The Best Foods to Eat in Paris (and where to find them)

From by Leah Walker
The Best Foods to Eat in Paris (and where to find them)

Paris is a paradise for food lovers. Most visitors don’t even scratch the surface when it comes to all the yummy treats the city has to offer. Or, they waste stomach space on junky food. Yes, there are plenty of sub-par pâtisseries and cafés waiting to take your money and your daily caloric intake. I recently took over the Expedia Snapchat account, where I gave a food tour of Paris. I spotlighted a few of the famous French foods, particularly those in the carb category. I couldn’t begin to show all of my favorites, so here’s an more in-depth guide to the best foods to eat in Paris and where to find them.

Bread best-food-to-eat-in-paris-and-where-to-find-it-by-leah-walker1Morning croissants at Josephine Bakery in the 6th

Forty years ago, the average French person ate one baguette per day. Today, it’s down to half of one per day. Despite the lower consumption, the place of bread on the French table has not diminished. Where else is a basket of bread served with a hamburger? It’s not a cliché to see the French walking around with a baguette or two under their arm or long lines at the boulangerie after work and on Saturdays. Meaning ‘wand’ or ‘stick,’ the baguette is fiercely controlled by the government. From the ingredients to the weight to the price, bread is serious business. There are two main types: baguette de tradition {rustic in appearance} and baguette ordinaire {made only from yeast, salt, and four}.

best-food-to-eat-in-paris-and-where-to-find-it-by-leah-walker3Chocolate and bread…doesn’t get much better.

The croissant feels as French as the Eiffel Tower, but in reality, the flaky treat was inspired by the Austrian kipfel. It was the young royal from Austria, Marie Antoinette, who introduced the croissant to France. It’s best to buy your croissants before 10:00 am and always opt for croissant au beurre, which is made with butter and is straight, as opposed to croissants ordinaires, which are often crescent shaped and made from margarine. There are a bajillion boulangeries in Paris, so how does one choose? When in doubt, look for an artisan boulangerie, which means that the bread is made on the premises.

Poilâne: 8 rue du Cherche-Midi, 75006

*Josephine Bakery: 42 Rue Jacob, 75006

Au Petit Versailles du Marais: 1 Rue Tiron, 75004

Coquelicot: 24 Rue des Abbesses, 75018

Le Grenier à Pain: 38 Rue des Abbesses, 75018 

best-food-to-eat-in-paris-and-where-to-find-it-by-leah-walker10So much cheese at Fromagerie Laurent Dubois

French General Charles de Gaulle once said, “How can you govern a country which has 246 varieties of cheese?” In reality, there are up to 450 distinct types of cheeses. Within that number are eight categories; thus, it’s plausible that France is home to about 1,400 different cheeses. French cheeses are made from the milk of cows, goats, and sheep, and are pressed, soft, and blue. With so many choices, it’s best to visit a fromagerie, preferably with a cheese monger who’s been awarded Meilleurs Ouvriers de France {MOF for short}. These people are the best in their field and experts. After you’ve picked up the fromage, know that there are rules as to how to slice the cheese. It’s France, after all, and there are rules about rules here.

best-foods-to-eat-in-paris-and-where-to-find-them-by-leah-walker16My fromagerie of choice: Androuet.

*Androuet: 37 Rue de Verneuil, 75007

Fromagerie Laurent Dubois: 47 Ter Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75005

La Fermette: 86 Rue Montorgueil, 75002

Barthélemy: 51 Rue de Grenelle, 75007

Pastries best-foods-to-eat-in-paris-and-where-to-find-them-by-leah-walker21So many pastries. So little time.

Show me someone who doesn’t swoon over a pretty pastry in Paris, and I’ll show you someone with no taste. Kidding…sort of. French pastries are legendary and just as beautiful as they are delicious. Pâtissiers are artists and sugar, eggs, and flour is their paint. There is no shortage of pâtisseries in Paris, and Parisians are fiercely loyal to their favorites. The most successful and enterprising pastry chefs have multiple shops throughout the city, but don’t look past the others. When in doubt just try them all. After all, life is short. Eat dessert first.

best-foods-to-eat-in-paris-and-where-to-find-them-by-leah-walker20Pick your poison or take one of each!

*Cyril Lignac: 133 Rue de Sèvres, 75006

La Pâtisserie des Rêves: 93 Rue du Bac, 75007

Jacques Genin: 27 Rue de Varenne, 75006

Chocolate best-food-to-eat-in-paris-and-where-to-find-it-by-leah-walker4Coconut and chocolate combine at Chocolat Alain Ducasse

Thank you to Mexico for giving the world chocolate. Thank you to the Spanish for bringing it to Europe. And thank you to the French for perfecting it. Ok, so Switzerland and Belgium make some fabulous chocolate, too, but I don’t live in Geneva or Brussels, do I? Whether dark or milk {Forget white. It’s not even real chocolate}, chocolate takes on a new meaning in the shops in Paris. Forget the three for $1 bars in the USA; one piece will leave you satisfied, though wanting more. Fortunately {and unfortunately}, the best chocolate shops are all located in my neighborhood, Saint-Germain-des-Prés. A walk in the 6th arrondissement is like being sucked into Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The 8th arrondissement may have all the big tourist sites, but the 6th has the legendary chocolate shops.

best-foods-to-eat-in-paris-and-where-to-find-them-by-leah-walker13This was Marie Antoinette’s chocolate of choice.

*Le Chocolat Alain Ducasse: 26 Rue Saint-Benoît, 75006

Debauve et Gallais: 30 Rue des Saints-Pères, 75006

Pierre Marcolini: 89 Rue de Seine, 75006

Un Dimanche à Paris: 4-6-8 Cours du Commerce Saint-André, 75006

La Maison du Chocolat: 19 rue de Sèvres, 75006

Food Emporiums best-foods-to-eat-in-paris-and-where-to-find-them-by-leah-walker19The cave at Galeries Lafayette Maison/Gourmet is stunning.

There are tons of weekly markets around Paris. They have set days that are set up in various locations. Meat, fruits, vegetables, fish, cheese, etc. are bought under tents, sometimes straight from the producer. However, if you don’t have time to chase down these markets, check out two of my favorite places to prowl: La Grande Epicerie de Paris by Le Bon Marche and Galeries Lafayette Maison/Gourmet. These two legendary department stores have gotten into the food game with multi-level shops dedicated to deliciousness. Wine, fresh produce, bakeries, butchers, tiny restaurants, wine, and specialty items galore grace the shelves of these massive emporiums. They’re great places to buy souvenirs on the Left and Right Banks.

best-foods-to-eat-in-paris-and-where-to-find-them-by-leah-walker23Overwhelmed by the water options at La Grande Epicerie de Paris.

*La Grande Epicerie de Paris: 38, rue de Sèvres, 75007

Galeries Lafayette Maison/Gourmet: 35 Boulevard Haussmann, 75009

Food Streets best-foods-to-eat-in-paris-and-where-to-find-them-by-leah-walker24Find any specialty item on food streets, like this shop with only meringue on Rue de Lévis.

I must warn you: Do not walk down any of Paris’ great food streets on an empty stomach. It’s dangerous! Often pedestrian only, food streets are lined with numerous specialty shops such as boucheries, boulangeries, fromageries, pâtissieries, fish mongers, fruit and vegetable stands, flower shops, and even places that simply sell meringue or Chantilly. This is France, y’all, and finding the best means multiple stops, hence the popularity of the food street. On Saturdays, these places are packed with Parisians and their wheeled carts. Take a stroll down one, and I dare you not to drool.

Rue de Levis, 75017

Rue Mouffetard, 75005

Rue Montorgueil, 75002

Rue Daguerre, 75014

*Rue Cler, 75007

Cooking Class best-foods-to-eat-in-paris-and-where-to-find-them-by-leah-walker15I took a breakfast pastry class at La Cuisine.

I’ve said it time and time again. The best way to know a country and its culture is to take a cooking class or a food tour. Food is a connector, and learning about the traditions and flavors offer insight into a place. I’ve taken numerous cooking classes and market tours around the world, and these are the first things I research when planning an itinerary. I’m not much of a chef, but taking the classes and tours raise my appreciation of the food I eat, especially in France, where food is a religion. Sign up for a sauce or pastry class. Visit a market with a local. Take a tour focused on your favorite treat, whether it’s chocolate, cheese, wine, or pastries. It will leave you with a deeper understanding of the place you’re visiting and a full belly.

*La Cuisine, Paris: 80 Quai de l’Hôtel de Ville, 75004

Cook’n with Class, Paris: 6 Rue Baudelique, 75018

Tea Time best-food-to-eat-in-paris-and-where-to-find-it-by-leah-walker12My favorite tea time in Paris is at Le Meurice by Cédric Grole, pastry chef of the year for 2015 & 2016.

Tea time feels traditionally British, and maybe it is. But if the British invented it, the French certainly perfected it. For me, tea time is about everything except the tea. Yes, sure, I go through the motions and pick out an exotic tea with blooming flowers in the pot. It’s pretty and tasty, but really I’m all about the Champagne, petit pastries, and savory sandwiches. There are some gorgeous tea times in Paris, especially in the Palace Hotels. Though, don’t forget Angelina and their famous hot chocolate. This decadently delicious addiction is dangerous and will make you turn your nose up at tea and Champagne.

best-food-to-eat-in-paris-and-where-to-find-it-by-leah-walker7Hot chocolate at Angelina is legendary.

*Le Dalí at Le Meurice: 228 Rue de Rivoli, 75001

Four Seasons George V: 31 Avenue George V, 75008

Angelina: 226 Rue de Rivoli, 75001

Dining with a View of Eiffel Tower best-foods-to-eat-in-paris-and-where-to-find-them-by-leah-walker22The terrace of Café de l’Homme is on the Trocadéro.

Is there a more beautiful woman in Paris to share a meal with than Madame Eiffel? Surely not! If you’re anything like me, the site of the Iron Lady never gets old. Dining with a view of of the Eiffel Tower’s twinkling lights is a luxury and quite rare. Often restaurants with such an extraordinary view are all sizzle and no steak. Meaning, it’s all about the view, but the food is an afterthought. That’s not necessarily the case in Paris, as long as you choose wisely.

best-foods-to-eat-in-paris-and-where-to-find-them-by-leah-walker14Les Ombres is on top of Musée du Quai Branly.

*Café de l’Homme: 17 Place du Trocadéro, 75016

Les Ombres: 27 Quai Branly, 75007

La Maison Blanche: 15 Avenue Montaigne, 75008

Chez Francis: 7 Place de l’Alma, 75008

So, there you have it! I’ve certainly not covered all of my favorite foods or places to eat them in the City of Light, but this guide is a good start for visitors looking to try some of the best foods in Paris. What are some of your favorites? Tell me! I love trying new places.

*Denotes the places I visited during the Expedia Snapchat takeover.


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