Two independent cross-sectional dietary surveys (the Individual and National Food Consumption Surveys, INCA), performed in 1998–99 (INCA1) and in 2006–07 (INCA2) on nationally representative samples of French people, were used to analyse trends in the dietary habits and nutritional intake of French adults. Food consumption was recorded through 7-d dietary records, and nutritional intakes were assessed using the French food composition database. After exclusion of under-reporters, analyses were performed on 3267 adults, aged 18–79 years: 1345 from INCA1 and 1922 from INCA2. The trends highlighted over the 8-year period showed a decrease in consumption of dairy products, meat, bread, potatoes, pastries/croissant-like pastries/cakes/biscuits and sugar/confectionery. In contrast, the consumption of fruits and vegetables, rice, ice cream and chocolate increased. Other food groups, like fish and snacking foods, remained stable. Food choices were mostly age specific. These age differences remained consistent over the years and underlined two opposite dietary trends: a ‘traditional’ one mainly followed by the elderly, and a ‘snacking and convenience’ one mainly adopted by young adults. The overall trends in food consumption did not influence the mean energy intake, but did slightly modify the contribution of each macronutrient to energy intake. These repeated surveys highlighted the fact that trends in French food habits have moved towards an average European diet at the crossroads between Mediterranean and Northern diets, and that food consumption changes impacted, to a lesser extent, nutritional intake.