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What is the typical lunch in France?

The French are well known for their love of food! A mealtime in France is considered an opportunity to come together and enjoy each other's company. In this culture, tradition surrounds every aspect of the culinary experience.

French cuisine is steeped in ritual. The three meals of the day are at set times and tend to include a breakfast, a lunch and then a small dinner in the evening. We also have a snack around four pm with a nice coffee and a couple of biscuits. 

In this article, I want to give you a greater insight into what the typical lunch in France entails. 

Shall we get stuck in? 

Menu du jour

It's lunchtime in France and the menu du jour is available - a special fixed lunchtime menu. A typical French lunch will consist of: a starter (une entrée), such as soup or a mixed salad. Then there's the main course, which can be anything from meat to fish accompanied by potatoes or pasta! A cheese course is also common for good measure - it might include cheeses that are localised to certain regions and a fruit or a yoghurt to finish. 

For the French, lunchtime is serious business. This might sound like a lot of food for a lunchtime meal but the truth is, the French aren’t ones for snacking between meals. Plus, their lunch break is usually an hour long if not more. That's plenty of time to eat in peace!

 

Baguettes

Thanks to the busyness of our work lives, the idea of eating on the go has become an important part of French lunch cuisine. This is where baguettes are perfect as a grab-and-go meal. 

You can't beat a baguette fresh from the oven. In France, you’re never too far from a deli or boulangerie.  Just add your favourite toppings and you'll have one happy customer!


Crêpes

When you think of France, what comes to mind? For many people around the world a signature French dish is a delicious warm crêpe. This thin pancake is cooked on top of hotplates with butter so it won't stick and takes only about two minutes to cook! Sweet ones generally use wheat flour while savoury ones make use of non-wheat like buckwheat. 

Savoury crêpes are a delicious and filling meal. They can be filled with any ingredients you like, such as cheese, ham, mushrooms and various other types of fresh ingredients.

For those who prefer something sweeter, they can be filled or topped with chocolate spread, maple syrup or jam for a sweet alternative.


Quiche

Quiche is a breakfast dish in the far west, but it's more common for lunch all across France. 

Quiche is a delicious, egg-based "pie" that usually contains veggies and cheese on top of shortcrust pastry. When the French enjoy their lunchtime quiche with friends or family, they do so with a fresh salad as well as bread to soak up all those delicious juices from the vinaigrette (ie: French dressing).


Wine

Finally, the French are known for their love of wine, and they often enjoy a small glass during lunchtime. You might be surprised to know that in French culture, it is not unusual for teenagers to enjoy a very small glass of red wine cut with water at the dinner table. 

Despite common beliefs, French people do not drink a lot of wine. They drink small quantities of wine during a meal and they prefer to enjoy an expensive glass of wine rather than a full bottle of cheap wine. 

Quality over quantity!