The French Quintessential Breakfast

Every morning, before we head off to our activity of the day around the Louvre area, we would stop by this corner cafe up in rue de Rivoli. We found this cafe by chance when we arrived at the Louvre early one morning and the cafe was the only one open.

A waiter came over for our order and we asked him “What’s for breakfast?” He nodded and asked what we wanted to drink. My daughter ordered hot chocolate and I ordered cafe au lait.

Those were the only information he needed. He didn’t even give us a menu. Ten minutes later, he came back with these gorgeous croissants that were flaky on the outside, soft and buttery on the inside. That was probably the most delicious croissant I’ve had in Paris. I know, I know, many people would say “It’s more delicious here or there” but the moment the croissant touched my tongue, I was a fan forever. Even my difficult to please daughter agreed.


I know however, that a croissant is made of several layers of dough and butter folded many times, and with still seven days in Paris, I wouldn’t survive eating croissants for breakfast everyday. It would be detrimental to my waist and thighs.

So it was nice to find out that I could actually have a less sinful bread option which was a baguette. Normally, they serve the baguette not warmed which gives it a very hard chewy texture. So I learned to request nicely from the waiters to please warm the baguette for me, and with it I would request for butter and jam.

Apparently, French breakfast is the least important meal of the day. They call it le petit dejeuner or small/light lunch. Most locals would just eat plain croissant and espresso. But if you are not used to really strong coffee like their espresso, you’d better order what you are used to like cappuccino, cafe au lait, hot chocolate, and hey you can even toss in the orange juice.

A tourist like me, for example, who has a lot of walking to do needs more sustenance than that. So on other days, aside from my plain croissant, I would order an omelette or ham on the side. Definitely if there were locals around, they would be able to tell I was a tourist because they do not eat savory foods for breakfast.

So when you visit Paris, try the quintessential French breakfast for a day or two for experience. But as a Filipino telling other Pinoys, I’m telling you that you cannot survive on croissant and coffee alone especially if you have to walk hours and hours of tours the whole day. So be yourself! Do not be afraid to order what you want. Never mind if sometimes the waiter finds it amusing that you ordered an omelette or something not on the menu. What’s important is that your stomach is happy and contented, and ready to conquer Paris.