Paris on a Plate

When you think of Paris, what comes to mind? History? Romance? Culture? What about food?

The "City of Light" shines brightly for foodies. The culinary scene in the French capital is rich in heritage, originality, and elegance. Paris serves up a gourmand trip like no other, with everything from mouth-watering pastries to five-star restaurants to small, traditional bistro meals. Let’s take a quick culinary trip through the magical city of Paris. Allons-y!

Café Culture

A traditional Parisian cafe should be your first destination. Treat yourself to a café au lait and a buttery croissant at a quaint sidewalk café to start your day. Cafe culture is more than simply a hobby in Paris; it's a charming and historically rich way of living, enjoyed by all, sitting to savor one’s beverage is the Parisian way. By the way, drinking one’s coffee while walking is very much a faux pax in Paris.

Both locals and visitors alike congregate in charming cafés lining cobblestone streets in Paris whether the famous Les Deux Magots, a delicious classic cafe, or one of many options in the Marais. Parisian cafes are typically decorated with colorful awnings and wicker chairs used to enjoy the art of taking your time sipping coffee.

Every café has its own personality, ranging from the huge venues where people-watching is an art form to the quiet corners where writers produce their next masterpiece. Menus feature assortments of savory morsels, flaky pastries, and aromatic coffees that entice customers to have a leisurely breakfast or a lunchtime pick-me-up.

Time appears to stand still in these charming locations, where the pulse of life slows down and the simple pleasure of good company reigns supreme. Parisian cafés, whether tucked away in a quiet suburb or right in the heart of the busy city, give a timeless and enchanting glimpse into the lives of the French.

Baguette and Fromage

The baguette is not simply a style of bread in Paris; it is an emblem of the city's culinary heritage and a cultural icon. In fact, French baguettes were granted UNESCO World Heritage status in 2022.  Every morning, the aroma of freshly baked baguettes fills the city, emanating from boulangeries throughout the city. Every year, more than six billion baguettes are baked throughout France.

The ideal loaf, defined by Parisians, has a crispy exterior that crackles when broken, exposing a delicate, airy center with a subtle degree of chewiness. The best baguettes may be found in neighborhood bakeries, although if in a jam, those from Monoprix have been known to satisfy even locals.

Parisians take their baguettes very seriously. So much so that Paris holds an annual contest, the Grand Prix de la Baguette de Traditional Francaise de la Ville de Paris, that awards the best baguette bakery a year-long contract to supply its baguettes to the Elysee Palace, the home of President Macron.

The iconic baguette is the ideal partner for France's well-known cheeses. Cheese enthusiasts can discover an infinite range of textures, flavors, and scents in Paris's remarkable selection of fromageries such as the Laurent Dubois Fromagerie, La Fromagerie, or the local market. Cheeses can be found to suit every taste, from sharp Roquefort to soft Brie.

Whether it's for a smart soirée or a laid-back picnic by the Seine, Parisians adore the custom of purchasing a baguette and a cheese assortment. This classic pairing embodies all that is great about French cuisine: complex yet approachable, deeply steeped in history yet constantly changing. Beyond simply being nourishment, baguettes and cheese in Paris are symbols of the city's character, a celebration of flavor, and the art of living well.

Street Crepes - In Paris, you can smell the aroma of sizzling batter and sweet fillings as you watch street vendors expertly swirl batter into mouthwatering crepes. These delicate super-thin pancakes, a mainstay of French cooking, are a popular street snack that provides a nice balance of decadence and simplicity. Purchasing a crepe from a street vendor in the Latin Quarter or the Marche Bastille or from the renowned Breizh Cafe is an experience that is as much about the presentation as it is about the flavor.

The suspense of tasting the finished result is increased by witnessing the captivating performance of the crepe batter being masterfully flipped with a wooden spatula after it has been spread thinly on a griddle. As for the filling selection, to choose from a variety of delectable options is a fun challenge, with traditional pairing options like butter and sugar, Nutella and banana, to savory choices like ham and cheese.

When completed, the crepe is handed over with a flourish, folded into a tidy packet, and beckoning you to savor its warm, oozing deliciousness. Eating a street crepe in Paris is a classic culinary experience that blends convenience with gastronomic delight, whether you're wandering along the busy streets or having a quiet break on a park bench. You taste not only the flavors but also the essence of the city with every bite—a unique fusion of creativity, tradition, and pure joie de vivre.

Steak Frites- Steak frites isn't just a meal in Paris; it's a culinary institution, a classic that captures the spirit of French bistro cuisine. For years, the uncomplicated yet exquisite pairing of a tender steak and crispy fries has been sating appetites and winning hearts. The steak is cooked to perfection, with a flavorful charred skin and a tender center, usually in the form of a filet mignon or entrecôte. The meaty beef is perfectly complemented by a hefty serving of golden potatoes, which have a crispy exterior and a fluffy interior. The dish is usually served with a simple green salad or a side of béarnaise sauce, which adds freshness to the decadent feast.

Steak frites is a classic Parisian meal, whether it is consumed at a quaint neighborhood brasserie or a busy restaurant such as the iconic Relais de l’Entrecote with its three Parisian locations or the busy brasserie Au Pied de Cochon in Les Halles. The aroma of frying potatoes and the sound of sizzling meat fill the air, creating a cozy yet alluring atmosphere. A symphony of flavors and textures that highlights the skill of French cooking technique, every bite is a revelation. It's a popular comfort food that's always satisfying for residents and a delectable way to introduce guests to the delights of Parisian gastronomy.

 Soupe a l’Oignon - French onion soup, or soup a l’oignon, is a well-known and appreciated classic in Paris that perfectly captures the coziness of French cooking. Despite its modest beginnings, this famous dish has earned its status as a mainstay of Parisian cuisine. Soup a l’oignon, a rich beef broth with caramelized onions, melted Gruyere cheese, and a crusty slice of bread on top, is a comforting treat that goes beyond its simple components. When being prepared, the kitchen is filled with the scent of onions caramelizing in butter, which heralds the beginning of a rich and enjoyable culinary delight.

A sight to behold, the soup is served hot in traditional hefty crockery, the melted cheese leaving a golden crust that beckons you to dive in. The first bite is an epiphany: the savory broth and sweet onions combine, and the cheese gives the dish a smooth, creamy richness that coats the tongue. Every mouthful is a harmonious blend of tastes and textures, demonstrating the skill of French cuisine. A timeless classic that embodies the spirit of Parisian culinary history, soup da l’oignon can be eaten as a light supper on a chilly day or as a start to a more formal dinner.

If your taste buds are dancing in excitement over that description, let us recommend Le Saint-Germain on the famous Rue du Bac in the 7th arrondissement or Les Antiquaires in the same area.

Pâtisseries - Entering a Parisian pâtisserie is like entering a magical world of sweet treats, with displays of delicately colored macarons and intricately prepared cakes tempting you at every turn and the aroma of freshly baked goods filling the air. A celebration of skill, taste, and pure indulgence, macarons and pâtisseries are a staple of the Parisian culinary experience, whether they are eaten as the grand conclusion to a gourmet meal or as a mid-afternoon pick-me-up.

Paris is known for its scrumptious pastries with macarons among the most well-known. Visit renowned and frequently visited patisseries like Ladurée and Pierre Hermé to sample these delicate almond meringue treats in a variety of flavors. While there, remember to sample other delicacies including tarts, éclairs, and éclairs.

More than just sweet indulgences, pastries such as macarons are an artistic creation and a visual representation of cuisine that satisfies multiple senses in Paris. Macarons are a classic French dessert that has captured the attention of people all over the world with their vast variety of colors and mouthwatering contents under their fragile shells. Every little mouthful has the perfect ratio of crispness to chewiness, accompanied by a flavor blast that can vary from traditional pairings like chocolate and vanilla to daring ones like rose and lychee.

Additionally, Parisian pastry chefs display their creativity and talent in creating elaborate cakes, tarts, and pastries that are as stunning to look at as they are to eat. The mouthwatering selection of sweet delights that Parisian patisseries serve delights any palate and dazzles on any occasion, from the classic croissant to the rich mille-feuille. While there are many patisseries in Paris, a few to visit include Aux Merveilleux de Fred in the Marais, Stohrer (the oldest patisserie in Paris) located on the magnificent rue Montorgueil, and one of the handful of Lenôtre patisseries throughout Paris.

The Art of French Fine Dining: There are numerous Michelin-starred eateries in Paris, each of which provides a distinctive gastronomic experience. Enjoy modern French cuisine while dining in style at the three-Michelin star L'Ambroisie, Alain Ducasse’s vegan-focused Sapid, or L’Oiseau Blanc with magnificent views of the Parisian rooftops and Eiffel Tower.

Parisian fine dining is more than just eating; it explores the essence of French cuisine and celebrates flavor, craftsmanship, and history. The sophistication and elegance of Parisian fine dining establishments are unmatched, ranging from Michelin-starred restaurants to hidden polished gems nestled away in quaint districts. As significant as the food is the ambiance, which has luxurious surroundings, faultless service, and an air of sophistication. The menus, which highlight the best seasonal ingredients with a symphony of flavors and textures, are a monument to the inventiveness and talent of French chefs. Every meal is a culinary masterpiece, expertly prepared to wow the senses.

Fine dining in Paris is a culinary event that always impresses, with dishes ranging from traditional favorites like foie gras and coq au vin to cutting-edge creations. The large selection of French wines on the wine list is similarly outstanding and goes wonderfully with the meal. Paris is known as the world's culinary capital for a reason: dining there is more than simply a meal; it's an experience that stays with you long after the last taste.

Paris's culinary scene combines innovation and history to give a stunning range of tastes and sensations. Its culinary culture is a voyage of flavor and refinement that will dazzle you, whether you're drinking espresso at a sidewalk café, indulging in a buttery croissant, or eating gourmet cuisine at a Michelin-starred restaurant. So be ready for a delightful journey through the gastronomic treasures of the City of Light and bring your appetite!

If you can’t escape to Paris at this moment and are looking for delightful French culinary treats, visit RudiGourmand for international food and beverages.  If you are French and want to sell your French food and beverages to hungry Americans, you can now automate US FDA prior notices using PriorNotify. À votre santé!