Ready to eat like a local in Paris? Food is one of the best ways to learn about a different culture. As you eat in France, you’ll find this couldn’t be more true. After all, cuisine, menu, and dessert are all French words!
Try eating like a local for every meal to get a true taste (pun intended) of the French lifestyle.
While the traditions and customs vary somewhat in different regions of France, it’s safe to say that breakfast will be the same wherever you go. Pour yourself a cup of coffee or tea, spread some butter and jam on a baguette or croissant, and that’s it.
Depending on the situation, lunch or dinner will be the main meal of the day and will include at least three courses: une entrée (starter), le plat principal (main course), and dessert.
If you’re on the go but still want to eat like a local in France at lunchtime, chose a sandwich on a baguette with butter, jambon (ham), and fromage (cheese). This is a very popular choice. Or, stop by a café and grab a savory crêpe with your choice of fillings.
However, if you really want to adopt the French way of eating, sit down for a leisurely multi-course meal, and look for these delicious dishes on the menu.
This salad originated on the Cote d’Azur in Nice, as the name suggests. Today, you can find it all over France in slightly different variations.
Originally, the ingredients were affordable options for the local fishermen: Tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, spring onions, small black olives, and canned tuna or anchovies, all drizzled with olive oil. Today, it’s common to find green beans and potatoes added to the list.
Another dish with humble beginnings, onion soup, once a staple of French peasants, is now a shining star of modern French cuisine.
The simple soup, a combination of meat stock and caramelized onions, is made hearty and delicious by topping it with croûtes (crispy baked bread) and cheese and heating it in the oven.
Commonly known as chicken braised in wine, coq au vin actually translates to “rooster in wine.” That’s because poor peasants couldn’t afford more tender meat when the dish originated.
Different regions of France claim credit for it. So depending on where you find it on the menu, the typical red Burgundy wine might be replaced with something like Riesling or Champagne.
Fun fact: In the 1960s, Julia Child helped make this traditional French dish popular around the world. She included it in her cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
This dish—named for its cooking pot, the cassole d’Issel—originated in the southwest countryside of France. Like so many French recipes, what started as simple has become complex over time and varies depending on where you find it. Basically, though, it’s a hearty stew of meat and beans that is cooked slowly for hours.
Everybody recognizes the classics like crème brûlée, macarons, éclairs and mousse. But, you may not recognize this dessert when you see it on the menu.
We know this dessert as a chocolate lava cake. Some say it’s one of France’s oldest desserts. However, the French Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten claims he created it by accident. That was back in the ‘80s in New York.
Whatever its true origin, it’s delicious!
You’ll soon eat like a local in Paris on your next trip! I’m curious, would you like a full guide to visiting Paris for the first time? Send me a quick email and let me know your thoughts or questions about visiting the spectacular City of Lights (and FOOD 🤩) at email@example.com.
At Gourmet Adventures Travel Co., I craft culinary getaways for travelers who love to eat well and yearn to truly savor the authentic side of their destination. From a river cruise through Provencal wine country to a journey through the heady spice markets and medinas of Morocco, you'll taste your way through the world's most enchanting landscapes.