Few data are available regarding dietary habits of the elderly, in particular about fatty acid consumption, whereas these are major risk or protective factors of several age-related diseases. The aim of the present study was to characterise the dietary intake of a French elderly population in terms of energy, macronutrients and fatty acids based on their socio-demographic characteristics. The study population (age range 67·7–94·9 years) consisted of 1786 subjects from Bordeaux (France), included in the Three-City cohort. Dietary assessment was performed by a 24 h recall, allowing the estimation of energy, protein, carbohydrate, total fat, SFA, MUFA and PUFA intakes. Socio-demographic characteristics (age, sex, marital status, educational level and income), practice of sports and BMI were registered. Total energy intake (EI) was lower in women and in older participants ( ≥ 85 years) but higher in single subjects. Higher EI was associated with higher income, but not with educational level. Mean contribution of macronutrients to EI (protein 18 %, carbohydrate 46 % and total fat 31 %) was higher in women than men, except for alcohol. The oldest individuals consumed less protein and more mono- and disaccharides. Excess saturated fat intake (43 % of total fat), associated with a relative deficit in MUFA consumption (36 % of total fat), was observed. The mean 18 : 2n-6 : 18 : 3n-3 ratio was 9.9 and decreased with higher educational level. The present results suggest that being female, older age, being widowed and low income level could be considered as risk factors of inadequate dietary intake.