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Le Petite Déjeuner

Updated: 4 days ago

Ever wonder what a French breakfast consists of? Or have you been to France only to find that the breakfasts at hotel were all labeled “American” and wondered why?

The French breakfast, or Le Petite Déjeuner, as the French say, is nothing like what a typical American would eat. To us, when we hear breakfast we think of a big spread of eggs, bacon, toast, waffles, and bagels, to name a few. We even have several restaurant chains that serve breakfast all day!


The French typically have a coffee, espresso, juice, or hot chocolate, with a madeleine, croissant. Yet sometimes they have nothing at all! The French word for breakfast, le petite déjeuner means little lunch and is not looked at as an important part of the starting of the day.


Thus, you can surmise that for the French ‘le petite déjeuner’ is not looked at as an important part of starting the day. Typically, what is eaten is sweet, and may be a small pastry, cheese, or fruit. No eggs, pancakes, or fancy breakfast panini. They are on the move first thing, so they tend to grab something simple and quick before or during morning errands, work, or activities. Food is an incredibly important part of French culture, so just because it is quick doesn’t mean that the quality of what they eat is sacrificed.


Instead, lunch or déjeuner, is the larger, more emphasized meal. For lunch, as well as dinner they spend a great deal of time enjoying the flavors and aromas of the food, often having several (starting light and small) courses. Nonetheless, when things are busy, the French will also eat variations of grab and go meals from the bakery or deli. Often this comes in the form of sandwiches. This still doesn’t mean that they do not take the time to enjoy it!