A Food Journey in Paris

From architecture to museums, Paris is a city of art, and the food is no exception. French food is fine art in itself. I find goat cheese on a bed of arugula just as aesthetically pleasing as the Arc de Triomphe centered between lines of thin, manicured trees; the flavors of cheese are just as bold as Picasso’s racy renditions of the human body; the wine is as smooth as the marble pieces that form naked bodies in the Lourve; and macaroons are served in all the same mellow colors as a landscape by Monet. Art can take one on introspective journey; similarly, Parisian food had me reevaluating my existing schemas of cheese.

Let’s go on a food journey: here are 10 of my noteworthy food and drink experiences in Paris. I’ve included restaurant names, streets, prices, and a few money-saving tips if you’re on a budget.

#1: That Café Life

Wow, that is a cute café. That’s perhaps what I thought when walking past every café in Paris. If I sat at every café that charmed me, I’d be drinking café all day.

But would that really be so horrible? Red awnings capture swirling cigarette smoke as  Parisians leisurely sip on tiny, potent cups of coffee and render the French café stereotype amusingly true. Watching a Parisian make dixie cup sized coffee last for over an hour is the best reminder that you have all the time in the world.

  • average 2-4€ per cup of coffee
  • $ Tip: No need to tip! It feels strange, but it’s not expected. (But of course, it’s never unappreciated.) 

#2: Baguettes for Breakfast 

Paris is also a city of bread: flaky croissants, baguettes tucked under the arms of passerby’s, and never-ending baskets of bread on restaurant tables. I couldn’t stay away from the local boulangeries (bread stores) where I often got a crusty baguette sandwich with chunks of Brie, cucumber, and tomato- the perfect, cheap breakfast! There are many combos, including a simple baguette with butter and jam.

  • average 2-5€ from a local boulangerie
  • $ Tip: Grab a baguette sandwich from a boulangerie for cheap, filling breakfast!

And Lunch…

Baguette sandwiches are served at some restaurants too, like the Italian sandwich above with mozzarella and tomatoes drizzled with olive oil and pesto.

  • Italian sandwich near the Eiffel Tower- 8€
  • $ Tip: The food is more expensive near large attractions but not necessarily better. Wander away from touristic sights to find more reasonable prices.

#3: Escargot- An Enticing Entrée?

Ahh, that legendary, French entrée of cooked snails. As a foodie who take huge pride in eating eccentric dishes, I couldn’t pass up Escargot while in Paris. Surprisingly, I didn’t have to choke these guys down. Bathing in a delicious buttery green sauce with parsley, they were especially edible and, dare I say… enjoyable.

  • Cafe des Beaux Arts, 7 Quai Malaquais, Escargot- 8€ 
  • $ Tip: If you’re wanting to sample more, try a set menu! Many restaurants offer an entrée, plat, and dessert for a reasonably set price.

#4: Crepes: The Savory and Sweet Duet

When in Paris, one learns that crepes are not just for dessert! Sweet and savory crepes compliment each other like the perfect couple. Try a ham and gruyère crepe followed by a sweet citrus crepe drizzled with honey or a ratatouille crepe followed by a simple banana and nutella crepe.

  • (Above) Creperies Oroyona, 36 Rue Mouffetard, savory & sweet & drink combo for 5,50€, individual crepes for 3-6€  (A cheap, fun hole-in-the-wall creperie) 

Of course, there’s moments when you’ll skip the savory and go straight for the sweet. On Rue Montparnasse, a street where the creperies are abundant, I tried La Creperie de Josselin. Surrounded by dark wood walls and dim lamps under lacey shades, I had a chocolately, coconut ice-cream filled crepe soaked in enough rum to give me a small buzz.

  • La Creperie de Josselin, 67 Rue du Montparnasse, average crepe 8€

#5: Cheese, Please! 

I ordered the terrine de chèvre frais, essentially a loaf of fresh goat cheese, and salade. The menu was not lying; I got a mountain of goat cheese (this is Paris after all) on a few springs of arugula, but I was not disappointed. Baguette slices slathered with fresh goat cheese is bliss.

  • Le Botak, 1 Rue Paul Albert, Terrine de Chèvre Frais- 8€

I’m also a huge fan of melted cheese. My sister and I proudly ate a whole pot of Fondue Savoyarde- a decadent mix of Emmental, Beaufort, and Comté cheese, white wine, and spices at Pain, Vin, Fromages (bread, wine, cheese). Pain, Vin Fromages, aka the essential trio of Parisian food, takes the cake for my favorite dinner.

  • Pain, Vin, Fromages, 3 Rue Geoffroy-l’Angevin, Fondue for 2 people- 15€ each. Make a reservation; this little place gets packed! 
  • $ Tip: Order a ‘carafe’ with your meal (a pitcher of water) instead of paying for bottled water

#6: Falafel in Le Marais

Who knew that I would have the best falafel of my life while in Paris? Rue de Rosiers in the area of Le Marais- a hip, gay-friendly area- is packed with people on cobblestone streets waiting in line at tiny dives for a taste of the middle east. Although L’As Du Falafel is apparently THE place to go, the falafel I had blew my mind.

  • Mi-va-mi, Rue des Rosiers, Veggie Falafel- 8€
  • $ Tip: Often times restaurants (like this one) have different pricing depending on where you sit. An outside seat is the priciest, inside is mid range, and taking your food to-go is the cheapest way to go.

#7: Beef Tartare- Meat in the Raw 

Beef (or steak) Tartare is a popular Parisian dish, which at first sight warrants a double take- that hamburger isn’t cooked! It comes- non preparé– with an egg yolk on top, and capers, onions, chives, and other seasonings and spices on the side. I found it somewhat flavorless and much too raw, but this dish speaks highly about the quality of meat that restaurants serve.

  • Le Botak, 1 Rue Paul Albert, Beef Tartare- 17€
  • If you’d rather try cooked meat, check out Le Jardin d’en Face, 29 Rue des Trois Frères. It’s another cute spot in Montremarte near Sacre Coeur, and the lamb is to die for.

#8: It Isn’t Paris without a Picnic  

This DIY meal was so fun and memorable. After grabbing baguettes from a boulangerie, and picking out fresh fruits and vegetables from one of the produce markets spilling out onto the street, we settled in the grass at Jardin du Luxembourg (Luxembourg Garden) and feasted!

Paris was made for picnics; there are many grassy spots by lush, beautiful gardens. Half the fun is enjoying the outdoors amidst hundreds of other picnicking families and sprawling groups of teens.

  • Picnic for 3- less than 20€! (This included tomatoes, grapes, bananas, olives, an avocado, a pear, goat cheese, brie, and crusty baguettes!)
  • $ Tip: Make a picnic a meal! I was surprised by how reasonably priced fresh food is from the local markets and grocery stores.

#9: Dessert- There is Always Room. Always.

Just when you thought your stomach couldn’t get any happier, there are tiny shops with decadent chocolates, eclairs, fruit tarts, colorful, airy macaroons, and darling citrus cakes adorned with berries and glaze, like the treat from Huré (above). As if Paris couldn’t get any cooler, cheese also appears on the dessert menus.

  • Huré, 18 Rue Rambuteau, Senteur D’Agrumes- 4,70€
  • Average desserts range from 2,50 to 7€

#10: Wine- We Got Along Fine 

I love wine- not that I can tell a decent wine from an excellent one, but I enjoyed sampling wines in Paris, and I love a country that pretty much requires wine with dinner.

  • $ Tip: At restaurants, wine can be expensive, ranging from 15€ a bottle to more than 50€. At a local grocery store, it’s as cheap as 3€- split a bottle or 2 before going out to eat! 

Overall, I was expecting to spend an arm and a leg on food in Paris, but I found it to be reasonable especially when using a few money-saving tricks. Even with a few splurges here and there, I managed to stay on budget.

Let the food take you on a journey- there are amazing places along every path in Paris. Let your senses lead the way; little treats from Boulangeries will call your name, and open chairs at cafes will call to you, so stop and savor. Even though I hardly made a dent in the food world of Paris, I left with my tastebuds tingly and delighted.

What are your favorite and must-eat foods in Paris?

A BIG thanks to my sister, Alexis, for taking us to some amazing spots, giving us a wealth of information about food in Paris, and for translating between English and French!

18 COMMENTS

  1. markandkate8 | 16th Nov 14

    Yum and yum! We will be back in Europe next week, the food is probably the thing we have missed most. Great post.

    • Words of a Wanderer | 20th Nov 14

      Well, I’m jealous!! 😉 Enjoy as many delicious dishes as you can!

  2. Napper Curley | 17th Nov 14

    I love Paris in the spring! As a matter of fact I Love Paris all year long! Wonderful thoughts and pictures! “you go girl”

    • Words of a Wanderer | 20th Nov 14

      Thank you! I loved Paris too- rain or shine!! What a beautiful, dreamy city. 🙂

  3. Ale | 19th Nov 14

    I went several time to Paris all alone, but never with my 2 Toads! I definitly have to go… and enjoy a picninc in spring time! This could really be a top of the list for 2015 spring break! Very inspirational!

    • Words of a Wanderer | 20th Nov 14

      Thank you! Choosing spring break destinations- how exciting! Having awesome picnics in beautiful gardens around Paris sounds like a fabulous spring break to me! Happy choosing!

  4. Elena | 21st Nov 14

    Yummy! Only the escargots is something that maybe I wouldn’t eat, tried them before and it’s not my favourite but the rest looks amazing!

    • Words of a Wanderer | 21st Nov 14

      Definitely understandable! And yes! Amazing is right- I miss having such delicious options for every meal!

  5. marghenick | 22nd Nov 14

    LOVED this post. You covered pretty much all my favourites, from baguettes to dessert and of course picnic. It’s the best place on earth for picnics! I love the falafel restaurant too and I think you’re right, not sure it has a name!

    • Words of a Wanderer | 24th Nov 14

      Thank you!!! I’m glad you enjoyed it! Picnics… THE BEST!!! I also had my sister hunt down the name of the falafel restaurant and it’s mi-va-mi! Ring a bell? I have NEVER tasted anything like it!

  6. bournehungry | 22nd Nov 14

    Thanks for taking me back to one of my very favorite places on Earth! So glad you loved it 🙂

    • Words of a Wanderer | 24th Nov 14

      Ahhhh I did love it, ohh so much! And you were right about the cheese and bread!- I didn’t have as much sensitivity Paris’ fresh products as I normally do back home 🙂

  7. adrianstraveltales | 22nd Nov 14

    I left Paris 4 days ago and I’m already missing all of this. I really loved the crepes and the yummy wine! Yay for French cheese as well.

    • Words of a Wanderer | 24th Nov 14

      French cheese gets a HUGE pat on the back. I missed it all after I left too! I hope your separation isn’t too painful! 😉

  8. Susan Aksu | 22nd Nov 14

    I love cheese and crepes so this is great. Escargo is on my list of things to try 🙂

    • Words of a Wanderer | 24th Nov 14

      Pretty much the 2 greatest things ever invented! haha You should definitely try escargot! I was not expecting the sauce to be so delicious! It more more doable that I had anticipated.

  9. NYC JetSetter | 23rd Nov 14

    I love the food in Paris! Escargot, baguettes, wine… yum!!!

    • Words of a Wanderer | 24th Nov 14

      Right there with ya! YUM, and I can’t wait to go to other parts of France and try an even bigger variety of French food!

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