POPSUGAR Celebrity

Eat Your Way Through France

Jul 13 2012 - 4:30am

While we're not planning a trip to the land of stinky cheese and pastry anytime soon (le sigh), a girl can dream, so we've created a bucket list of sorts for what we'd eat if the travel gods blessed us with a plane ticket. Follow along for Bastille Day [1] (or any day), and share your favorite French eats in the comments.

Source: Thinkstock [2]


Baguette is big business in Paris, with fanaticism reaching such great heights that many Parisiens follow the annual baguette competition, the Grand Prix de la Baguette [3]. Blend in with locals, and pick up a loaf at your local patisserie to eat with dinner, or spread with rich beurre de sel and jam for breakfast.


Crepe stands abound throughout much of France; and, naturally, we adore them all, from nutella and banana to savory buckwheat galettes, but we reserve a special spot in our hearts for the simplest filling of them all — a liberal dose of lemon juice and sugar.


Layer upon layer of flaky, butter-enriched goodness makes a croissant a popular breakfast choice throughout France.

Croque Madame

Croque monsieurs and their egg-topped brethren croque madames [4] are undoubtedly one of our favorite sandwiches. Filled with layers of gooey gruyere and salty ham, then topped with luscious bechamel sauce [5], it's our dream bistro lunch.


Generally speaking, the French aren't big snackers, with the exception of le gouter – an after-school petite sweet treat for children. Slightly sweet and enriched by egg and butter, brioche [6] is a perfect as a nibbler during le gouter.


Without fail, if escargots [7] are on the menu, then we're ordering them. Once you get past the chewy texture, their garlic-infused intensity will keep you coming back for more.

Foie Gras

Controversial, to be sure*, we'd argue that a tasting of foie gras ought to be on your food bucket list, particularly if you're in its motherland. Unctuous and intensely savory, we love it paired with sweet stone fruits (apricot and cherries come to mind) and even chocolate.

*It'd be putting it lightly to say that we're lamenting its recent California ban.

Nicoise Salad

Salade Nicoise is a French countryside classic, from — you guessed it — Nice. If you're not planning a Provencal trip in the near future, then try our version [8]. It's one of our favorite hearty salad lunches.

Navarin of Lamb

Springtime in a bowl, this delicate lamb stew is one we adore. If you're stuck stateside, then try our recipe [9] and learn a new cooking technique [10] in the process.


Another French countryside classic, ratatouille has humble origins, but is notable enough that it has lent its name to one of our favorite animated films. Generally composed of eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers, and onions, it's a rustic Summer side we keep coming back to. We also love it on crepes [11].

French Onion Soup

We love french onion soup [12] for it's deeply umami flavor and lingering sweetness. It's French bistro comfort food at its finest.

Steak Frites

Juicy steak and crisp pomme frites?! Really, whoever thought of this genius combination deserves an award.

Coq au Vin

Coq au vin translates to "cock of the wine," and it was a French farmer's wife meal begat from necessity, as a way to economize on cantankerous old roosters and laying hens past their prime. Ironically, we've been known to go out of our way to track down an older chicken or capon (a tricky feat in the US) to braise for this deeply savory dish.

Cheese Course

French cuisine may be the golden standard for classic culinary training throughout the world, but we'd argue (at least in jest) that while the mother sauces [13] and consommé may be fine and dandy, France's greatest culinary contribution might be the addition of the cheese course [14] to dinner. A few of our favorites include Epoisses [15], Brie de Meaux, Comté, and Roquefort.


Undeniably in vogue these days, macarons [16] are a wonderful platform for delicate flavors, and few foods are, put plainly, cuter.

Chocolate Mousse

Light and ethereal, chocolate mousse is chocolate in cloud form. We're big fans of this genius recipe [17].

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