Breakfast is considered an important meal in France, but it is usually a simple affair. It can be as simple as a cup of coffee with a croissant or beignet (a deep-fried pastry similar to a doughnut) or as elaborate as eggs and bacon with toast, preserves and jam cereal.
In most homes and small cafés, French breakfast consists of bread or brioche sweetened bread) with butter, jam or honey, accompanied by coffee (hot chocolate for children) or tea.
Some may also have fruit juices (orange juice is popular), fruit salad, charcuterie (sausage and pâté), yoghurt, muesli, crepes or other pastries such as croissants.
The French are known for their sweet tooth. Although most French citizens have breakfast before they head off to work, there are still many who grab a pastry at informal stands lining the streets while they stroll to work.
- A pastry or two is an integral part of the French breakfast.
- Croissants are probably the most well-known pastry, with flaky layers and buttery taste.
- Pain au chocolat is another classic breakfast pastry; it’s like a cross between a croissant and a Danish pastry, with squares of dark chocolate folded into the dough before baking.
- Pain aux raisins (raisin bread) are also a favourite.
A typical French breakfast consists of a croissant or bread with butter and jam and sometimes a sweet pastry. Fresh fruit juice and hot beverages, like coffee or tea, are also included.
French Breakfast Tradition
The tradition of eating a large meal mid-day continues at dinner time in France. Although dinner is often a smaller portion than lunch and eaten later in the evening (around 8:00 PM), it’s still considered the main meal of the day by many French people.
Children are often allowed to eat sugary snacks like candy or chocolates after school, but these tend to be considered treats rather than an essential part of their diet.
Typical French Breakfast Facts
French breakfast is a traditional and delicious meal eaten by many French people every day. Here are facts about French breakfast!
- It is not sweet
French people don’t eat pancakes or waffles for breakfast; they eat baguette and croissants, savory.
- The Morning Coffee
Almost every French person drinks some coffee in the morning. This is generally made with a cafetiere (French press).
- Sweet is optional
The only sweet thing you will find on a French table at breakfast is jam, butter, or Nutella. And this is usually spread on a croissant or Pain au chocolat (a type of croissant with chocolate in it) or toasted bread.
- The famous Croissant
The croissant was invented in France, Austria and Hungary in 1683. During the Turkish siege of Vienna, the city’s bakers were up all night baking bread and heard the Turks digging tunnels under the city walls to blow them up and conquer Vienna. The bakers alerted the Austrian soldiers, who could stop the Turks from blowing up the walls and saved Vienna from defeat! The only problem is that no one knows precisely where this story comes from.
French Breakfast Puffs
These puffs are great served with butter and jam, or just plain. The dough is also delicious baked in a 9-inch square pan, then cut into bars and dusted with confectioners’ sugar. French toast waffles and pancakes are all delicious breakfast pastries that you can find on almost any brunch menu in the UK. If you’re looking for something a little bit different to make for breakfast, try out classic French breakfast puffs. These tender pastries are made from rich dough often filled with cream or custard.
Let’s start with the most famous French breakfast food: croissants. And yes, they’re a big part of the breakfast meal in France! The French love to eat them for breakfast.
But there’s more to it than just eating a croissant itself. They usually pair it with some sweet jam or chocolate spread, typically from hazelnuts (Nutella!).
The second most famous French bread is the baguette, and you guessed it; it’s also a big part of their breakfast meal! The French love their bread, so it’s not surprising that they’re also eating baguettes for breakfast with some Nutella spread on top.
- Bread or Croissants
- Pastries: Croissants, Brioches and Pain au Chocolat
- Butter and Jam
- Coffee or Tea
- Croissants: Flaky, buttery pastries perfect for dipping into a hot cup of coffee or chocolate.
- Pain au Chocolat – Similar to croissants but filled with chocolate.
- Chocolatine – Another variation on croissants with chocolate but with more chocolate inside. These are more popular in the south of France than in Paris.
- Brioche: Sweet, eggy bread usually served plain but can be topped with jam.
A tartine is a fancy name for a French open-faced sandwich that can be either savory or sweet. It can also describe other foods served on bread, like an omelet on toast.
Tartines are easy to make, and there’s no right or wrong way to do it. They’re great for breakfast, lunch, or as a light dinner.
Key to assembling Tartine:
The key to assembling the perfect tartine is using good quality bread sliced thinly — about 1/4-inch thick. While you can use any bread you like, a fresh baguette makes a beautiful base for tartines. You can also try making your brioche to use in this recipe.
La tartine is one of the most classic French breakfast items. It is a thick slice of bread that has been slathered in butter and topped with jam, honey or chocolate-hazelnut spread. You can make this at home using your favourite type of bread. If you prefer a more classic look, feel free to use a baguette.
French Baked Eggs
This is another popular French breakfast recipe. If you’re tired of the classic egg-and-toast combo, this dish is a great way to switch up your morning routine. To make this dish:
- Begin by slicing the tops off of tomatoes and scooping out some of the insides to create a bowl-like shape.
- Crack an egg into each tomato half and bake in an oven until the eggs are set. Serve with toast and some fresh fruit on the side.
The French love their pastries. They’re often the first thing people think of when French cuisine. Les viennoiseries originated in Austria and were brought to France in the 19th century by August Zang, an apprentice baker from Vienna. The French have since adopted these pastries as their own and have made them an integral part of their gastronomy.
There are four types of viennoiseries:
- Pains au Chocolat
- Pains aux Raisins
Croissants are probably one of the most well-known pastries in the world. They’re made with laminated dough, which is rolled out and covered with butter, then folded over itself repeatedly. This creates alternating layers of thin dough and fat (in this case, butter). While baking, the water in the dough turns to steam and expands within the layers of fat, causing them to puff up into flaky layers. Croissants are typically eaten for breakfast with jams or cheese such as brie or camembert.
French toast is a dish made of bread soaked in eggs and milk, then fried. Alternative names and variants include eggy bread, Bombay toast, German toast, gypsy toast, poor knights (of Windsor), and Spanish toast.
Battered bread is sometimes used. It is commonly served at breakfast or as a dessert. It can be topped with sweet toppings such as sugar, fruit, syrup or honey and served with butter, or savory toppings such as salt, pepper, sausage and vegetables.
Crepes are delicious and not that difficult to make. A crepe is just a thin pancake. The difference between pancakes and crepes is the batter. The batter for crepes is much thinner than pancake batter, making it easier to spread with a spatula and flip over.
- Crêperies in France typically offers an extensive choice of sweet and savoury fillings for crêpes.
- A crêpe is usually a single serving and comes folded or rolled into quarters so that it’s easy to eat out of hand.
- However, if you’re at home, you may want to add more filling than would be typical in France; this makes for a heartier dish that can be served with a salad as your main meal.
French Hot Chocolate
French hot chocolate is a decadent, thick liquid dessert that can be used as a sauce or icing. It is different from American hot chocolate in that it is made from dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate and cocoa powder.
This piece of chocolate is so rich and decadent it almost qualifies as dessert rather than breakfast. That said there are some strong arguments in favors of making this your first meal of the day: you’ll never have to face the sugar crash that comes with most desserts. It will keep you full for longer than any sugary cereal, and it’s good for you!
The secret to this recipe is the addition of avocado, which gives this hot chocolate a luxurious texture and makes it incredibly filling. Pains au chocolat are croissants filled with chocolate bars or pieces. These are also:
Here are some of the most famous French breakfast cereals:
- Crousti Passions
Here are some healthy breakfast options:
Oatmeal is warm, filling and nutritious. It’s an excellent source of fibres, which keeps your digestive system regular and helps lower cholesterol levels. This can be enjoyed with fresh fruit or nuts to add flavour and crunch.
If you love cereal but feel like it’s not giving you enough nutrition, try muesli instead. Muesli is made from oats and other grains with added dried fruits, nuts, and seeds. It’s available in the cereal aisle of supermarkets and health food shops. You can also make your own by mixing oats with dried fruit, mixed seeds (such as sunflower seeds), flaxseeds, wheat germ and maybe a little honey for sweetness.
There are some foods that the French do not eat for breakfast:
- For example, they will never eat a full English breakfast with beans, eggs, bacon and sausages. The French would find that too heavy for breakfast time.
- If you go to a café or restaurant in the morning, you won’t see any fried eggs on the menu, and if you ask for them, you will get a funny look from the waiter because it is not done.
- There will be no cereal in most cafes and restaurants as they generally don’t eat cereal as part of their breakfast. And if they do, it might be cornflakes.
- You also won’t see any porridge on the menu because oatmeal porridge is not eaten in France as part of their breakfast.
- You can, however, often find eggs in a scrambled form or even poached or hard-boiled. But this usually is just an egg on its own and not with anything else like bacon or beans like you would have in England, where it is generally seen as part of a full English breakfast.