you come to Paris, forget about continental breakfasts with lots of different dishes. A French breakfast looks like this – coffee and a croissant. Croissants with puff pastry and crispy crust are better to get in the morning, when they are still fresh and hot. In addition to the traditional creamy croissants, you should also try them with chocolate filling, cheese and ham.
French breakfast croissant and coffee.
Where to try: Like French baguettes, croissants can be found in one of the boulangerie (French bakery) or in supermarkets.
How much is it: from 1 euro
Moving on to lunchtime French delicacies. Onion soup is more than a meal as the French understand it. It is one of the main symbols of the country and locals believe that the recipe for onion soup was invented by King Louis XIV. For those who are not familiar with this dish, it may seem strange that the French are so fond of onion soup. But in fact onion soup consists not only of onions, but also meat and grilled cheese. All this is baked in the oven and served with croutons or baguette. Each restaurant prepares onion soup according to their own recipes, so you will never taste the same soup in different places.
The national pride of France is onion soup.
Where to try it: Onion soup can be found on the menu of almost any French restaurant. Many people also advise to try it in the market Muftar.
How much does it cost: Depends on the establishment, but the minimum price is from 4 euros.
If in the old days oysters were considered food for the poor, but now it is a sophisticated dish, which is usually served with champagne in the most expensive restaurants. In the south of France, oysters are eaten as often as croissants for breakfast in Paris. However, even in Paris you can easily find fresh oysters in any restaurant. They are usually served 4, 6 or 12 at a time and accompanied by white wine or champagne.
Oysters from the Atlantic coast.
Where to try: You can get oysters to go at one of the local markets, then you get a budget. Also oysters are served in many expensive restaurants in Paris. Going on a gastronomic tour of Paris with a local, you can learn all the secrets of French cuisine and know the best places to try oysters.
How much does it cost: 4 large oysters take away – from 6 euros.
Often, when mentioning French cuisine, many people think of snails. But this is more of a myth than the truth. The French do not often eat snails, although in many tourist restaurants or local markets you can find them on the menu. Most often in restaurants in Paris you will find the classic French-style snails – escargots. They are served with a popular green cream sauce of garlic, parsley, butter and wine. Usually there are about 6 snails in one serving, but sometimes they can bring a huge plate with 18 snails. Often, the snails are served with French fries or bread.
Where to try: You can find snails in most restaurants where seafood is on the menu.
How much: A small portion of snails – from 7 euro.
C roque-monsieur and Croque-madame
Back to bread, the main ingredient of all French cuisine. For brunch or lunch, the French sometimes prefer to eat the traditional hot sandwiches – Croque-monsieur and Croque-madame, which translates as “Monsieur et Madame crunch”. These are fried sandwiches with cheese and ham covered with egg yolk. This kind of French fast food appeared in the country back in the early 20th century and is still relevant in the daily lives of busy French people.
Where to try: In supermarkets you can buy vacuum packed sandwiches to take with you on the road, or for example in coffee shops, where they will also heat them up. Maybe go to a French bistro where you can get hot sandwiches with green salad.
How much is it: In restaurants it may cost about 17 euros, in the supermarket from 5 euros
F ou gras.
You can’t be in Paris without tasting the famous French delicacy, foie gras, at least once. Foie gras translates from French as “fatty liver”. Since ancient times the best fatted geese have been selected for making this liver, and the result is a pate with an exorbitant percentage of fat content. But it is as popular with Parisians on the holiday table as red caviar on New Year’s Eve in Russia. In restaurants, foie gras is most often served as an initial appetizer along with a slice of fresh bread.
The holiday delicacy is foie gras.
Where to try: You can find a foie gras dish in any French restaurant. There are some budget restaurants that also serve this dish, such as the restaurant Le Bouillon Chartier. As a souvenir you can buy foie gras at the old grocery store Hédiard.
How much: In a restaurant, a dish of foie gras will cost you 30 euros, if you buy the pâté in a supermarket, about 20 euros.
To the rem brulee.
At the end of our gastronomic review, we will limit ourselves to one dessert, but what a dessert! The famous dessert, which originated in the 17th century, became popular because of its hot caramel crust. In some restaurants they make a real show of cooking the dessert and caramelize it in front of you with open flames. Underneath the thin layer of caramel is a delicate custard based on egg yolks and cream.
French crème brûlée dessert.
Where to try: Crème brûlée can be found in any French café or bistro. If you’ve seen the most French movie in the world – “Amelie”, then you should know that the best crème brûlée can be found only in Montmartre. And at the same time you can arrange a walk through the neighborhood itself in the company of a local .
10 French dishes worth tasting in Paris
French cuisine has long been recognized as “haute cuisine.” Each of the 22 provinces has its own take on food and table service. The large French menu includes dishes that can be called a kind of calling card of the country.
To satisfy your gastronomic interest, there are numerous restaurants and cafes in Paris. If you want to have a special experience of French cuisine, you are welcome to our tastings.
Every year in Provence a special procession in honor of snails is held at Christmas. The most famous French dish made with them is Escargot a la bourguignonne. Translated into Russian, this means a snail cooked bourguignon-style.
The dish is quite simple. The grape snail is baked in its house together with a special kind of butter and spicy herbs. Such food in France believers are allowed to eat even in the strictest of Lent. The reason for this is that snails are neither fish nor meat. They are grown in special “snail gardens”. Snails can be served by 6 or 12 pieces. Depending on this, the price can be from 6 to 20 euros per dish.
Our advice: if you are invited to dinner at a restaurant, and you do not know how to eat snails properly, it is better not to take risks with it. Not every Frenchman will be able to elegantly eat this delicacy.
Seafood: oysters and mussels
Deciding to try Parisian fast food, you should pay attention to Moules Marinières – “Moules marinières”. It is a dish made of mussels and onions. It is prepared with the addition of white wine, butter, garlic and herbs. This quick dish is considered a real delicacy in many countries. You can try “Moules marinières” with different sauces in the restaurant chain “Leon”.
The mussels season runs from September to April. At this time they are usually served in restaurants. In addition to the original recipe, mussels can be cooked with different cheeses or herbs at the chef’s discretion. A large pot of mussels will cost about 12-16 euros.
Of course, we can’t miss oysters, too, if we’re already talking about seafood. Fresh delicacies from the Atlantic coast of France are usually put on the restaurant counter to show: “We serve them here”. Oysters can (French for les huitres) are usually served in 4, 6 or 12 pieces.
Squeeze a slice of lemon directly into the sink; if the oyster twitches, it means it is alive and the product is fresh. Oysters are usually eaten with a glass of Chablis white wine. On average, a serving of this delicacy costs 10 to 20 euros.
Foie gras is foie gras. A famous French delicacy. It is cooked from the fatty liver of goose or duck. It is obtained from the bird, fattened by a special method, which in many countries is not considered quite humane. But it’s hard to imagine a holiday table of Parisians without this pink-marble delicacy. The price of foie gras starts at about 8 euros per serving.
In addition to the classic goose liver, try the other pâtés (Pâté). This is a very tasty and popular snack (entree). It’s a cross between a meat pâté, a meatloaf and a homemade sausage. You can order it now in almost any restaurant and bistro in Paris. Tender pâté is prepared from poultry meat and liver with the addition of spices, wine or cognac. There are also original paté with bacon, mushrooms or even cranberries.
Dishes with truffles
Nothing says it better about the refined, aristocratic taste of the French than truffles. Restaurateurs buy these underground mushrooms at auctions to prepare their gourmet dishes. The record price for truffles was set in 2010. One gram of dried truffles was sold for $17 at the time.
To try dishes prepared with these amazing mushrooms in Paris, you can in the restaurant La Maison de la Truffe. Located near the Tuileries Park. Facility’s menu consists of dishes, an obligatory ingredient of each of which is truffles. They do not cost a lot, but a large enough circle of guests of Paris can afford to try lasagne with truffles (lasagnes à la truffe).
Steak – the classic Parisian dish
Such dish as steak frites is very popular among the residents and guests of the capital of France. This is a classic steak with fries. It is prepared in many popular and affordable restaurants in Paris, including Le Relais de l’Entrecote. French chefs know how to turn this fairly simple dish into a real masterpiece. The price for a single steak in ordinary French restaurants ranges from 12 to 25 euros.
Being in Paris, it is impossible not to try the duck, cooked according to local recipes. One of the amazingly delicious dishes, the main ingredient of which is the breast of this bird, Magret de canard aux pruneaux confits et pommes Lyonnaise. This is duck with prunes and candied apples. The meat can have different degrees of frying. A special sweet and sour sauce is always served with the dish.
Coffee and desserts
The French are big fans of coffee. Many recipes contain what do you think? Salt. This drink should be tried with the popular in this country dessert profiteroles (profiteroles). It is a delicate pastry filled with vanilla cream and ice cream.
Strawberry tarte aux fraises (tarte aux fraises) is no less delicious than profiteroles. Paris is also rich in bakeries and French cuisine is renowned for its desserts. Try as many as you like.
The minimum price for a coffee is 1 euro, but usually 2 or more. Croissant costs about 1 euro, desserts from 6-8 euro.
Roasted chestnuts beckon with a special aroma. At the end of October when walking around the city you will find a lot of street vendors selling this delicacy. Chestnuts can be an ingredient in full meals. They are used to make risotto, shrimp, asparagus salad, chocolate mousse, scallops and more.
We shouldn’t forget about salads. A French salad (salade) is not an appetizer, but a real big dish that you will be full of. On average, one salad costs about 15 euros. The best known are Salade Lyonnaise (salade Lyonnaise with croutons, smoked bacon and egg) and Salade Nicoise (with tomatoes, bell peppers, other vegetables and tuna).
Cheeses and wine
Cooking in France is a true art. Every dish can leave a lasting impression. Local chefs are able to create real masterpieces even from foods that do not seem to be combined at first glance. But an impression of French cuisine would be incomplete without tasting the local cheeses and wines which are traditionally popular among the inhabitants of the country.
La soupe à l’oignon is the name of the famous onion soup. This dish for the French is more than just a meal. It is believed that the recipe was invented by Louis XIV himself. It is prepared from sweet varieties of white onions, a couple of heads of garlic and lean meat broth. Local butter and white wine give it a unique flavor. It is eaten with croutons or baguette.
You can try onion soup in the Parisian restaurant “Le Grand Vefour”. Its menu also includes Victor Hugo’s favorite bean soup. The institution is interesting not only for its first courses, but also for its history. Lunch at the restaurant can take place at the table of Napoleon and Josephine, who loved to visit this institution. In principle, onion soup is served in most French restaurants, but is considered an evening and “winter” dish. The average price of onion soup in Paris is about 9-10 euros.
If you’re a big fan of soup, check out these dishes as well:
Vichyssoise soup (vichyssoise). This exquisite soup is cooked in chicken broth, in which potatoes and several different varieties of onions are stewed. At the end everything is pureed and cream is added and-and… served cold! This soup is said to be very good on summer days. Also added to the soup are croutons and shrimp salad with fennel.
Pumpkin soup (la soupe à la citrouille) is another popular French puree soup, but it is usually made in the fall and winter (after the harvest). The main ingredients are pumpkin, spices, vegetables and cream. Chestnuts may also be added to the soup.
Bouillabaisse. Homeland of this fish soup is Marseille, where it is prepared in every restaurant. The main ingredients of the soup are broth from several kinds of fish, fried or stewed vegetables, spices (saffron and badian). The soup is accompanied by toast or croutons with garlic sauce “rouille”. Bouillabaisse used to be an inexpensive soup of Marseille fishermen. It was made from fish that couldn’t be sold during the day. Nowadays, shrimp, mussels, lobster and other seafood are also added to the original Marseille soup. So depending on the ingredients, a portion of bouillabaisse can cost from 10 to 200 euros.
Cheese soup (soupe au fromage). This dish is famous even outside of France. It is very simple to prepare: you add vegetables and cheese (firm or melted) to the chicken broth. In addition, sometimes seafood, poultry, meatballs and white wine are added to cheese soups. It’s inexpensive, only 6-7 euros, and delicious!
In France they also like to make rich broths, French “consommé”, bread soup “panade”, melon soup “potage de melon”, tomato soup. If you order vegetable soup, you get something like Italian minestrone.
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Ratatouille came to French cuisine from the south of France from the Provence and Languedoc regions. From the ancient Occitan dialect, the name of the dish means “to stir and stew.”
For a very long time, ratatouille was not recognized as a dish of high French cuisine, because it was cooked in almost every French family. Eggplant, peppers, zucchini, and tomatoes grew in abundance in France, and so this dish became very popular.
The classic recipe was invented by a chef from Nice only in the 19th century, who called the dish “ratatouille nicoise”. Since then, ratatouille has been prepared with a set of vegetables and spices: eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, onions, garlic, sweet pepper, black pepper, thyme, parsley, basil and a little olive oil.
This dish will be appreciated by those who eat right and low-calorie food, vegetarians and people keeping fasts.
For those who like to have a hearty lunch, we recommend Boeuf Bourguignon. It’s easy to guess that this dish came to the French cuisine from the Burgundy region. Now it is prepared in almost every French restaurant, including Paris.
So how is boeuf bourguignon prepared? The beef is stewed for a long time in the meat broth with a little red wine, then added carrot, spices, onion and garlic, mushrooms and bacon. The meat turns out very tender and soft, just melts in your mouth!
Well, if you want to try frogs (which most French people have never seen), then here is a selection of addresses where you can find such dishes.