What Are Parisian Herbs?

What Are Parisian Herbs? A Guide to French Culinary Delights

Parisian cuisine is renowned for its sophistication, elegance, and rich flavors. A key element of this cuisine is the use of fresh herbs, which add depth and complexity to a wide range of dishes. In this blog post, we’ll explore the most popular herbs used in Parisian cooking, their culinary uses, health benefits, and how you can incorporate them into your own kitchen.

Key Takeaways

  • Essential Parisian Herbs: Discover the key herbs used in Parisian cuisine.
  • Culinary Uses: Learn how to use these herbs in various dishes.
  • Health Benefits: Understand the nutritional benefits of each herb.
  • Growing Tips: Get tips on how to grow these herbs at home.

Essential Parisian Herbs

Parisian herbs are known for their ability to elevate simple dishes with their aromatic and flavorful qualities. Here are some of the most commonly used herbs in Parisian cuisine:

1. Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)

Description: Thyme is a hardy perennial herb with small, aromatic leaves and woody stems. It is a staple in French cooking.

Culinary Uses: Thyme is versatile and can be used in soups, stews, roasted meats, and vegetables. It is a key ingredient in the classic French herb blend, Herbes de Provence.

Health Benefits: Thyme has antiseptic and antibacterial properties and is rich in vitamins C and A, which support immune health and vision.

Growing Tips: Thyme prefers full sun and well-drained soil. It’s drought-tolerant and can be grown in containers or garden beds. Prune regularly to maintain its shape and encourage new growth.

2. Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus)

Description: Tarragon is a delicate perennial herb with slender, dark green leaves and a slight anise flavor. It is commonly used in French cuisine.

Culinary Uses: Tarragon pairs beautifully with chicken, fish, and eggs. It is also used to flavor vinegars, mustards, and sauces like Béarnaise.

Health Benefits: Tarragon is known for its antioxidant properties and can aid in digestion. It also contains vitamins A and C, which support skin health and immune function.

Growing Tips: Tarragon prefers full sun to partial shade and well-drained soil. It’s best grown from cuttings or transplants, as seeds can be difficult to germinate.

3. Chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium)

Description: Chervil is a delicate annual herb with feathery leaves and a mild, slightly anise-like flavor. It is often compared to parsley but with a subtler taste.

Culinary Uses: Chervil is used in salads, soups, and sauces. It is also a key ingredient in the French herb blend, fines herbes.

Health Benefits: Chervil is rich in vitamins A and C and can help stimulate digestion. It also has mild diuretic properties.

Growing Tips: Chervil prefers cool, shaded areas and well-drained soil. It’s best sown directly into the garden, as it does not transplant well.

4. Rosemary (Salvia rosmarinus)

Description: Rosemary is a woody perennial herb with needle-like leaves and a strong, pine-like aroma. It’s known for its resilience and longevity.

Culinary Uses: Rosemary is perfect for seasoning meats, particularly lamb and poultry. It’s also excellent in roasted potatoes, bread, and marinades.

Health Benefits: Rosemary has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and is believed to improve memory and concentration.

Growing Tips: Rosemary thrives in full sun and well-drained soil. It prefers dry conditions and doesn’t require frequent watering. Trim regularly to prevent the plant from becoming woody.

5. Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)

Description: Chives are a perennial herb with slender, tubular leaves and a mild onion flavor. They are often used as a garnish.

Culinary Uses: Chives add a fresh, mild onion flavor to salads, soups, and egg dishes. They are also used to make compound butters and herb blends.

Health Benefits: Chives are a good source of vitamins A and C, as well as antioxidants. They can help improve digestion and boost the immune system.

Growing Tips: Chives prefer full sun to partial shade and well-drained soil. They are easy to grow and can be propagated by division.

Using Parisian Herbs in Cooking

Incorporating Parisian herbs into your cooking can add a touch of French elegance to your dishes. Here are some classic Parisian recipes that showcase these herbs:

1. Poulet aux Herbes de Provence (Herbes de Provence Chicken)


  • Chicken pieces
  • Herbes de Provence (a mix of thyme, rosemary, oregano, and marjoram)
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic
  • Lemon
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. Rub the chicken pieces with olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, and Herbes de Provence.
  3. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Roast in the oven for 45-60 minutes, until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through.

2. Béarnaise Sauce


  • Tarragon leaves
  • White wine vinegar
  • Shallots
  • Egg yolks
  • Butter
  • Salt and pepper


  1. In a saucepan, combine white wine vinegar, shallots, and tarragon leaves. Reduce until the liquid is almost gone.
  2. Whisk in egg yolks and butter over low heat until the sauce is thick and creamy.
  3. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Fines Herbes Omelette


  • Eggs
  • Chervil
  • Chives
  • Parsley
  • Tarragon
  • Butter
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Whisk the eggs with chopped chervil, chives, parsley, and tarragon.
  2. Melt butter in a pan and pour in the egg mixture.
  3. Cook until the eggs are set, folding the omelette in half before serving.


Parisian herbs are a delightful addition to any kitchen, bringing the sophisticated flavors of French cuisine to your dishes. Whether you’re using thyme, tarragon, chervil, rosemary, or chives, these herbs will add depth and complexity to your meals. Try incorporating these herbs into your cooking and experience the magic of Parisian flavors.