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What do Parisians eat for lunch?

Paris, the City of Love, is not only famous for its beautiful architecture, mesmerizing landscapes, and romantic atmosphere, but also for its delicious cuisine. Lunchtime is considered an important meal for Parisians, and they take it very seriously. The French believe in eating fresh, locally-sourced food, and lunchtime is no exception. Whether it’s a leisurely meal with friends or a quick grab-and-go bite, Parisians have some great lunch specialties that are the perfect representation of French cuisine. In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into what Parisians eat for lunch and how you can experience the authentic Parisian lunch culture.


Paris is known for its captivating landmarks, romantic streets, and of course, its delicious cuisine. The city is a food lover’s paradise boasting of excellent French delicacies that epitomize the culture, customs, and tradition of France. While breakfast and dinner are consumed at home, lunchtime is a big affair in Paris, with many restaurants, cafes, and bakeries offering an extensive array of lunchtime menus. In this article, we will dive into the world of Parisian lunchtime cuisine and explore what Parisians eat for lunch.

Subheading 1: The Traditional French Lunch

The basics of a Parisian lunch

The traditional French lunch consists of three courses: an appetizer, a main dish, and dessert. Parisians typically have a salad, soup, or pâté as an appetizer, followed by a meat dish like steak, roast chicken, or fish, accompanied with vegetables, rice, or potatoes. For dessert, fresh fruits, cheese, or cakes like tarts, éclairs, and macarons are served.

Subheading 2: Baguette and Sandwiches

Le sandwich et la baguette

Sandwiches are an integral part of Parisians’ lunchtime, with baguette-based sandwiches being the most popular choice. The French baguette sandwich, called “jambon beurre,” is a simple sandwich comprising a French baguette, ham, and butter. Other popular sandwich fillings include cheese, tuna, chicken, and vegetables.

Subheading 3: Salads

Les salades

Salads are a popular choice for those looking for a light and healthy lunchtime meal. The Parisian salad consists of fresh lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, and other vegetables dressed with vinaigrette dressing. Parisians also add meats and cheeses to their salads for a richer taste.

Subheading 4: Quiches and Tarts

Les quiches et les tartes

Quiches and tarts are a staple in Parisian lunchtime menus. These savory dishes come in a variety of fillings like cheese, vegetables, chicken, and seafood. Quiches and tarts are usually eaten warm, making them a perfect option for a cold winter afternoon.

Subheading 5: Soups

Les soupes

Soup is a popular choice for Parisians lunchtime, especially during winter. There are many types of French soups, but the most popular ones are French onion soup and vegetable soup. These soups are served hot with bread rolls and topped with grated cheese.

Subheading 6: Charcuterie

La charcuterie

Parisians also enjoy charcuterie for lunch. This platter is made up of sliced cold meats, like ham, sausages, and pâté, served with bread or crackers. It is usually accompanied by cornichons (pickled cucumbers), olives, and cheese.

Subheading 7: Seafood

Les fruits de mer

Seafood is also a popular choice for lunch in Paris, especially during summer. Parisians enjoy fresh oysters, mussels, clams, and other seafood along the Seine River. You can also find seafood platters with prawns, crab, and lobster served at restaurants.

Subheading 8: Bistro Lunches

Déjeuner dans un bistro

Bistros are traditional French eateries that serve casual and affordable lunchtime menus. A typical bistro lunch in Paris comprises of a sandwich, salad, or quiche, accompanied by wine or beer. Bistros are popular with locals and tourists alike, providing a cozy atmosphere and authentic Parisian experience.

Subheading 9: Ethnic Food

La nourriture ethnique

Paris is a multicultural city, and as a result, you can find different international cuisines during lunchtime. Popular ethnic foods include sushi, falafel, and shawarma. You can find these ethnic dishes in various food markets and food trucks around the city.

Subheading 10: Takeaway and Picnic

Repas à emporter

Takeaway meals and picnics are popular options for lunchtime in Paris. There are various takeaway food joints and delicatessens in Paris that offer freshly prepared sandwiches, salads, and other lunchtime snacks. You can enjoy your lunch while walking around or take it to a nearby park for a relaxing picnic.


Parisian lunchtime cuisine is a critical aspect of the city’s food culture and its people’s tradition. From the traditional French lunch to ethnic foods, sandwiches, quiches, and salads, there is no shortage of options for a delicious lunch in Paris. Whether you prefer a sit-down meal or a quick takeaway snack, Paris has something to offer everyone. So, if you ever visit Paris, make sure to indulge in the city’s lunchtime cuisine and experience the gastronomic culture of France.
baguette sandwich
French onion soup
Seafood platter

10 Typical dishes that Parisians enjoy for lunch

Parisians have no shortage of delicious dishes to choose from when it comes to grabbing lunch. The city is known for its vibrant food scene, and here are ten classic dishes that locals enjoy regularly.

1. Croque-monsieur

The Croque-monsieur is the ultimate Parisian lunch food. Consisting of ham, cheese, and béchamel sauce, and wrapped in crusty bread, this sandwich is a hearty and satisfying option. Often served with a side salad and fries, Croque-monsieur is a staple of the French diet.


2. Quiche Lorraine

A quiche Lorraine is a savory pastry filled with eggs, cheese, and bacon. A traditional French dish, it’s a great grab-and-go lunch option that’s delicious and filling.

Quiche Lorraine

3. Soupe à l’oignon

If you’re looking for a hearty and warming soup to enjoy on a chilly day, look no further than Soupe à l’oignon. This flavorful dish is made with onions, beef broth, cheese, and toasted bread, and it’s perfect for a comfy and cozy winter lunch.

Soupe à l'oignon

4. Salad Niçoise

The Salad Niçoise is a popular dish in Paris thanks to its fresh flavors and healthy ingredients. Tuna, eggs, tomatoes, olives, and lettuce are combined to create this salad, a perfect option for anyone looking for a light and healthy lunch.

Salad Niçoise

5. Steak Frites

Steak frites is a classic French dish consisting of a juicy steak served with a side order of crispy fries. It’s a meat lover’s dream and a popular dish to enjoy in the city’s many brasseries.

Steak Frites

6. Croissant

Croissants are a staple of French cuisine and are a common item for breakfast and lunch on-the-go. Crispy on the outside and flaky on the inside, they’re perfect for a quick bite to eat and can be filled with a variety of sweet or savory ingredients.


7. Coq au Vin

Coq au Vin is a hearty and comforting dish made with chicken, red wine, and mushrooms. It’s a traditional French dish that is perfect for colder days and is sure to warm you up.

Coq au Vin

8. Ratatouille

Ratatouille is a vegetarian dish consisting of tomatoes, eggplants, bell peppers, onions, and zucchinis, all stewed together until soft and delicious. It’s a healthy and flavorful option that is perfect for anyone looking for a lighter lunch.


9. Boeuf Bourguignon

Boeuf Bourguignon is a rich and hearty beef stew made with red wine, mushrooms, and plenty of vegetables. It’s another popular French dish that’s perfect for a cold winter day and is sure to leave you feeling full and satisfied.

Boeuf Bourguignon

10. Baguette Sandwiches

Baguette sandwiches are a popular lunch option in Paris. A traditional French baguette is filled with your choice of ingredients such as ham, cheese, and vegetables. They’re easy to carry around and are a great option for a quick lunch.

Baguette Sandwich


As you can see, Parisians have plenty of delicious options when it comes to lunchtime eats. Whether you’re in the mood for a hearty meat dish or a fresh and healthy salad, you’re sure to find something that hits the spot in the French capital. Bon appétit!

Traditional French Meals for Lunch

Paris is known for its timeless beauty, charm, and delicious food! Talking about the food, the French cuisine is particularly famous for its finesse, fresh ingredients, and a variety of flavors that can make your mouth water. The French love their food, and Parisians are no exception – they savor their lunches carefully and, of course, deliciously. Here are some best traditional French meals that Parisians like to enjoy in their lunchtime.

1. Croque Monsieur

The Croque Monsieur is a frugal Parisian sandwich that you can find almost everywhere in the city. It’s a grilled cheese sandwich topped with ham and béchamel sauce. The bread is usually soft, crusty, and buttery to give an excellent crunch to each bite. It’s an elegant and quick meal that delights the taste buds of Parisians and tourists alike.

2. Quiche Lorraine

Another popular French lunch dish that is widely enjoyed by Parisians is Quiche Lorraine. It’s a type of savory pie made with eggs, cheese, bacon, and cream. It’s usually served with a fresh salad during lunchtime. It’s a light and tasty meal that fills you up quite well. Quiche Lorraine is a healthy option that you can quickly grab from most Parisian bakeries and cafes.

3. Sole Meunière

Seafood is always in trend in Parisian cuisine, and Sole Meunière is one of their all-time favorites. It’s a cooked sole fish served with a rich buttery sauce, boiled potatoes, and some lemon wedges. The fish is delicately flavored, and the sauce enhances its flavor even more. It’s a satisfying and wholesome meal that’s perfect for a relaxing and rejuvenating lunch.

4. Escargot

Escargot is a dish that some people might find a bit challenging or unusual. However, it’s an integral part of traditional French cuisine and a beloved delicacy among Parisians. It’s essentially snails cooked in garlic butter, and parsley sauce. It’s usually served as an appetizer or part of a meal. It’s a unique flavor with an acquired taste, so if you are feeling adventurous, give it a try!

5. Steak Frites

Steak Frites is a classic French dish that has become a kind of national dish in France. It’s a juicy steak served with crispy fries and a side salad. The meat is usually cooked to your liking, and the fries are unmistakably golden. This meal is a hearty delight that makes for a luxurious lunch date or a simple and satisfying meal that’s enjoyed by all.

French Meal Ingredients
Croque Monsieur Bread, ham, cheese, béchamel sauce
Quiche Lorraine Eggs, cheese, bacon, cream
Sole Meunière Sole fish, butter, lemon, boiled potatoes
Escargot Snails, garlic butter, parsley sauce
Steak Frites Steak, Fries, side salad

Parisians take their lunch very seriously, and so does their cuisine. From fancy bistros to simple cafes, you can experience a range of delicious meals throughout the city at any time of the day. No matter what your preference is, there’s always a perfect French meal that will keep your taste buds satisfied. Happy dining!

Learn more about the traditional lunch options in Paris with this informative article, What Do Parisians Eat for Lunch?

Bon Appétit!

Now that you know what Parisians enjoy for lunch, why not try some of these dishes yourself? You can head over to a local café, bakery, or market in your area to explore some new tastes and textures. Who knows, you might even discover a new favorite dish or snack! Thanks for reading, and be sure to check back soon for more fun insights into Parisian culture and cuisine. À bientôt!

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