You may have noticed that I have an ever-so-slight obsession with Paris. I can’t explain why or where it came from, but the City of Lights will always and forever hold a very special place in my heart and maybe, if I’m lucky, one day I’ll even be able to call it home. Until my fantasy retirement day arrives, I have to be content with visiting Paris as often as I can to enjoy the people, the sights and of course the food. Paris is a foodie town, both for the connoisseur of the finer things in life as well as for those more intent on casual culinary treats. No matter your taste, these are my choices for the five must-eat snacks in Paris.
1. Saucisson et fromage – My first trip to Paris was as a summer exchange student between my Junior and Senior years in high school. I have a lot of special memories from that trip, but one of the indelible food moments is packing a picnic to enjoy in the Jardin du Luxembourg. I followed my French friends that morning as we collected the ingredients for the picnic at local markets. Fresh baguettes were of course a necessity and to go with it my hosts selected a delicious dried saucisson or sausage, creamy Brie and some butter to coat the bread. Packed into a reusable bag, long before such novelties were fashionable back home in the US, we strolled around the gardens made famous by the Luxembourg Palace and the immaculately sculptured topiaries. After an hour or so, we found a shady spot under a large, verdant tree and set to work on the snack. As simple as it may have been, dry sausage, cheese and bread, the ingredients were so fresh and so exceptional that it forever branded my soul. I realize those happy memories didn’t all come from the food, but they helped contribute to a perfect day.
2. Chocolate Croissant – I’ve always had a special place in my heart for the classic chocolate croissant. I’m not sure why, but it’s become a must have snack on every trip to Paris. Universally found at cafes and pastry shops for breakfast, it can also make for a fantastic afternoon snack. The pain au chocolat, which is pure Franglais, is a cube-shaped piece of dough similar to puff pastry with one or two pieces of chocolate in the center. This delicious snack food isn’t limited to France, you can find it all around the world, but the best are almost always found in Paris. I don’t have a preferred location for my favorite breakfast food, but what I love most about it is how easy it is to find in the city. They’re everywhere, from train station cafes to the best bakeries in the city. For the ultimate in French experiences, grab a fresh croissant and a coffee and watch the world walk by from a quiet café as you enjoy your perfect snack.
3. Crepe – If you’re a frequent visitor to Landlopers, then you know I have a soft spot for French crepes. Even though they may not be the most nutritious snack, the indulgence is necessary for every visitor to Paris. The Parisians have fully embraced this culinary tradition, which is purely French in origin, and serve them up all around town, but especially around touristy areas. My favorite place to grab a crepe is at a stand near the Boulevard St.-Michel close to the Gibert Jeune bookstore. Here they have dozens of possible fillings and additions to help you construct the perfect crepe. I, however, in an act of dogged determination have never waivered from my usual order – crepe with Nutella. This choco-hazelenut spread turns into my own slice of manna when added to warm, steaming crepes. They may not be healthy and they’re absolutely messy, but few things indicate Paris to me like a good crepe.
4. Frites – The French may not have invented the fry (or chip, or French Fry, or etc.) but they have absolutely adopted them as a guilty afternoon snack. Much like their Belgian cousins, fries in Paris are double fried in order to maximize their crunch, a practice I wish we in America would adopt. Also like their Flemish friends, most fry shops often a wide array of sauces and toppings to add to your cone of awesomeness. A great place to enjoy a salty dish of classically prepared Belgian fries is at the Friterie Galande, located in the Latin Quarter at the end of rue St-Julien-le-Pauvre. The usual preparation here is with a side of mayonnaise and ketchup and a slight sprinkling of pepper. It’s the perfect guilty snack after a long day of sightseeing.
5. Macaron – The modern macaron was invented in the early 20th century at the famous Parisian confectionery house Ladurée on the Rue Royale. Nothing says indulgence like the delicately crafted macaron, which is a sweet pastry filled with butter cream or jam sandwiched between two cookies. The small cookies are light, airy and come in a variety of flavors. I’m sure they’re laden with tons of calories and are probably horrible for one’s health, but the allure of the macaron is strong and I soon found out that it’s impossible to eat just one. I think the macaron is in fact the perfect culinary emblem of Paris. Delicate yet enjoyable, sophisticated but whimsical, these delicious confections ARE Paris.
What are your some of your favorite snacks in Paris?
24 thoughts on “Five Must Eat Paris Snacks”
As you know, I have my own love affair with Paris and food is one of the many weapons of this magical mistress. I would replace macarons with moules or tartare, 2 things I love and don’t get very often outside of Paris.
A friend RT’d this post, love it! I believe it’s almost impossible to eat bad in Paris, everything down to the last detail is always amazing in my experience. I’m getting hungry!
The good news? Macarons aren’t nearly as bad for you as you think they are. I had my first taste of them last month (yeah, I know…it’s because we always made crepes in college and not macarons…) and I’ve made it a project to learn how to make them. Someday I’ll get it right and share. :)
The food in Paris is definitely wonderful! Have to love a culture that appreciates its food. I would also add to the list Falafel in the Marais and hot chocolate from Angelina. However, I’ve been here for two months so far and still haven’t found a pain au chocolat that makes me understand the hype…
I think it’s just more of a tradition with us more than anything.Pain au chocolate just says Paris to us. ;)
Good choices …. Delicious photos!
I agree – why doesn’t the rest of the world double fry their fries? There is really no point in eating them otherwise :-)
I would add to your list:
– citron pressé : freshly squeezed lemon juice, which you mix yourself into lemonade with your choice of sugar and water quantities
– the Brie baguette sandwich … You can get it on the train and in shops all over, simple and delicious.
Great post – thanks!
Ohh, nice additions! Now I want a sandwich :)
Oooh, baguette with brie or Camembert. :)
What immediate memories this post brings! Warm crepes with sugar eaten in the street, that is Paris to me:)
Fresh tomatoe & cheese panini from a food cart on the edge of the Seine. Best food ever in France!
OK now I am really drooling…
Oh my mouth is watering. Paris eating is heaven! Berthillon ice-cream is up there for me too!
Grabbing a custard tart from a patisserie and eating it as you stroll down the boulevard. Parisians never eat as they’re walking, that’s why it’s such a guilty pleasure. Also, a slice of warm tarte tatin on an autumn night is the perfect way to end a meal in Paris.
Aaaah, Paris + food! Needless to say, this post made me want to catch the next flight to Paris, in time for some morning cafe creme and croissant. Well-done and nice pictures too! :)
Frites ???? Hopefully, Belgians dont see this post.
Ha, we’ll just keep it from them :)
My mouth’s watering and my belly rumbling just reading your post! The food is one of the best things about Paris. My favourites are pain aux raisins and crepes. You can’t beat a plain beurre sucre crepe. Just watch out for dripping butter! Not a good look in such a stylish city.
The other French food that I really enjoyed in both Paris and around France are the French salads. I love salads with goats cheese, and Salad Nicoise. After our trip these have become regulars on our home menu, but I still can’t quite make then taste as good as I recall… Oh well, I will have to go back again to revisit the flavours!!
I love every suggestion here! And I’ll add my own personal favourite: Madeleines! Like everyone who goes to Paris, I have my own special place that I love where I go to pick them up. No trip to Paris would be complete without them!
It’s not a snack, but there is this roast chicken (and other meat!) place in Montmartre that I still think about often. The French have really mastered exceptional roast chicken.
Delicious!! Paris is such a foodie heaven – I can’t even decide which of your list above I like best – probably macarons! Fortunately, there’s a branch of Laduree here in London so I can live out my Parisienne dreams vicariously whenever I have a macaron craving!
Late to the comments but worth noting that you can get traditionally double-fried frites (and other classic fare) at the French Market in Chicago, It’s been there for some time now, and much loved in the city.
1 Saucisson et fromage – thanks Mr Obvious
2 Might want to use a picture of a croissant and not a pain au chocolat…
3 Good shout on the crepes (still an obvious choice though)
4 Another good point, though frites are Belgian
5 Macarons are a major tourist trap but they’re sweet af, I’ll give you that
2 Mini Eiffel towers
3 I love Paris t-shirt
4 a portrait from the Montmartre sketch artists
5 leave a padlock on the Pont des arts
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