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As a travel blogger, I’ve had the privilege of getting to visit France several times. Whether you’re visiting Nice, Paris, Cannes, or anywhere in-between—indulge in at least a few of the best local foods to try in France. You can’t go wrong with macarons and croissants, but here are more French foods to try.
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14 of the Best Local Foods to Try in France:
I went to a little cafe in Paris once, where the bread and gruyère were so delicious I didn’t even need to eat anything else. If you find yourself in Paris, grab a fresh baguette from Le Grenier à Pain. They won Paris’s best baguette competition for a reason. It’s great by itself, but even better with some French cheese and Salt Creek Coffee in the morning while reading the morning news.
I genuinely thought I knew croissants, as any fellow carb-loving foodie does. However, you’ve never tasted any croissant as good as the buttery ones you can find in France. I traveled to Cannes with several girlfriends and we each ate at least three of these per day of our stay. We have zero regrets about it, either (although we did have some regrets in nearby Monaco during that trip!).
3. Coq Au Vin
Julia Child put Coq Au Vin on the map for the rest of the world. It’s a French dish with braised chicken/rooster, bacon, burnished pearl onions, Burgundy wine, and mushrooms. While those ingredients don’t seem all that fancy, when you combine them together it creates a mouthwatering dish you’ll want to have again and again. We had this in Paris in two versions—the coq au vin and also coq au vin blanc with foie gras, where it’s made with white wine instead. Both are amazing.
4. Macarons: best local foods to try in France
Can you really go to France without bringing home some macarons? Or at least trying to? I bought several boxes to bring home to the family but they were genuinely so delicious I ate them all late at night in our Airbnb in Paris. The flavor combinations are endless, but I am a huge fan of the fruity ones—such as strawberry, raspberry, and blueberry. One of the most popular places to snag some are at Ladurèe.
Chocolate eclairs are the most traditional type of eclair you can find in France—it’s usually stuffed with vanilla pastry cream. However, there are many different kinds made equally as well in patisseries all over France. You’ll find all kinds of fruit-filled eclairs, and even some with salted caramel. I’m a huge fan of the eclairs at any of the six L’Éclair locations in Paris.
A crepe is a paper-thin pancake that’s often sweet, although you can make them savory. Right along the waterfront in Cannes, you can find a little crepe shop. They have the best Nutella crepes. If you’re not a huge fan of Nutella, a more traditional crepe is filled with butter and sugar. You can probably find savory crepes, too—but I’ve got a huge sweet tooth so I didn’t pay too much attention.
Fromage is a cheese plate, not to be confused with a charcuterie board, which typically has cured meat on the plate. With fromage, you’ll usually get several different types of cheeses, bread, fruit, and occasionally honey. You’ll usually see fromage as a starter on any French menu.
Not quite a cookie, not quite a cake. Madeleines are buttery and spongey, and they’re always shaped like shells. They were first created in two small communes in Northeastern France, but can now be found all over the world. Some of the best madeleines, though, are found in Paris at Ble Sucré.
Pot-au-feu (translated as pot on the fire) is a dish that is found at the dinner table in many French households, no matter their class or status. You’ll usually find beef, carrots, turnips, leeks, celery, onions, and either oxtail or marrowbone. However, the ingredients may differ based on the province or home you enjoy this at. You’ll always find it’s some sort of broth with veggies and meat, though.
10. Beef bourguignon
Beef bourguignon, like its sister dish—coq au vin, comes from the Burgundy region of France. It’s very similar but has stew meat (beef in particular) instead of chicken or rooster. Both are equally exquisite and can be found all over France.
Flamiche is a French leek pie, very similar to a quiche. It comes from the Picardy region of France and has a puff pastry crust with a leek and cream filling. I enjoyed an incredible flamiche in the town of Saint Tropez—it was flaky, creamy, and slightly sweet.
This time, it wasn’t Julia Childs that made a dish known to the world, but instead, a children’s cartoon movie. Ratatouille is a dish originating in Nice, it contains stewed tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, and bell pepper. The best place to find this dish is in Provence, Cannes, or Nice.
13. Soupe à l’oignon
Better known to Americans as French onion soup, Soupe à l’oignon was originally a soup for peasants. However, you can find it all over France on pretty much any menu. I had some for lunch in Paris and it was so filling that I wanted to take the rest with me to enjoy later (it was delicious!). This is where I got to learn the fine art of witnessing my best friend, who’s fluent in French, a world-renowned restaurateur, and whose husband is a Michelin-trained French chef, argue with the waitress about giving me a disposable coffee cup with a lid to take the rest to our Airbnb. Apparently take-out boxes aren’t a thing in Europe—who knew!
14. Un café noisette
Un café noisette is espresso with a dash of cream in it—much like the Italian’s macchiato. Noisette means hazelnut in French. The coffee drink is named that way because when you add a dash of cream to it, the coffee turns a beautiful hazelnut color. I typically ask for sucre (soo-kreh), which is sugar, to go with my coffee.
You might be thinking—how do the French stay so thin when they eat so many carbs? I asked that question myself before visiting France. When I got there, I realized that they practically walk or ride a bike everywhere! So act like a Parisian, and go ahead and indulge in the best local foods to try in France.
When planning your travel to France, you’ll save the most money by using a site like Kiwi.com. It’s one of my favorite flight search engines because of their Nomad search feature. If your goal is to eat your way around France as I did, the Nomad feature gives you the best flights between each city you want to visit. Check out your search options below.