The Ultimate Paris Food Guideby Akshayaa RaniM, 08 August 2023
If you’re ready for a gluttony adventure, you’ve come to the right place. This Paris food guide is the ultimate map you need to navigate the gastronomic food map in the French capital.
There’s more to the food scene in Paris than the classics like croissants, escargots, and boeuf bourguignon. And, this guide will help you discover them!
We’ve got a lot to cover, so without further ado, get ready to embark on a mouthwatering adventure in one of the culinary capitals of the world. Let this Paris food guide be your compass as you navigate the city’s gastronomic pleasures to plan an event menu that will leave your attendees wanting more! Bon appétit!
The Start to Event Catering in Paris: Breakfast
We’ll begin our culinary adventure with the most important meal of the day: breakfast. Even if you’re used to skipping the first meal of the day, the food in Paris will make it hard for you to say no.
After all, you’re in the city of croissants and cafe au lait. Breakfast here is a celebration of flavours, aromas, and the joie de vivre that defines the Parisian way of life.
Start your day off right with the quintessential French breakfast staple: the flaky, buttery croissant. These golden pastries are a true work of art, boasting a crispy exterior and a light, airy interior that practically melts in your mouth. You can enjoy your croissant with a dollop of jam, or enjoy it as the locals do with a side of coffee.
And speaking of coffee, that’s something Parisians take seriously. Whether you opt for a bold espresso or a classic cafe au lait, the coffee in Paris will not leave you disappointed. Locals enjoy a cup of coffee for breakfast. But, with coffee this good, we think you might enjoy it any time of the day!
And it doesn’t have to be all play and no work in Paris either, there are several cafes in Paris where you can work from as well when you sample your coffee!
Of course, your breakfast doesn’t always have to be light. Explore the world of boulangeries and patisseries for heartier options such as the pain au chocolate, a buttery pastry filled with luscious chocolate, or pick the pain aux raisins, a delicate swirl of sweet dough studded with plump raisins.
If you prefer something savoury, fret not! Paris has plenty of that to offer you as well. Indulge in a classic croque-monsieur, a heavenly combination of ham, cheese, and bechamel sauce sandwiched between slices of toasted, crusty bread.
There’s also tartines, a simple yet satisfying open-faced sandwich topped with creamy butter, homemade jams, or savoury spreads such as pâté or smoked salmon. Sounds delicious, doesn’t it?
But that’s not all. Breakfast in Paris is incomplete without a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice or a refreshing bowl of seasonal fruits.
Sweet, savoury, and even healthy, Paris has proven to be a myriad of flavours with just the first meal of the day. We can’t wait for you to explore the rest of the culinary treats the city has to offer!
A Break From Fine Dining: Street Food in Paris
Yes, we know that Paris is all about fine dining, but did you know that French food also has a vibrant street food scene? From charming market stalls to food trucks, street food in Paris is an experience in itself.
So, what should you eat? We understand that it can be easy to get confused with the array of delights on offer, so we’ve picked out some must-try food that you can taste (or even add to your event catering menu!)
Let’s begin with a beloved French street food classic, the iconic, paper-thin crepe. This French version of the pancake uses a similar batter but uses a hot griddle and wooden spreader to create a thin crepe. The batter itself is almost tasteless which means you can enjoy it as both a sweet and savoury version.
Some popular savoury crepes are filled with ham, cheese, and mushrooms while their sweet counterparts often have fresh fruits, Nutella, and powdered sugar. To keep up with the competition, street food vendors in Paris have been creative with their crepe fillings and you’ll find everything from these classics to other off-beat options such as banana and peanut butter.
Another popular French street food is the croque-monsieur. Now, while the ingredient list might have you thinking this is just a ham and cheese sandwich, that couldn’t be further from the truth (or taste!) This indulgent delight has layers of smoky ham and creamy melted cheese sandwiched between layers of crusty bread that are toasted to perfection. Yummy!
Speaking of bread, we can’t talk about street food in Paris and miss mentioning the baguette. Crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside, the long loaves of bread are a popular sight on the streets of Paris, with different vendors offering a variety of fillings.
From traditional combinations like jambon-beurre (ham and butter) to creative variations featuring gourmet ingredients, the baguette is a sandwich experience you can’t miss.
If you’d like a break from French food, you’ll be happy to know that street food in Paris also has some international options with a French twist. For example, the Vietnamese banh mi uses the baguette to create a French version of the sandwich with healthy fillings of marinated grilled, pickled vegetables, and sauces.
- Bonus Advice: Several food trucks serve everything from burgers and pastries to artisanal ice creams. Want to learn more about street food in Paris? Check out these top food trucks in Paris.
Eat Like a Parisian: French Local Cuisine
If you thought the street food in Paris is good, wait till we take you through the main courses you have to eat in Paris.
One dish that’s uniquely French and probably not for the faint-hearted is escargot.While snails may not be everyone’s cup of tea, most people who have tried this dish that features tender snails marinated in flavourful garlic and herb butter often go in for seconds. Some say it tastes like chicken, we wouldn’t disagree. But, it’s definitely a must-try at least once, especially when it’s accompanied by crusty bread!
Another French classic is boeuf bourguignon, a hearty main course that originates from the Burgundy region this dish is a slow-cooked beef stew marinated in red wine (usually Burgundy wine) that is steeped with caramelised onions, mushrooms, and aromatic herbs. It’s rich and flavourful and it's a comfort food that Parisians swear by.
Another exquisite French food is confit de canard, a dish that is a speciality from the southwest of France. The highlight of this meal is a duck leg that has been salted and slow-cooked in its own fat until it’s tender and succulent. Confit de canard is usually served with a side of golden roasted potatoes that are the perfect accompaniment to the melt-in-your-mouth duck.
As for you seafood enthusiasts, no discussion of French local cuisine would be complete without mentioning moules marinières (although you don’t have to love seafood to enjoy this dish, we promise). This comforting dish consists of plump mussels cooked in a fragrant broth of white wine, garlic, shallots, and herbs. It’s often served with crusty bread for dipping and a glass of chilled white wine.
Of course, if all these foods are a little too exquisite for your taste, you can’t go wrong with steak frites.This dish is exactly what it sounds like- steak and fries but with a French twist of course. The perfectly grilled steak is accompanied by a choice of sauces such as béarnaise or peppercorn. It’s served with a generous portion of crispy French fries.
And finally, we’re going to wind up some of the best of French local cuisine with another favourite, Sole Meunière.This classic French dish features a delicate sole fish cooked in a buttery lemon and caper sauce for a unique flavour. That’s not all, this fish is also lightly pan-fried to achieve a crispy exterior and a tender and flaky texture that complements the sauce.
A French Delight: Viennoiserie Paris
We can’t possibly write a Paris food guide without mentioning the famed Viennoiseries. The traditional baked pastries are truly a slice of heaven and a testament to the world-renowned artistry of French baking.
It’s hard to pick just a few favourites from the many treats you’ll find at any boulangerie in Paris but we’ve tried our best to do justice by picking a few of the best!
Let’s begin with the irresistible pain aux amandes,a golden-brown pastry filled with almond cream that’s an indulgence in every bite. But, almonds are not the only nut that is the star of French baking, another pastry to eat in Paris is the heavenlypistachio pain au chocolat, which brings together the richness of chocolate with the richness of a pistachio cream filling that’s tucked into a buttery, flaky pastry.
If nuts don’t quite strike your fancy, treat yourself to something fruity such as the chausson aux pommes, a crescent-shaped pastry that’s filled with a delectable blend of tender, spiced apples creating a harmonious balance of sweet and tart flavours.
And let’s not forget the fluffy brioche, with its rich, buttery taste and delicate crumb. It can be enjoyed on its own and tastes best when it's fresh out of the oven.
If you can’t choose between a croissant and a brioche, get the best of both worlds with the brioche feuilletée.It has the flakey layers of the croissant and the rich, tender crumb of the brioche. The brioche feuilletée tastes amazing on its own, but you can also find options with a variety of sweet and savoury fillings such as vanilla or chocolate cream and ham and cheese.
Another brioche that you must eat in Paris is the brioche Nanterrewhich has a distinctive rectangular shape and is often eaten drizzled with honey and paired with a cup of coffee or tea.
Indulge in Wine, the Favourite Drink in Paris
Although wine is not technically a food in Paris, it’s impossible to write a food guide and not mention it. Whether you prefer red wine or white wine, you’ll find that Paris has good wine to cater to you.
One of the most iconic French wines is Bordeaux, which originates from the city of the same name. If you prefer rich and full-bodied wines, this is the wine for you. It has flavours of blackcurrant, plum, and subtle hints of oak.
Now, if you’re seeking elegance and complexity, look no further than the wines of Burgundy. Here, Pinot Noir is the preferred choice for red wine. It has delicate red fruit notes, earthy undertones, and a silky texture. For white wine lovers, Chardonnay takes centre stage for its range of expressions that go from crisp to buttery in a single sip.
There are also wines of the Loire Valley, such as Sancerre which is made from Sauvignon Blanc grapes, known for their acidity and zesty fruit flavours. Another favourite is Vouvray, crafted from Chenin Blanc. This wine is slightly sweet with flavours of honey, apple, and white flowers.
And we’re just scratching the surface here. France is known for its diverse range of wines and whatever your preference, there’s a wine to accompany every meal here.
- Pro-tip: You can also plan a wine-tasting workshop as an after-work for your event in Paris.
And with that, we’ve come to the end of our gastronomic journey through France with our Paris Food Guide. We hope it has been a feast for your eyes and will be a feast for your tastebuds during your event in Paris.
We’ve got a ton of information on how to prepare for your event in Paris. Simply check out our expert advice on Paris for everything you need to know from event venues to where to stay while you’re there.
We’re going to bid you au revoir now but before we go, we wanted to share our list of some of the best event catering companies in Paris for your event.
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