Classic Parisian Cuisine
While it is unequivocally acknowledged that you will eat well in Paris, what you are eating can range from regionalal Parisian specialties to international cuisines. There are, however, a handful of quintessentially French dishes that you need to have at least once while in Paris.
Breakfast isn’t a huge affair in Paris. Instead of heavy breakfast, many Parisians simply have a pastry for breakfast, if they eat at all. These delectable light, flaky creations feel like they should be a dessert of special treat, but if ever there was a time to indulge, it is on vacation in Paris. The classic croissant is the most popular choice – you can dress it up by getting a pain au chocolat (bread with chocolate). Dunk it in your oversized mug of hot cocoa for a truly authentic experience.
At lunch, there is more of a variety of options. Surprisingly, the French love eggs if they don’t have to eat them for breakfast. Quiche, omelets and croque madams (open faced sandwiches with a fried egg on top) are all popular lunch options and common to most lunch establishments. Of course, a classic lunch option on a cold day is soupe a l’Oignon or (French) onion soup. If your feeling adventurous (or have already tried and developed a fondness for) escargot (snails in garlic and butter) or moules (mussels) you will also be able to find several places in the city serving up these delicacies. If you don’t feel like stopping for lunch, grab a crepe or falafel sandwich from one of the street vendors.
To help you combat those long hours between lunch and dinner (Parisians tend to eat dinner late – this can be beneficial when trying to get dinner reservations at some of the city’s more popular establishments), stop and get an afternoon snack. These delicious treats can range from macaroons to pastries to a simple baguette to a plate of oysters and a glass of red wine. Snack-time also allows you to take advantage of another time to eat, and since you’re walking around all day, there really isn’t any harm in a little afternoon indulgence.
Health conscious diners may encounter some difficulties with the sumptuous, extravagant dinner options served in Parisian restaurants. More often then not the entrées are smothered in butter, wine-based sauces and rich gravies. Of course, that’s part of what makes them so mouth-wateringly delicious. Look for classics like chicken coq au vin, Boeuf Bourguignon, Confit de Canard and steak frites. If you really want to you can certainly order a salad for dinner…but with when the next table gets served, you may find your resolve begin to waver substantially!
Typically, a fruit and/or cheese course is a more common dessert choice in Paris then a piece of flourless dark chocolate cake. If you want to satisfy your sweet tooth, however, the city has a plethora of fantastic options. Stop into a patisserie and order a madeline or any of the other sinfully delicious choices. Another option is le chocolat – over the years, the city has become famed for their chocolatiers and the delicious products they produce.
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