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What is a traditional breakfast in Paris?

Paris is known worldwide for its diverse and rich culinary culture, and breakfast is no exception. Whether you’re a local or a tourist in the city, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and it’s always a good idea to start your day with a traditional Parisian breakfast. You’ll find that a typical Parisian breakfast is simple yet delicious, and it’s a great way to experience French cuisine while getting energized for the busy day ahead. So, what exactly is a traditional breakfast in Paris, and what makes it so special and different from other breakfasts around the world? Let’s dive in and find out!

The Traditional Parisian Breakfast: A True Gastronomic Delight

Paris conjures up images of the Eiffel Tower, the Champs-Élysées, and of course, the Arc de Triomphe. But what is often overlooked is the rich and delicious gastronomic heritage of the city. One such aspect of this culinary tradition is the traditional Parisian breakfast. Comprising of a plethora of delectable delights, the Parisian breakfast is sure to leave you with a happy heart, a full belly, and an eagerness to explore more of the city.

A Brief Introduction to Parisian Breakfast

The French take breakfast seriously, and Paris is no exception. The traditional Parisian breakfast, also known as ‘petit dejeuner,’ is a meal that comprises of a selection of croissants, bread, butter, jam, coffee, and fresh fruit. While the components of the breakfast may appear simple, it’s the quality and freshness of the ingredients that make the experience unforgettable.

Croissants: A Staple of Parisian Breakfast

Who can forget the buttery, flaky, and delicious croissant when it comes to Parisian breakfast? Croissant, a crescent-shaped pastry, is an iconic Parisian token. With its crisp, golden exterior and soft, buttery interior, it’s a treat like no other. Croissants are best enjoyed fresh, hot, and with an ample supply of creamy butter and jam.

Bread: The Cornerstone of French Cuisine

Bread is a staple of French cuisine, and Parisian breakfast is no exception. The French take bread seriously, and the Parisian boulangeries (bread shops) produce some of the most delectable bread in the world. Crusty baguettes, fluffy brioche, and soft pain de mie are just a few of the varieties of bread that you can expect to see on the breakfast table.

Butter and Jam: The Perfect Combo

No Parisian breakfast is complete without butter and jam. French butter, known for its high butterfat content, is creamy, rich, and distinctly flavorful. Spread over a piece of fresh, crispy bread, it’s a little slice of heaven. Paired with a variety of jams made from seasonal fruits, it’s a match made in heaven.

Coffee: A Cup of Parisian History

The French take their coffee seriously, and the Parisian café culture is a testament to this. The traditional Parisian breakfast is incomplete without a cup of rich, flavorful coffee. Black, strong, and served in a petit cup, it’s a drink that will kick start your day and keep you going.

Hot Chocolate: A Sinful Indulgence

If coffee isn’t your cup of tea (pun intended), try the Parisian hot chocolate. Rich, thick, and decadent, it’s a drink that will make you want to linger over breakfast. Made from high-quality cocoa and milk, it’s a sinful indulgence that is sure to leave you feeling satisfied.

Fresh Fruit: A Healthy and Refreshing Addition

To balance out the rich and calorie-laden items on the breakfast menu, fresh fruit is served alongside the meal. A colorful and vibrant assortment of seasonal fruits such as oranges, apples, and strawberries, it’s a healthy and refreshing addition to the breakfast plate.

Yogurt: A Light yet Satisfying Option

For those who prefer a light yet satisfying option, yogurt is often served as part of the breakfast. Rich, creamy, and slightly tangy, it’s a great accompaniment to fresh fruit and croissants.

Eggs: A Gourmet Addition

Eggs are not a typical part of the traditional Parisian breakfast, but they do make an appearance on occasion. Whether boiled, poached, or scrambled, it’s a gourmet addition that elevates the breakfast experience.


The traditional Parisian breakfast is not just a meal; it’s a celebration of French culinary heritage. A perfect combination of simple yet high-quality ingredients, it’s a gastronomic delight that will leave you wanting more. From buttery croissants to rich coffee and fresh fruit, it’s a breakfast experience that you won’t want to miss. So, the next time you are in Paris, make sure to indulge in this delectable tradition.

What Makes a Traditional Parisian Breakfast?

When it comes to Parisian breakfast, there are certain elements that make it unique and different from other breakfasts. Here are the things that make up a typical Parisian breakfast.

croissant Croissants and Pastries

One of the most iconic elements of a Parisian breakfast is the buttery and flaky croissant. Croissants are made of laminated dough that is rolled, folded, and layered with butter to create the flaky texture that we all love. In addition to croissants, you will also find various pastries like pain au chocolat, brioche, and chausson aux pommes (apple turnovers) in every Parisian bakery.

coffee Coffee

Parisians love their coffee, and you will find that a cup of coffee is an essential part of a Parisian breakfast. While there are many coffee shops in Paris that offer a range of specialty coffee drinks, a classic café au lait (coffee with milk) is the most popular.

baguette Baguette

A crusty baguette is another staple of a Parisian breakfast. Parisians love to tear off a piece of baguette and dip it in their coffee or tea. You will find that every bakery in Paris makes their own baguette, and there are even competitions held to determine the best baguette in the city.

egg Eggs

Eggs are also a common element in a Parisian breakfast. You can find them served in a variety of ways, including boiled, scrambled, or in an omelette. Omelettes are especially popular and can be filled with options like cheese, ham, or mushrooms.

orange Orange Juice

Freshly squeezed orange juice is a refreshing accompaniment to a Parisian breakfast. You will find that many cafes and restaurants in Paris offer freshly squeezed orange juice on their menu.

jam Jams and Spreads

Parisians love to spread various jams and spreads on their croissants and bread. You will find a variety of jams like raspberry and apricot in every Parisian bakery, and Nutella is also a popular spread.

yogurt Yogurt

Yogurt is a healthy and tasty addition to a Parisian breakfast. You can find various brands and flavors of yogurt in every grocery store and supermarket in Paris.

cheese Cheese

Cheese is an essential part of French cuisine, and it is often served at breakfast. You will find a variety of cheeses like brie, camembert, and goat cheese on the breakfast menu in many Parisian cafes and restaurants.

pancake Pancakes

While pancakes are not a traditional Parisian breakfast item, they are becoming more popular in many cafes and restaurants. You can often find pancakes on the menu served with fresh fruit, syrup, or whipped cream.

tea Tea

While coffee is the most popular beverage at breakfast, tea is also a common option. You will find a variety of teas like Earl Grey, jasmine, and green tea on the menu at many Parisian cafes and restaurants.

Typical Components of a Parisian Breakfast

When it comes to breakfast in Paris, the food culture is vastly different from what you may be accustomed to in other parts of the world. You can expect an array of fresh pastries, buttery croissants, and hearty bread, along with a cup of coffee or tea. In this section, we will take a closer look at each of these components.

Fresh Pastries

Fresh pastries are a staple of the Parisian diet and are often enjoyed as part of a traditional breakfast. Whether you prefer a flaky butter croissant or a chocolatine (also known as a pain au chocolat), these pastries are sure to satisfy your sweet tooth. Locals often head to their local boulangerie (bakery) to pick up their favorite morning treat.

Croissant and Pain au Chocolat

Buttery Croissants

Of all the pastries available in Paris, croissants are perhaps the most iconic. These flaky, buttery treats are a true indulgence and pair perfectly with a cup of coffee or tea. The key to a good croissant is in the layers: bakers create hundreds of thin layers of pastry and butter, which rise to create the signature flaky texture.

Hearty Bread

Bread is a staple of the French diet and is a must-have at breakfast. A popular choice is the baguette, which is a long, thin loaf of bread with a crispy crust and a soft interior. Other favorites include the pain de campagne (a rustic country-style loaf) and the brioche (a sweet, buttery bread).

Coffee or Tea

No breakfast in Paris would be complete without a hot beverage. You can choose from a variety of coffee drinks, including café au lait (coffee with milk) and espresso. Tea is also a popular choice, with many locals reaching for a cup of the fragrant Earl Grey or Darjeeling.

Other Breakfast Foods

While bread and pastries are the backbone of a traditional Parisian breakfast, other foods can be enjoyed as well. Yogurt with fruit and granola, soft-boiled eggs with bacon, and seasonal fruit are all popular choices. In fact, many Parisians prefer a lighter breakfast than what is typically served in other parts of the world.

Pastries Bread Coffee/Tea
Croissant Baguette Café au lait
Pain au chocolat Pain de campagne Espresso
Brioche N/A Tea

As you can see, a traditional breakfast in Paris is a truly unique experience. From the fresh pastries to the hearty bread, this meal is a celebration of the country’s rich culinary heritage. So why not indulge in a Parisian breakfast during your next trip to the City of Light?

Discover the recommended dishes for a classic French breakfast by reading this informative article.

Say Bon Appétit to Parisian Breakfasts

I hope this article has given you a delicious insight into what a traditional breakfast in Paris looks like. From croissants to baguettes, and from coffee to hot chocolate, there’s something for everyone. So next time you’re in the city of love, be sure to add some of these breakfast spots to your itinerary. Merci beaucoup for reading, and don’t forget to check back for more tasty tips and articles on the wonderful world of food. À bientôt!

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