If you are planning to go to Paris you are going to want to know what a typical French breakfast is. The city is famous for its pastries, bread, and amazing coffee. So taking your time to have breakfast in Paris is definitely something that should be a must-do on your “to-do” list while in the city or France in general.
To be honest most Parisians don’t have a big breakfast. Usually, it’s a quick coffee and a croissant at home or on the way to work. (Although brunching is trendy now and you can find great spots to brunch on the weekend.) But taking into account the volume of patisseries overflowing with the most delicious croissants, you are very likely to end your stay in France with a serious addiction to this simple and typical French breakfast.
The traditional spot for breakfast in Paris is a sidewalk café or neighborhood bar. Very few bakeries serve coffee, but you are starting to see them more and more. “American-style” coffee shops are popping up everywhere and you can get a pastry and coffee in the same place. Some bakeries do have a few small tables and serve coffee and for sure the cost of your breakfast will be lower than in a café. Other days you may want to have breakfast in your hotel room or rented apartment. You just have to buy the croissants in a bakery and make your own coffee (or get one to go at spots that allow that). Whatever you choose, there is no better way to start your day!
Whatever you choose, there is no better way to start your day!
With all the great things available in the bakery it may be difficult to decide what you want, so a great way to start your French adventure is a typical croissant. You can never go wrong with a croissant. French croissant has the perfect balance of sweetness and puffiness, crispiness, and softness. It will melt in your mouth making you want another one as soon as you finish the first one. For the perfect croissant be sure to get the croissant au beurre (a croissant made with butter). Delicious!
But French bakeries have so many pastries to choose from, you can pick out a new treat every day. While each patisserie will have their own variations and unique creations, there is definitely a standard array of flaky, buttery treats you are sure to find at most bakeries around France. Besides the traditional croissant, other breakfast options you are likely to find are:
Pain au chocolat
A pain au chocolat is a croissant-type puff pastry containing a thick stripe of chocolate. Being one of French’s favorites, pain au chocolat is best when served hot with the chocolate melting into the pastry. I’m sure you are imagining it melting in your mouth right now…
Pain aux raisins/Escargot
This is a variant on the croissant or pain au chocolat, made with a leavened butter pastry shaped like a spiral and with some raisins and a crème pâtissière filling. On top, it has a thin layer of sugar or icing sugar.
Chausson aux Pommes
One of my favorites, this is another classic of French breakfast and it can be found at almost any bakery in France. It is made with a puff pastry crust much like a croissant and a filling akin to applesauce. They are best when served warm and there is just something so delicious about them that it makes them an all-time favorite treat.
Tartes are usually made with a thin, flat layer of puff pastry and topped with fruit. You will sometimes see a layer of custard in between the pastry and the fruit, but French tartes are always open-faced. You will find tartes of all sizes and fillings but it’s always better if you go for one that uses in-season fruit.
If all these delicious pastries are too sweet for you, another idea would be to grab a baguette, or a puffy brioche, and add some butter and jam on it. This is a great alternative to expensive hotel breakfasts and something you can find in bars and cafes. Typically it is served with fresh squeezed orange juice and coffee or tea. Definitely another great option.
How about you? Have you tried any of these beauties? What is your favorite French breakfast?
You may also enjoy the following posts:
You can also find great new breakfast spots in my friend Lindsey Tramuta’s book, The New Paris.
And if you are heading to Paris anytime soon, consider purchasing a Paris Pass before you go, it will save you money on many Paris attractions, leaving you more money for French pastries!