Paris: the French Onion Soup debate

As North Americans, when we think of France, eating in France, and French cuisine, the French Onion Soup definitely comes to mind for most of us. So going to Paris last week, I thought “I will walk into any restaurant, and their Onion Soup will be superb!” which I think is a fair expectation.

But here is the truth: It’s close to impossible to find a tasty French Onion Soup in Paris. I was lucky enough to talk to a Parisian man about this topic, and get some insight into why I’ve only found one tasty soup all week.

French Onion Soup is a tourist trap. As the French say, the best Onion Soup is the homemade one. For them, this is not a restaurant dish, and that is why for us, it’s close to impossible to find a good one in Paris. Almost every single restaurant puts Onion Soup on their menu for the sole reason of attracting and scamming tourists.

Having been lucky enough to get a local recommendation, I did manage to find (in my opinion) the best French Onion Soup in Paris. A little place right by Madeleine subway station, and a short walk from Place de la Concorde, Le Relais Madeleine exceeded all expectations.

They have the soup on their dinner menu only (I almost cried when I showed up for lunch and had to opt for a salad instead), so make sure you come there at the right time. The soup has a perfect density, being just thick enough. The pieces of baguette and melted cheese on top are heated to perfection, and the soup is so hot, it doesn’t manage to get cold even if you’ve taken your sweet time eating it. The worst thing ever is when a soup cools off so fast that you are eating it cold halfway through.

So, don’t go to Paris expecting every single place to have Onion Soup. Heck, don’t even bother ordering it anywhere, but if you do want it, go to Le Relais Madeleine.

Le Relais Madeleine

If you have any food recommendations for Paris, feel free to leave them in the comments, or visit the Contact page. It would be great to do a round-up of some Parisian food advice!

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