A Guide to French Food and Eating in France

Le petit dejeuner (breakfast) often consists of ‘Tartines’ (slices) of bread, Baguette or Croissants with jam and chocolate spread or slices of ham, cheese and boiled egg. Alternatively popular pastries to eat at Breakfast include Pain au Chocolat (filled with chocolate) or Pain au Raison (filled with raisins and custard). Adults tend to drink coffee or tea whilst children often drink Hot Chocolate in bowls. Cereals are mostly eaten by children and tend not to be favoured by adults.

Le dejeuner (lunch) is an institution in its own right in France and occurs between the hours of 12pm and 2pm when the majority of people will stop for a full two hour 法國果汁 break. Restaurants will normally open at 12pm and close at 2.30pm. In larger companies and in schools lunch is eaten in a cafeteria which serves complete meals. In most schools children are provided with a 3 course meal and are not given an option but eat from a set weekly menu. Many workers in France, such as lorry drivers, are provided with lunch vouchers which can be used in many restaurants and supermarkets.

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Le diner (dinner) is usually a family affair in France with most children having a snack after school at 4.30pm and then eating with their families later in the evening. Dinner normally consists of three courses starting with the ‘Hors d’oeuvre’ which is often soup followed by the ‘Plat Principal’, the main course. The meal is finished with a cheese course or dessert which may be something simple such as a piece of fruit or a Yogurt. Restaurants mainly open at 7pm and will stop taking orders between 10pm and 11pm. Many restaurants are closed on Sunday evenings.

France produces and consumes the most amount of wine per person every year in the world behind Italy. However, wine consumption has decreased by 50% since the 1960s with beer and cider becoming more popular. Other popular drinks include ‘Pastis’ an aniseed flavoured drink. However, wine and water is normally served with both lunch and dinner.

Restaurants are open only around mealtimes and are often closed one day of the week. You can choose food from a printed menu which, by law, has to include a prix-fixe menu (a set menu). Very few restaurants offer vegetarian options.

Bistros are smaller than restaurants and you will find the menu us given to you verbally from the waiter or using a chalk board. They tend to feature regional cuisine. Bistrot a Vin are similar to Tavernes offering inexpensive alcohol drinks. They may provide food like a bistro or alternatively just offer simple snacks such as cheese and sausage.

Brasseries were set up in the 1870s by refugees from Alsace Lorraine and serve beers and wines from the Alsace region along with regional foods such as Sauerkraut. Most Brasseries are open all day along with local Bars which also serve cocktails, pastis, beer and wine.

You will find a Cafe in virtually every place in France no matter how small. Tables and chairs are often set outside where customers can enjoy hot, cold and alcoholic drinks as well as snacks such as croque-monsieur and moules frites. Cafes usually open early in the morning and shut around 9pm. Salon de Thes are similar to cafes found in the rest of the world and do not serve alcohol. They open for lunch until late afternoon and serve hot drinks, cakes and snacks.

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