The French Breakfast
Start your mornings right the Parisian way.
It will only take a few mornings in Paris for you to realize that the French do not eat breakfast like Americans. Forget eggs, bacon, and toast smothered in butter and strawberry jam, and obviously second breakfast of Cinnamon Toast Crunch is out the window (but let’s be honest, we’re eating that just for the cereal milk). Instead think croissants, quiche, and orange juice. It may sound a bit too simple, like how are you expected to galavant the streets of Paris on glorified egg pie? Don’t worry, there’s always a baguette for purchase on every corner if you get hangry.
And while it might be tempting to just skip breakfast all together (yes, I’m talking to you “iced coffee IS breakfast” people) to more quickly get to your scheduled activities, a midday sugar crash is the last thing you’d want touring The Eiffel Tower. So consider this your guide to le petit déjeuner français (aka the French breakfast).
Croissants: The famous, flaky bread puffs are a french staple for breakfast. Chocolate filled or not, you cannot go wrong with an authentic french croissant. While everyone wants to know where the best, most authentic croissants are found in the city, I say discover it for yourself! Any place that sells croissants probably makes them fresh and delicious and significantly better than anywhere you could find in the US.
Here are a few places to start your search:
Orange juice: I’m a huge fan of du jus d’orange, so don’t get me wrong, I love America’s sugar laden version. But there is something to be said for the way that French orange juice tastes. The only rational explanation is that it is fresh. I mean, you can even watch the whole oranges fall into the machine at certain cafés. C’est incroyable.
Quiche: While quiches are fairly widespread in the United States, they are a much more popular source of morning protein for the French (probably to make up for their lack of sausage, bacon, and ham). The beauty of this breakfast dish is that it is customizable to your wildest imagination. If you make them at home, which is much easier than you may think, throw whatever you like in them, and it’s sure to turn out delicious. Popular combinations you can find are ham and cheese, feta and roasted tomato, and various vegetable blends.
Espresso: If you don’t want to give away your tourist status right away, you will learn to drink espresso. Pour Over coffee is not something to ask for at any restaurant or café in Paris and don’t even let the word frappuccino cross your lips lest you wish to feel the greatest shame. Traditionally, espresso is served after a meal as a digestif, but it is a widely accepted breakfast beverage as well. If you order it, a tiny cup and spoon will be produced along with whatever sweeteners are available. While shooting it back is acceptable, especially when you take it to go, most leisurely Parisians will sip theirs while sitting back to ponder the day ahead.