10 Best Foods in Paris (Best Food Souvenirs)

I don’t know about you, but I love to buy food souvenirs when I travel, especially when I’m in France. Before a trip, I do a lot of research and reading, especially when it comes to finding the best foods in Paris, France. When you are in one of the most incredible food cities in the world, it would be a shame not to bring something delicious home. Don’t know what to buy? I have a great list for you!

Here are the 10 best foods in Paris, France, to buy on your next trip.

1. French Butter (Beurre)

best food souvenirs in Paris, French butter, Isigny Ste Mere

One of the best foods in Paris is demi-sel butter (salted butter). What’s so special about French butter? It does not taste like American butter. French butter is made with more fat, which means more flavor and creaminess.

Pack your butter in your checked bag so that there are no issues with customs when you return to the U.S. It doesn’t need to be specially wrapped or vacuum sealed as with some other perishable goods, but you cannot pack butter in your carry-on. The butter holds up beautifully, even if you are traveling for several hours. 

Where to Buy: You can buy French butter at many grocery stores in Paris, but I recommend going to La Grande Épicerie(you could easily spend hours there). Try the D’Isigny Sur Mer Demi-Sel or Grand Fromage Demi-Sel. You’ll never be satisfied with another butter again.

2. Cheese (Fromage)

The French take their cheese seriously. No trip to Paris would be complete without a stop at an Artisan Fromagerie (cheese shop). The French are known for specializing and being experts at what they do. So, when you go to a cheese shop, you will find a cheese expert to help with your selection.

Before purchasing cheese, tell the fromager you are taking it home to the States. He or she will then wrap and seal the cheese so that it can be taken through customs without being confiscated. Keep your cheese in your checked bag, not your carry-on.

Where to Buy: At any fromagerie in Paris. They are everywhere!

3. Hot Chocolate Mix

While you can’t take a cup of hot chocolate home from a Parisian café, you can buy hot chocolate mix as one of the best foods in Paris. Whether you buy Poulain hot chocolate mix at a grocery store or a gourmet hot chocolate mix from a chocolaterie, you can’t go wrong! You’ll spend a lot less money on supermarket brands, but if you want a gourmet “chocolat chaud” mix, go to Edwart or Angelina.

Where to Buy: Monoprix, Carrefour, Edwart, Angelina, La Grande Épicerie, Galeries Lafayette Gourmet

4. Fleur de Sel

fleur de sel salt in containers from Paris

One of the best foods in Paris is actually a seasoning called fleur de sel (I buy this often!). This delicate salt is skimmed from the salt ponds in the Guérande region of France and can be used for sweet and savory dishes. You can buy inexpensive jars of fleur de sel at most grocery stores or a decorative jar that you can display. While you can buy fleur de sel online, it’s cheaper in France. In Paris, you’ll also find varieties and brands not found in the States.

The picture above shows my two favorite kinds to buy. I keep Le Saunier de Camargue in the pantry and display my small white crock of Les Terres Blanches. Fleur de sell is a food souvenir I’ll use forever!

Where to Buy: You can find Le Saunier de Camargue at Monoprix or Carrefour (or any grocery store). For the specialty jar, go to La Grande Épicerie.

5. French Candy (Bonbons)

best candy in Paris- Haribo Rainbow Pik candy in a package on a white backdrop

One of my favorite things to bring home for my kids (and, admittedly, myself) is French candy. Unlike in the U.S., there are not nearly as many candy brands in Paris. Haribo is the major brand there, and they sell delicious and affordable candy you won’t find outside of Europe. Some of the best French candy includes Haribo Rainbow Pik, Carambars (the original fruit variety is the best!), and Haribo Tagadas. You can also find candy stores specializing in old-fashioned candy.

Where to Buy: Grocery stores like Carrefour, Franprix, and Monoprix (and even CDG airport). For specialty or old-fashioned candy, go to A La Mère de Famille or Le Bonbon au Palais.

6. Chocolate Bars (Chocolat Tablette)

best foods in Paris, chocolate bars

Paris is home to some of the best chocolate shops in the world. I always buy several bars of chocolate because they have a longer shelf life than the mini, filled chocolates at artisan shops. You’ll find basic varieties like milk and dark chocolate everywhere. You can also find some fun and interesting flavors, like caramelized white chocolate and chocolate bars studded with candied nuts and dried fruit.

Where to Buy: For high-end chocolate bars, go to Edwart Chocolatier, Alain Ducasse, Patrick Roger, and Jacques Genin. For mid-tier (less expensive) chocolate bars, go to A La Mère de Famille (try their nut and fruit-studded bars!). For less expensive but good-quality chocolate, buy Bonnat Chocolat sold at La Grande Épicerie. Learn more about the best chocolate in Paris here.

7. French Cookies (Les Biscuits)

French cookies, best foods in Paris, France including LU cookies, Maison Calibri madeleines, and nutella biscuits

Oh, how I love French cookies! If you’re anything like me, you’ll have to limit yourself to how many you can buy because the boxes can quickly fill up your suitcase! For me, French cookies are always one of the best Paris foods.

Some of the best ones to buy include Maison Calibri madeleines (the chocolate-covered ones are especially good), LU cookies with milk or dark chocolate, Nutella cookies (not French, but so good!), palmiers, tuile cookies, French butter cookies, and Gavottes (crèpes dentelle cookies). These are high-quality cookies made with good ingredients, and they aren’t expensive. I talk more in-depth about LU cookies in my article here if you want to learn more.

Where to Buy: Monoprix, Carrefour, Franprix, La Grande Épicerie, Galeries Lafayette Gourmet. Monoprix is usually my main stop for cookies because you can find all of them there, whereas you may not find all of these cookies at some of the other stores. Go to the Monoprix Dragon location in Saint Germain. It’s the best location in the city!

8. Mustard (Moutarde)

best foods in Paris, mustard

Did you know the French really love mustard? It’s a big deal. You can even find specialty shops that only sell mustard. There are many varieties of mustard to choose from, so why not go crazy and buy a few? You can buy Grey Poupon in the US, so try a different brand not easily found at home. Buying a unique French brand makes mustard even more special. Once you start using your mustard at home, you’ll realize it was one the best Paris foods you could have purchased!

Some of the best mustard brands include Maille, Amora, Edmond Fallot, Pommery, and Bornier. If you love mustard, this is a fun item to bring home and use for several months.

Where to Buy: La Grande Épicerie, Galeries Lafayette Gourmet, Monoprix, or any grocery store.

9. Crème de Marrons (Chestnut Spread)

If you want something truly French and not something you’ll find in the States, buy Crème de Marrons (aka chestnut spread). This is a staple for the French. Literally translated, it means chestnut cream, but there is no cream in it. It’s a sweet chestnut filling that can be used on top of toast, in tarts, on Mont Blancs, and more. You can buy it in a can or a tube, making it easy to bring home!

As a side note, if you go to Paris during November or December, you’ll see small vendors everywhere roasting chestnuts and selling them outside of stores. They sometimes have signs that say, “Marrons Chauds,” meaning hot chestnuts.

Where to Buy: Most grocery stores. Monoprix, Carrefour, La Grande Épicerie, etc.

10. Jam (Confiture)

La chambre aux confitures, best jam in Paris

I remember the first time I tasted French jam in Paris. I loved it so much that I bought several jars in different flavors. What makes French jam or confiture so good? I always conclude that it’s the quality of their ingredients. The French are known for the attention they give to the soil, which is nutrient-rich, and they use very few pesticides as they cultivate their crops.

This translates to delicious jams and preserves made with the most flavorful fruits imaginable. Buy a jar or three. It’s always a staple on my shopping list and one of the best foods in Paris.

Where to Buy: Go to La Chambre aux Confitures for the best jam in the city! La Grande Épicerie and Galeries Lafayette Gourmet also sell many high-quality brands and flavors. You can’t go wrong with jam from any of these places.

What Foods Can You Bring Through US Customs?

When you buy all of these wonderful treats and gourmet foods, the last thing you want is for customs to confiscate them because they aren’t packed properly.

What foods can you bring through customs in the USA?

You can bring all of the items in this article, which includes chocolate, candy, butter, cheese, nuts, jams, spreads, condiments, and more.

According to Don’t Pack a Pest, you can bring home cheese as long as it’s not pourable, like cottage cheese. In other words, you can bring home cheese that is hard or semi-hard. Any fromagerie will know this info and help you to make the right selection.

As a general rule, put jams, spread, cheese, spices, salt, honey, and butter in your checked bag. The only foods from Paris I take in my carry-on include chocolate, chips, candy, and cookies. A good way to remember it is if the food is a snack, like candy, chips, or cookies, you can put it in your carry-on. If it’s an actual food used for preparing a meal, a condiment or spread, or something raw (like raw nuts or honey), then it probably needs to be packed in your checked bag.

Always check the US customs website or Don’t Pack a Pest to see what you can take home from Paris. Then you won’t have to worry that one of your food souvenirs will be confiscated, which would be a sad way to end your trip after a magical time in the city!

10 best foods in Paris to buy on your trip

2 Comments

  1. This is a very useful list. Appreciate your time and effort.
    It has been sometime since I was last in Paris. I found some very inexpensive take home food in the Super Marche. Are they still around ?

    • Hi Joe, thanks for your comment! Yes, you can find good take home food at many of the markets. I always love to peruse the food isles in thought of what I might buy if I was going to cook while there. Everything looks delicious! I’ve also found good take away food (pre-made sandwiches and more) at La Grande Epicerie that are very affordable.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*