Paris is known throughout the world for its celebrated cuisine – dishes flavored with pungent garlic and fragrant herbs, dripping in creamy buttery sauces, smothered in strong cheese, and of course, served with a glass of famed French wine. From elegant Michelin-starred dining to traditional bistros and historic patisseries, the city is a must-visit for foodies of all kinds. Here’s our pick of some most traditional dishes in Paris and where best to find them.
If there’s one drink that’s associated with France, it’s wine. The country is globally celebrated for its wine production, offering tempting varietals such as velvety merlots from Bordeaux, elegant pinot noirs from Burgundy and light Chenin Blancs from the Loire Valley. So it is no surprise that Paris is also home to some excellent wine bars, where you can taste the very best the country has to offer.
Our Pick: Willi’s Wine Bar: Located in the second arrondissement, close to the Palais Royal and its elegant gardens, Willi’s Wine Bar opened in 1980 and is today a much-loved favorite. Decorated in a charming 1930s style with art adorning the walls, the bar also offers wine tastings and private dining.
Cheese is another of France’s most celebrated exports, with well-known cheeses like camembert, brie and Roquefort sold all over the world. Whether they’re creamy, strong, aged or crumbly, you’ll want to try as many types as possible. Order a French cheese board at the end of a meal instead of a dessert, or choose your own cheese selection from a local fromagerie.
Our Pick: Fromagerie Quatrehomme: In this gorgeous cheese shop, which dates back to 1949, the surfaces groan with more than 250 different cheeses, sourced from across the country. You can buy them individually or as mouthwatering cheese boards. Tastings and masterclasses are also available.
Sumptuous Steak Frites
When it comes to classic French dishes, steak frites ranks highly. Though said to have been invented by the Belgians, it can be found in almost every bistro in Paris. The dish is exactly as it sounds – a juicy beef steak served with French fries. The steak should be done rare and the fries, extra crispy.
Our Pick: Le Relais de l’Entrecôte: This celebrated Parisian steak house, which has three locations across the city, may just have a simple menu of just one dish, but they do it so well. It consists of a rare-cooked steak and French fries, smothered in their secret sauce and served with a walnut salad.
Croissants are undoubtedly the most famous pastry the French have given to the world. The perfect French croissant should be flaky, buttery and have lots of little air bubbles inside. Every local baker in Paris thinks they make the best croissants, but there a few places which stand out above the rest.
Our Pick: Du Pain et Des Idées: This authentic little Parisian bakery first opened in 1875, and still makes croissants, baguettes and pastries in the traditional way. Decorated with black with gold lettering and gilt-edged mirrors, the bakery itself looks just as good as its pastries.
Delectable Duck Confit
Another traditional plate is the duck confit, associated with French haute cuisine around the world. Traditionally, confit was a way of preserving the meat by salting and storing it in fat before cooking. The dish consists of a duck leg, flavored with rosemary sprigs, thyme, and often juniper berries. It’s typically served with potatoes or salad, or maybe on top of a cassoulet, a typical French bean stew.
Our Pick: Le Petit Canard: You’d expect that somewhere named after a duck would serve excellent duck confit, and you’d be right. This small candle-lit bistro serves some of the best duck confit in the city, alongside sautéed potatoes, green beans and a crisp salad.
Crepes are thin, large pancakes that come either sweet or savory. The sweet crepes are made with wheat flour and typically filled with Nutella or buttery sugar syrup. Savory crepes (or galettes) are made with buckwheat flour, which means they’re crispier, and come filled with anything from ham and cheese to vegetables or eggs.
Our Pick: Crêperie Gigi: This cute little crêperie, decorated with flowers and old street signs, serves everything from the classic galettes to modern crepes inspired by international cuisine, such as shitake mushroom, ham and truffle or yuzu crepes for dessert.
For more information please call Diane Ross of Kingsbridge Travel at (877) 223-4030