Food in Your City: Exploring Paris' Culinary Scene

“Food in Your City,” a new original mini-series that brings viewers into different cities around the world, paints a realistic picture of the local culinary canvas. An artistic interpretation that showcases various cultures’ approach to dining, “Food in Your City” shows food vendors, street markets, restaurants, and the people who have dedicated their livelihood to the craft of food production, in the most raw, original form. In this third installation, we visit Paris.

Paris has always been known for its high-quality cuisine and diverse dishes. Traditional French culture places a high priority on food and dining as an experience, not just a necessity. As the second largest country in Europe, France has the ability to grow all of its own food. This translates to fresh fruits, vegetables and meats. The rich soil in that area is also conducive to growing grapes, allowing the country to be one of the largest wine producers in the world.

Historically, French Nobility would have feasts lasting for hours with numerous courses. Presentation of these meals were just as important as taste. Today, those components are still important, but the dining experiences have also grown to include a spread of international meals presented in a number of new ways. This is the “Haute cuisine” Paris is known for. Intricate plates and new ideas have been at the forefront of modern French cuisine. On the other hand, there has been a recent movement towards serving more simplistic fare.

This trend of finding “complexity in simplicity” encourages Parisians to see the beauty of fresh, quality ingredients without trying to transform the flavors too much. They recognize the value in local and seasonal products. There is an excitement that follows the first asparagus or truffles of the season. Locals also look for the classics. They like the comfort of traditional meals. Staples such as bread, cheese, wine, and champagne are still relevant. Dessert is also an important facet of dining in Paris. One can usually find a rich dessert with little effort.

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However, most homemade French desserts only consist of fruit or yogurt. Restaurants in Paris recognize these trends and try to embody these desires in their menus. Heimat, for example is a restaurant centered around the idea of keeping things simple. Even the name of the restaurant, which cannot be translated into English, portrays home. 

“It's a word that says everything at once: a home, a birthplace, the scents of your childhood. It's that feeling you get when you smell your mother's perfume or hear the songs she used to sing," owner Pierre Jancou says.

Paris still offers new age cuisine. It’s difficult to find something Paris doesn't offer, seeing that it has more than 2 million residents and over 30 million visitors every year. More recently, street food has gained traction in Paris. Less time is spent in McDonald’s and Burger King and now Parisians are exploring food trucks as a new way to get a quick bite. There are now more than 100 food trucks roaming the streets of Paris. The mobile fare is a new addition to French gastronomy. As of late, the Parisian food truck scene has grown to include more artisanal street foods such as  mozzarella salads, venezuelan arepas, and vietnamese bahn mi in addition to the traditional offerings such as pizza, burgers, enchiladas and tacos. From traditional french fare to modern haute Cuisine, Paris has something to offer all tastes.

Video Produced by Denise Toledo