There were so many things I loved about living in France, but one of the things I loved the most was the food there. People in France take a lot of pride in their food, which you can really tell when you go there. Even the cheapest food you can find is amazing. One of my favorite meals while I was on a budget in France was a baguette and cheese, which was both delicious and super cheap. Although I loved a lot of the food in France, my favorites were the pastries. There was an abundance of pastry shops in my town and every single one was great. Here a few of my absolute favorite French pastries that I highly recommend you try if you ever find yourself in France.
- Pain au chocolat. The name of this pastry is heavily debated in France, but in my town in France, it was called pain au chocolat so that’s what I’m going with. It’s basically just a croissant filled with chocolate and it was one of my favorites. It was super cheap and you could get it almost anywhere that served food.
- This was by far my favorite pastry in France, and it’s the one I miss the most now that I’m back in America. I ate many, many macarons while I was in France. Macarons are pretty well known outside of France, but it’s essentially two meringue-like patties made with almonds sandwiched together with some kind of flavored filling. My favorite filling was also the most common, which was the raspberry flavored filling. Seriously, macarons are a must-have if you are in France.
- I ate these religiously when I was in France. It gets its name because it apparently kind of resembles a nun’s religious attire. A religieuse is basically a fluffy pastry filled with some sort of creamy filling, usually coffee or chocolate flavored, and it’s delicious.
- Éclair. I think this pastry is pretty well known in America, but it’s basically a fluffy pastry filled with creme and iced. The filling is most often chocolate, coffee, or vanilla flavored. I’m sure the other flavors are just as good, but my favorite flavor was the coffee flavored eclair. They are really good and definitely worth trying.
- This one is pretty self-explanatory because they are popular in America as well as France. My favorite thing about croissants in France was that they were probably the cheapest food you could find in France. At a lot of places, you can get two croissants for under 1 Euro, and they were always flakey and buttery and delicious.
- Tarte Tropézienne. This was one of my absolute favorite pastries I tried while I was in France. The only reason it’s so far down on this list is because I’m not sure how common they are outside of the Saint Tropez area in France. However, if you are anywhere near Saint Tropez, I would recommend that you try them. The best way I can describe them is a cake-like pastry filled with creme.
Honorable mention: Madeleine. This one is just an honorable mention because I personally didn’t like them at all, but it seemed like everyone else in the world absolutely loved them so I would still recommend you try them if you are in France. They’re basically tiny seashell-shaped sponge cakes of various flavors, often lemon flavored. They originated in the North of France, but you can get them pretty much anywhere.
Caitlin Smith is a senior at the University of Kentucky studying French and Sociology. She studied abroad in Aix-en-Provence, France during the Spring 2016 semester.