Paris – the city of love, the city of lights, and, most importantly, the city of great street food. Between eating the perfect croissant while people-watching in a park, to strolling the Seine by night with a sweet crêpe in hand, Paris is loaded with classic foodie experiences that you can indulge in any time of day. Work up an appetite while wandering the romantic cobbled streets of Paris and use this street food guide to steer you to the best patisseries, Parisian markets and snack bars in the French capital.
Best pastry shops, boulangeries and pâtisseries in Paris
You might be under the impression that all French croissants are made the artisan way – but in fact, there are huge factory lines mass producing the flaky pastry for bakery chains and supermarkets. If you’ve gone all the way to Paris, you owe it to yourself to seek out an authentic artisanal boulangerie. One that produces fresh, crunchy croissants by hand from scratch each day.
World-renowned pastry chef Cédric Grolet crafts edible art at his self-named boulangerie-pâtisserie, alongside fresh baguettes and artisanal pastries. If you don’t have time to queue there, try Tapisserie, a bakery from the Michelin-starred chefs behind Septime and Clamato, or visit Stohrer, Paris’s oldest boulangerie that opened in 1730 on foodie Rue Montorgueil.
Ooh la la, is there anything more French than a croque monsieur? The name translates to “crunchy mister” and this very French, very traditional toasted sandwich is loaded with cheese, béchamel sauce and ham. The best spot to try it is Fric-Frac along the Canal St-Martin, and the sandwich shop also has vegetarian options.
One of the great joys of local life in Paris is the many local produce and street food markets that pop up in neighbourhoods throughout the week. Of course, if you can’t chase the changing timetable, drop into Marché des Enfants Rouges, the city’s oldest covered market. Since 1615 this markethall has been a Parisian local’s go-to for food. Beyond produce and pastries, you can find Japanese bento boxes, Moroccan tajines and Caribbean street eats.
Like London, New York and other great global cities, Paris is a melting pot of cultures and cuisines. With these migrants comes delicious street food and over time dishes like falafel have become as Parisian as butter. A Paris favourite since 1979 is L’as du Fallafel near the Eiffel Towe. Line up and order Israeli-style pita sandwiches loaded with falafel, cucumber, purple cabbage, fried eggplant, and creamy tahini.
After exploring local life and history in the Latin Quarter, you’ll no doubt have worked up an appetite. Pop over to Avant Comptoir de la Terre, a long bar that’s perfect for a casual snack and a glass of wine on the go. The ceiling is covered in menu cards with pictures to choose from. Pick a few Parisian snack plates and enjoy gourmet delights such as charcuterie, grilled duck hearts, oysters and pork terrine.
Love steak frites (steak and fries), but want it on the go? La Baguette du Relais is the street food sandwich bar connected to a classic 1950s Parisian brasserie. Here they load the same tender sirloin steak into a crunchy baguette along with a herby sauce and skinny fries. Choose how you like your steak cooked and whether you want regular, gluten-free or charcoal bread. This is the perfect quick lunch to enjoy after exploring Notre Dame or the Centre Pompidou.
Sweet crêpe stalls
A romantic evening stroll along the Seine can only be improved with a decadently sweet Nutella-filled or lemon sugar French crêpe. Unlike other Paris street food, crêpe stalls are fairly reliable for quality. Look for stalls that pour the batter fresh before your eyes and cook the crepes while you wait. If you always like to visit the most famous spot, seek out the green kiosk of Crêperie de St-Germain where you join the never-ending queue.
Savoury buckwheat galette
If you’ve never tried a savoury bucket crêpe or galette, there’s no better place than Paris. A galette is the lesser-known Breton cousin to the sweet crêpe. It’s made with naturally gluten-free buckwheat flour and your choice of fillings, from ham and cheese to mushrooms and cream. One of the best spots is L’Épicerie du Breizh Café, a specialist Breton grocery store neighbouring a busy crepe cafe. Instead of waiting for a table next door, grab a takeaway galette to enjoy in the nearby park. From here you can continue shopping through the Marais neighbourhood.
Going home with a decorative mint-green box of seasonal macarons from Ladurée is a Parisian essential. Visit a Ladurée cafe to live the Belle Epoque life and enjoy coffee with some sweet macarons. The hardest part will be choosing the flavours – from pistachio to rosewater and raspberry. Take home an assorted box to share with family and friends (or indulge yourself to keep the holiday vibe going).