The iconic foods of Paris are famous worldwide for their elegance and decadence — and there are many of them. However, there is something truly enchanting about experiencing these treats while actually staying in the City of Light. From the bistros and wine bars to the busy street vendors, Paris offers up a dizzying array of delicacies. Even the bed & breakfast Paris foods are famously delicious and often treat tourists to famous tastes of the city. If you’re traveling on a budget, you could also check out budget friendly hotels in Paris that will surely fit your travel budget. Here are the top five “must-taste” items for your Paris experience.
These long sticks of bread have become a symbol of Paris and of France in general. The very word “baguette” conjures up the image of a Parisian riding a bike with a fresh baguette displayed charmingly in a front basket. Their caramel-colored crusts enclose soft, fluffy, air-filled pockets of delicious dough — the perfect accompaniment to many traditional French meals. Baguettes are wonderfully portable and can be tucked into a carry bag — perfect for the tourist on-the-go. The ubiquitous bread is available at nearly every bakery and corner store in Paris and can play a central role in any meal — breakfasts, lunches, dinners, snacks and even desserts. Some consider baguettes to be a “delivery system” for some of France’s famous gourmet cheeses and jams.
Light, fluffy and aromatic, macarons are treasured pastries of Paris. So central are macarons to the reputation of French pastry chefs that their quality can make or break their creator’s career. Macarons are basically almond-meringue balls designed to perfectly enclose decadent fillings like caramel, chocolate, fruit or buttercream. Available in a rainbow of flavors throughout Paris, macarons have many faces but one central theme: the perfectly blissful bite. Macarons are also the most colorful of French pastries, often appearing in wildly vivid hues from deep indigo to magenta, orange, lime-green and turquoise thanks to advanced techniques in natural food-coloring dyes.
3. Croque Monsieur and Madame
A Croque Monsieur and Madame is essentially a version of a ham and cheese sandwich. The sandwich is a Parisian specialty with many variations. Some Croque Monsieur recipes call for grilled honey-glazed ham served on white bread and drizzled in a rich cream and dill sauce. French chefs often put their own spin on the traditional sandwich, adding everything from fig paste to mint for an extra “wow” factor. If you’re in Paris and you order a ham and cheese sandwich, be prepared to be blown away by the taste and texture of this renowned dish.
Essentially very thin pancakes, crepes are usually made from a handful of simple ingredients. Most crepes are made from wheat flour, eggs and butter poured onto a hot frying pan or heated circular plate. Their consumption is widespread throughout France, and they are served with a variety of delicious fillings. The simplest crepes are topped with butter, sugar and cinnamon, while “meal” crepes can include eggs, spinach and meats. Crepes are phenomenally tasty when served as sweet or savory dishes, and kids are fond of morning crepes with bananas drizzled in chocolate sauce. They can be found being expertly cooked by street vendors all over Paris as well as in some of the city’s finest traditional restaurants.
5. Steak Frites
This simple dish basically comprises steak and fries. A common dish served in brasseries all over French-speaking Europe, steak frites was historically created from the rump steak. The quality of steak frites is based on the skill that goes into grilling the steak and the secret ingredients in the marinade. The fries are actually an essential part of the dish and not considered a “side” dish. Chefs go to great lengths to create the best, most perfectly fried fries. There’s a reason why parts of the world call them “French fries” after all.
About the Author: Louise Vinciguerra is a fantastic joke teller with a million and one hobbies. This Brooklyn native dirties her hands in content on weekdays and as a devout nature lover, dirties them in soil on the weekends. When she’s not on Facebook, WordPress or Twitter, she’s traveling in search of fun food, dabbling in urban farming or planning nature trips. When she’s not doing any of the above, she sleeps.
Editor’s Note: This is a guest post