10 French Soups That Will Transport You To The Streets Of Paris

by John Griffith

Picture this: You’re wandering the charming streets of Paris, the aroma of freshly baked baguettes wafting through the air, and then you stumble upon a quaint, cozy bistro. The warmth inside invites you in, and you’re greeted with the most divine smells of simmering soups. That’s the magic of French cuisine, especially its soups, which have a special place in my heart. But you don’t need to be in France to enjoy the taste of these wonderful dishes. Each spoonful is a ticket to France. That’s why I’m excited to take you on this gastronomic journey through some of the best French soups. You can make these soups at home or seek them out at your local French restaurant. Either way, they will leave you feeling delighted.

Embark on a culinary adventure with these French soups

french soups soupe aux poissons et sa rouille soup


The Best French Soups

My fascination with French soups began not in a kitchen, but in the pages of history books. The story of each soup is a tapestry of regional traditions and historical nuances. In France, soup is more than nourishment. It’s a cultural expression. From the rustic kitchens in the French countryside to the chic eateries of Paris. Each soup reflect the diversity and richness of French culinary heritage. Here are some soups I recommend wholeheartedly for you to try when in France or you are in the mood for some French cuisine.

Each soup is a delightful journey from the Parisian streets to your kitchen

french soups creamy chicken soup

@French Cooking Academy

French Onion Soup

My first encounter with French Onion Soup was nothing short of magical. As I learned, its history dates back to Roman times, hinting at a legacy as rich as the soup itself. The heart of this dish lies in the painstakingly slow caramelization of the onions. This process, requiring patience and care, transforms the humble onion into a sweet, deep, almost luxuriously rich flavor profile. Then comes the crowning glory – a thick, golden layer of perfectly gratinated cheese, melted and bubbly, creating a bridge between the robust soup and the crisp piece of baguette it’s traditionally served with. This soup isn’t just a dish. It’s a symphony of flavors, a warm, enveloping embrace on a chilly Paris evening.

A timeless Parisian delight that blends sweet caramelized onions with a golden cheese topping

french onion soup


I still vividly recall the first spoonful of Bouillabaisse I had in a rustic, sea-facing bistro. This iconic fish stew is not just a dish. It’s a narrative of the sea, capturing the freshness and diversity of the Mediterranean’s offerings. A melody of seafood is present, ranging from mussels and sea bass to more exotic varieties like rascasse. Each type of seafood adds its unique note to this symphonic stew. The base is richly infused with a blend of Provencal herbs and a touch of saffron, providing a distinct, aromatic warmth. Moreover, the traditional accompaniment of rouille, a garlicky, saffron-infused mayonnaise, adds a creamy, spicy contrast. This elevates each bite. This stew is a culinary embodiment of the Mediterranean spirit – vibrant, diverse, and utterly unforgettable.

Bouillabaisse is a Mediterranean masterpiece

bouillabaise soup recipe


Potage Saint-Germain

In the heart of Montmartre lies the rustic charm of Potage Saint-Germain. This split pea soup is a celebration of simplicity and rusticity. It’s a testament to how basic ingredients can transform into something comforting and sophisticated. The soup combines the earthiness of green split peas with the savory depth of ham, often a leftover from a previous meal. This makes it a smart and sustainable choice. The inclusion of aromatic herbs adds layers of flavor. This creates a sensory experience that is both grounding and invigorating. The soup wraps you in a blanket of warmth. It conjures up images of Parisians, wrapped in scarves, enjoying a casual, yet heartening meal on a brisk day.

A cozy embrace of green peas and ham

french soups potage saint germain soup

@Olive and Mango


Vichyssoise, a soup of humble origins turned into a gourmet staple, was an unexpected delight in my culinary explorations. Traditionally served cold, this creamy leek and potato soup is a study in contrasts. The silky smooth blend of leeks, potatoes, and cream is gently simmered and then chilled. This offers a refreshing, delicate taste that belies its simple ingredients. Its versatility is remarkable. Equally enjoyable under the warm Paris sun as a cool appetizer, or served warm as a comforting dish during colder months. The history of Vichyssoise, blending French and American culinary traditions, mirrors the soup itself. It’s a beautiful fusion of simplicity and sophistication.

Vichyssoise is perfect for any season

french soups vichyssoise

@Food and Wine

Bisque de Homard

Recreating Lobster Bisque at home brought back memories of a fine dining experience in an upscale Parisian establishment. This soup is the epitome of luxury in a bowl. It starts with the base, where the essence of tender lobster meat is melded with a rich, creamy broth. The process of simmering, blending, and straining results in a velvety texture. This texture coats the palate with a symphony of flavors. The final flourish of cognac adds a layer of complexity and depth. This elevates the bisque to a level of sophistication synonymous with French cuisine. Every sip is an indulgence. It’s a celebration of the opulence and finesse that French gastronomy is renowned for.

Indulge in the luxury of creamy lobster bisque

bisque de homard soup

@Ricardo Cuisine

Soupe à l’Oignon Gratinée

This variation of the classic French Onion Soup brings an exciting twist to an old favorite. It retains the essential elements, such as caramelized onions in a rich, meaty broth. But it introduces a different array of cheeses, including blends of Gruyère, Emmental, and sometimes even blue cheese. The occasional addition of brandy or sherry deepens the flavor. This adds a hint of complexity and warmth. Served with a slice of crusty French bread, this soup transforms into the epitome of Parisian comfort food. It resonates with the heartiness of a home-cooked meal while retaining an air of French culinary elegance.

This soup is a heartier twist on the classic French Onion Soup

soupe à l'oignon gratinée

@Los Angeles Times

Soupe au Pistou

Soupe au Pistou is a vibrant homage to the sun-kissed vegetables and herbs of Provence. This vegetable soup teems with beans, tomatoes, zucchini, and other garden-fresh produce. It’s a celebration of summer’s bounty. The star of the dish, pistou – a Provençal cousin to Italian pesto – is a blend of fresh basil, garlic, and olive oil, sometimes with a hint of cheese and tomato. When a dollop of this aromatic mixture is stirred into the soup, it releases an explosion of flavors. These flavors are herbal, fresh, and distinctly Provençal. Preparing this soup is like taking a sensory journey to the lush fields and sunny skies of southern France.

A burst of Provençal flavors with garden-fresh vegetables and aromatic pistou

french soups soupe au pistou provence

@Vanessa Cuisine


Originating from the Pyrenees, Garbure is a robust testament to rural French cooking. This hearty soup is a melange of cabbage, various meats like duck or pork, and beans. Often, whatever is available or left over from other meals is used. It’s a dish that speaks of resourcefulness and comfort. A thick, stew-like soup that nourishes the body and soul. Each spoonful offers a taste of the rugged, pastoral landscapes of southwestern France. It evokes images of large family gatherings around a rustic wooden table. There, stories and laughter are shared over steaming bowls of this comforting soup.

Garbure is a hearty mix of cabbage, meats, and beans, echoing the rustic Pyrenees

garbure bearnaise soup

@Online Culinary School

Soupe de Poisson à la Rouille

Tasting Soupe de Poisson à la Rouille is akin to a leisurely stroll along the French Riviera, with the Mediterranean breeze in your hair. This fish soup often features a variety of local fish and shellfish. It’s steeped in a tomato and saffron broth, offering layers of flavor with a slight kick of heat. The addition of rouille, a saffron and garlic-infused mayonnaise, stirred into the soup just before serving, transforms this humble fish soup. It becomes a rich, creamy, and complex culinary masterpiece. It’s a celebration of the sea’s treasures, masterfully blended with the artistry of French cooking. The dish is both soulful and sophisticated.

A taste of the French Riviera with fish, tomato, and saffron

soupe traditionnelle poisson soup


Crème de Marrons

The discovery of Chestnut Cream Soup was a revelation in the versatility of chestnuts. This luxurious soup, whether enjoyed as a sweet treat or a savory delight, showcases the rich, earthy flavor of chestnuts. It’s a refined, creamy concoction. It can be infused with herbs or sweetened with a touch of sugar and cream, depending on the desired outcome. Every spoonful is a decadent experience. It’s an embodiment of the elegance and creativity of French cuisine. This soup, rare and exquisite, symbolizes the culinary prowess of French chefs. They transform simple ingredients into extraordinary experiences.

Crème de Marrons is a unique chestnut soup

creme de marrons cream for soup


These French soups are more than just recipes. They’re a passport to the streets of Paris and the heart of French culture. They’ve brought the essence of Parisian life into my kitchen, and I hope they inspire you to embark on your own French culinary journey. Bon appétit, and let these flavors transport you to the charming avenues of Paris.

These French soups are a passport to the heart of French culture

french soups classic french onion soup

@Kevin Is Cooking

John Griffith

John Griffith is a young, passionate journalist. Writing has been John’s hobby ever since he was a boy. He has worked in some of the UK’s most successful news portals over the course of his professional career but found his forever home at Archzine.