WHEN IN PARIS, BRING YOUR STRETCHY PANTS
Because your new life’s motto is going to be: eat at all of the food, drink all of the wine.
Not only is the city littered with cafes, the sheer amount and variety (with new concoctions being made daily) of pastries would take you a lifetime to conquer.
Eating and drinking an absurd amount is completely ok in places like France, because it’s a way of life and French cuisine has influenced so many other cuisines it would be a sin to not try it.
By no means did I eat everything I wanted to eat. Alas I was on a budget. I also would have had to spend entire days just stuffing my face, and since I’m a miniature human my body literally would not be able to hold all of that food. But I did try to sample some authentic things (head on over to my post about Lyon to see the eats I got into there), as well as some of the most ridiculous looking pastries.
SIDE NOTE: There were times I forgot to take pictures of things after I purchased them because I ate them to fast. #SorryNotSorry
As Marie Antoinette may or may not have said (but Kirsten Dunst definitely said): “Let them eat cake”
The only acceptable thing to do after you land in Paris is to drop your bags as quickly as possible and head straight to a pastry shop. After all, if you want any chance of tackling as many of Paris’ sweet delights possible you have to hit the ground running!
L'ÉCLAIR DE GENIE
You can’t just go into any shop and eat just any éclair
There are eclairs all over Paris but only a select few shops sell the show-stopping L’éclair de genie.
DÔME CHOCOLAT VANILLE PRALINÉ (FROM PÂTISSERIE GILLES MARCHAL)
Because you should be able to use a chocolate dessert as a mirror
I had heard great things about Gilles Marchal and when I walked in I was not disappointed. The desserts are works of art, literally. The chocolat dôme (offered in multiple flavors) was so shiny I couldn’t believe it was real.
TIP TO NOTE: It’s almost impossible to just bite into because of how round it is (most likely bigger than your mouth will open). So make sure you grab a fork!
CHOCOLAT BAGUETTE (FROM LIBERTÉ)
Obviously you’re eating all of the traditional baguettes so spice it up one time
The best part about this baguette is it’s not too sweet. Slightly more dense than a traditional baguette it also includes white and dark chocolate chips.
ESCARGOT CHOCOLAT PISTACHE (FROM DU PAIN DES IDÉES)
A “snail” everyone can enjoy - we’ll get to the actual snails later
The pistachio cream and chocolate chip bits rolled into the pastry dough are reminiscent of what actual escargot looks like, but this is a rolled delight that will make you want to try every flavor.
CROISSANT (ALSO FROM DU PAIN DES IDÉES)
Not all croissants are created equal people
There are croissants on almost every block in Paris. But I will say not every croissant is going to blow your mind. Many of them are going to be of the quality of Starbucks croissants. Even though you’re in Paris that doesn’t mean everyone is a genius baker. But the croissants from XX will easily be the best you have eaten and will come highly recommended by an actual Parisian. In my opinion, the more misshapen from the diamond shape we are used to in the States, the better.
MACARONS (FROM PIERRE HERMÉ)
If you go anywhere near Ladurée you can stop reading this post right now
For some reason when people visit Paris they think they automatically need to go to Ladurée and get a selection of macarons. The thing about Ladurée is it’s a chain. Maybe people don’t know this, but it’s in New York and LA, and therefore is not as “special” as it may come to seem. This is why Pierre Hermé comes out on top. It’s a true Parisian specialty.
Cream puffs on cream puffs people, nuff said
There are some ridiculous desserts floating around the ‘City of Light’. Pastries are a work of art and sometimes are almost too pretty to eat. This is the case with the Saint Honore. If you love cream puffs then this will blow your mind. Three smaller cream puffs surround a massive beast. If you’re lactose intolerant you’ll definitely need the Lactaid for this one.
BABA AU RHUM
The name is fun to say and the little dropper shoved into it is full of booze
Glistening fruits decorate this bun soaked in rum liqueur. You would think that the cake part of the baba would start to get soggy sitting in rum, but what actually happens is a deliciously moist cake that could get you slightly tipsy.
CHOCOLAT CHAUD (FROM ANGELINA)
It’s going to be the most intensely chocolate hot chocolate you’ve ever had but so worth it
If there’s a splurge worthy experience to have in Paris (or when you’re visiting Versailles) Angelina is it! The pastries, the afternoon tea, the nut jam, everything at Angelina is an indulgence. But what they are probably most known for is their Chocolat Chaud. It’s thick, slightly bitter and more closely resembles drinking chocolate than the typically Swiss Miss crap we get back at home.
Sometimes you need to eat dinner
Just close your eyes and open your mouth
They are not your typical garden snails; they are much classier than that. Cooked in garlic butter with parsley this the flavor you are going to get. But I will warn you they are a little bit chewy, kind of like calamari. Just don’t think about what you’re eating and you’ll be totally fine.
Sure you can have this in North America –it tastes better in France
A lot of the time in the States the fries that you will get are those thick steak fries. This is too much potato. In France you get the thinner variety and the steak? Mmmmm that is some top notch meat.
This is a staple. And if you get it from a local brasserie it's way more appetizing than the crap that comes in a tin back home.
It's a mixture of cooked ground meat and fat minced into a spreadable paste. Sounds gross, I get it. But wait until you try those flavors! Grab a baguette and a bottle of wine and you're good to go!
CONFIT DE CANARD (DUCK LEG CONFIT)
If you don't like gamey meat you may not like this, but you won't know until you try
Duck confit is usually made with the whole duck and the flavors are unreal! This is because the meat is rubbed with salt, garlic, and sometimes herbs and then covered and refrigerated for up to 36 hours. Once refrigerated the meat is cooking with the rendered fat, and placed in an oven to poach for four to ten hours. It's all about that slow cooking deliciousness.
FALAFEL (FROM L'AS DU FALAFEL)
Why, you may ask? Because this was probably the best I ever had. Weird, I know.
The line will probably be insane when you walk by but that is because people know what's up. The falafels are perfectly cooked, the sauce is on point, and you will leave perfectly stuffed.
This is a given.
If you don’t have wine for at least one meal a day, then you haven’t truly experienced France. The cherry on top of this would be to also add a wine tasting experience during your visit.
It’s always offered after your meal, and you should always say yes
I thought I had, had legit espresso before coming to France. But let’s be real it was just shots in lattes. Typical American. When you’re in Europe (typically countries like France and Italy) you don’t see people sitting having a full blown coffee. It’s all about those cute little cups.
FIND YOUR INNER PARISIAN (OR PARISIENNE FOR THE LADIES) BY PICNICKING ALONG THE SEINE
Picnics and Paris are ubiquitous. Whether you’re sitting along the Seine, in the Jardin des Tuileries, at the Trocadero, at the steps in front of Sacré-Cœur, or under the Eiffel Tower (cliché) having a meal outside is a must.
A key to a great picnic is the supplies. Luckily in Paris the required supplies will cost significantly less than they do back home (import fees, barf). Stop into your boulangerie and pick up a baguette (most likely it will cost you less than €3 for an entire baguette), then head over to your local market and grab a couple cheeses and meats, and then hit another market or restaurant and pick up a bottle of wine and a couple plastic cups.
TIP TO NOTE: Many restaurants and cafes in Paris offer bottles of wine to go. It’s are cheaper than if you got a bottle to stay (I was able to get a bottle of quality wine for €10) and they will uncork it for you and give you a couple of cups.
By no means did I get anywhere near tasting everything I could and wanted to try but I guess that means I need to hop across the pond again.
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Content Creator, Traveler, Foodie, Amateur Photographer (and surprise!) Graphic Designer living in New York City. This website started in 2016 as a space to share my passion to live life to the fullest, make adventures a priority, eat all of the good food, drink all of the wine, and curate the beautiful photos that come along with it.