French cuisine is arguably the most admired in the world, making any trip to Paris a prime opportunity to enjoy some of the country’s most popular dishes. Whether it’s gooey macarons or classic crepes, here’s our list of the French capital’s must-eats. Bon appetit!
Café au Lait and Croissant: Start your day with a café au lait and croissant at a café-bar. Made with equal parts coffee and scalded milk, the reviving coffee teamed with a buttery croissant is the Parisian breakfast.
French Cheeses: The city is packed with upscale fromageries selling their picks of France’s hundreds of cheeses, from classics to artisanal, sometimes out-there creations. Topping the list are varieties such as Camembert (delicious on fresh baguettes), creamy Brie, blue-veined Roquefort, and nutty-tasting Comté.
Crepes: Parisians can’t get enough of these pancakes, which originate from Brittany—eating them as mains, desserts, and street snacks and dedicating entire restaurants to them. Top crêperies can be found in the Marais, Montparnasse, and Montmartre districts, where diners enjoy buckwheat savory versions known as galettes before gorging on dessert crepes slathered in salted caramel, chocolate, and fruit sauces.
Beef Bourguignonne: This signature Parisian dish is still a big favorite. A rich beef stew braised in red wine with onions, carrots, and garlic, it’s simmered for hours to make it melt-in-your-mouth tender.
Cassoulet: Another old-school staple, cassoulet features on almost every bistro menu from the Latin Quarter to Montmartre. Don’t miss a bowl of this voluptuous, slow-cooked mash-up of preserved duck, white beans, sausage, and vegetables—a warming filler that seems especially perfect in winter.
Macarons and Pastries: No trip to Paris is complete without indulging in France’s multihued mini-meringues and sweet pastries. The much-loved macarons feature crunchy-yet-gooey tops and bases filled with buttercream, ganache, or jam. Enjoy them as desserts or buy boxes of them, perhaps with other treats such as fruit tarts and eclairs, from patisseries.
Crème Brûlée: This classic dessert is a must-try in Paris, where it’s created and treated with reverence. One of its joys is cracking into the caramelized sugar shell to reveal the decadently rich custard beneath—usually vanilla-laced, but often offered in different flavors.
Escargots: Don’t forget to sample what is one of France’s oldest and best-known dishes—even if you have to summon your culinary courage to do so. A plateful of snails swimming in delectable garlic butter is far tastier than it sounds.