Breakfast is a classic part of French culture, from buttery croissants to freshly baked baguettes. Although a traditional English fry-up is a staple of British culture, it is a far cry from the French’s sweet, decadent breakfasts, making them so sort after.
So, whether you’re looking to make your breakfasts a little more interesting or you just want to try something new, a traditional French breakfast might be just what you need.
4 Things You Need To Know About Breakfast In France
Before we delve into some delicious French breakfast ideas, you need to understand what a typical French breakfast looks like. They are:
- Usually small; This is common among many French breakfasts, and they will often have a bigger lunch to make up for it, followed by a smaller dinner.
- Usually sweet; Sweet is the key here. Although you will find some savoury French breakfasts, for on-the-go, sweet is normally preferred.
- Not the most important meal of the day; In England, we’ve been told for years that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But in France, it has always, and always will be, lunch.
- Not to be had without coffee; While wine is a must with every other meal of the day, coffee is the alternative at breakfast, and it is a common necessity to have every morning.
If you’re interested in what the French eat for lunch you can check out our recent post, Eat Like The French: French Meals For a Three-Course Lunch.
5 French Breakfast Ideas
A true icon of French breakfasts. Croissants might well be one of the most versatile breakfast dishes around. Not only can it be quick, with you able to just pop it in your bag or pocket if you’re on the go, but it can also be sweet or savoury. The variety of flavours is ridiculous, you’ve got:
- Pain au chocolat; The sweet, flaky and indulgent chocolate option,
- Croissant aux amandes; The sweet, nutty almond-filled and topped version.
- Croissant au jambon et fromage; The savoury ham and cheese version that is just scrumptious when warmed through
- Or there is the plain Croissant, lightly smeared with butter or jam.
This is probably why it has stood the test of time, and its popularity has expanded outside of just France, where it is held up like a symbol of their culture.
A little more time-consuming breakfast dish (by French standards anyway), Crepes are like a sweet, delicious blank canvas on which you can paint your morning masterpiece. And by that, we mean you can cover it in whatever topping you want to make whatever meal you feel like.
There are two types of Crepes;
Crepes Sucrees; Sweet Crepes that are typically covered with toppings like sugar, jam, nutella or fresh fruits.
Crepe Salees; These are savoury Crepes that are typically covered in cheeses, hams, eggs and even some vegetables like mushrooms and spinach.
When it comes to breakfast, you won’t see too many French people eat the Crepes Salees. Instead, they’ll indulge their sweet tooth with Crepe Sucrees.
If you’re looking for the quintessential on-the-go French meal for breakfast, then Brioche has to be your first choice. For decades, the French have been grabbing brioches from cafes and supermarkets and sticking them in their bag for when they’ve got 5 minutes.
The fact that it’s a quick and light bite doesn’t mean it’s not delicious though. It’s rich, deep buttery flavours are one of the reasons that it’s still the go-to quick breakfast bite for the French.
Top Tip: To truly eat like the French, combine your brioche with some fresh Orange Juice from a brand like Pressade or Jus de Marmande.
4 French Toast
It’s sort of in the name, isn’t it? This French-born breakfast is a little more decadent and a lot more calorific – which is pretty French in itself. For those that haven’t had the pleasure, French Toast (also known as “pain perdu”) are thick slices of bread dipped in a mix of egg, milk, sugar and vanilla extract and then lightly fried – usually in butter. The end result is the rich, sort of sweet sort of savoury bread that can be slathered in maple syrup and covered in bacon.
5 Fruit, yoghurts and cheese
We go from one extreme to the other. For those looking for something a little healthier, the French will frequently enjoy fruit, yoghurts and cheeses for breakfast. As you can probably tell by now, the French like to keep breakfast simple, and they’ll often have a bit of fruit and yoghurt together, sometimes with cereal like muesli or will enjoy some light cheese with bread.
Now you can make the most of any breakfast with these French breakfast ideas. A French-style breakfast is perfect for anyone with a sweet tooth or who may like to keep things simple in the morning. Whether it’s a decadent pastry or a fresh bowl of fruit and yoghurt, with these ideas, you’ll be enjoying breakfast like the French in no time.
You can also take a look at our recent blog post on ‘Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner – The Everyday French Cuisine’.