French Traditional Food & Facts About Typical Meals People Eat In France

France is famous for its cuisine with the French People recognized worldwide for their passionate enjoyment of food.  Meals can be as simple as a traditional baguette with cheese and ham for breakfast up to extravagant lunch or dinner involving so many courses with a varied drink for each course. So, What Do The French People Really Eat ???

And have you already visited France and tried the strangest but most delicious dishes of French food, Tell us about it?

Traditional French Lunch Meals

What Do The French Eat For Breakfast Lunch And Dinner

Traditional French Breakfast Meals

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).

French food for kids at Breakfast

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 favored by adults.

How Many Types Of French Bread Are There

What Do People In France Eat For Lunch

Le dejeuner (lunch) is an institution in its own right in France and occurs between the hours of 12 pm and 2 pm when the majority of people will stop for a full two-hour break.  Restaurants will normally open at 12 pm and close at 2.30 pm.

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 to 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.

Traditional French Dinner Meals

Le diner (dinner) is usually a family affair in France with most children having a snack after school at 4.30 pm 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 7 pm and will stop taking orders between 10 pm and 11 pm.  Many restaurants are closed on Sunday evenings.

French Style Cooking Techniques

Each region of France has its own unique traditions in how food is prepared and what ingredients are used.  There are four general approaches to French cooking;

  • Cuisine Bourgeoise – also know as Classical French.  These are rich and filling dishes that are often cream-based.  The recipes were once seen as regional but are now seen all over France.
  • Haute Cuisine – classic French food at its most sophisticated.  Generally, the food is elegant, elaborate, and rich and is characterized by an emphasis on presentation, the large portions, and the heavy use of the cream.
  • Cuisine Nouvelle – this developed in the 1970s in a movement against the classical style.  These dishes have an emphasis on local ingredients and simplicity with smaller portions and lighter flavors.
  • Cuisine du Terroir – regional specialty dishes with a focus on local produce and traditions.  This style of cooking is currently the most popular in France.

Where to Eat in France

There is an abundance of places to eat in France.

  1. 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.
  2. Bistros are smaller than restaurants and you will find the menu given to you verbally from the waiter or using a chalkboard.  They tend to feature regional cuisine. Bistrot a Vin is similar to Tavernes offering inexpensive alcoholic drinks.  They may provide food like a bistro or alternatively just offer simple snacks such as cheese and sausage.
  3. 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, pastas, beer, and wine.
  4. 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 9 pm.
  5. 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.

Basic French Words For Food Search

Basic French Words For Food Search

French gastronomy is one of the finest in the world. Even if you don’t speak French if they don’t think it’s that it’s too hard to learn… Still, if you are wondering what to eat on a visit to France and what are the typical dishes of French gastronomy, there are many delicious recipes that you can try on a trip.

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If you want to know what to order and how to fin eateries, here are some of the most Basic French Words For Food & Meals Search to review and comprehend when you looking at the menu…

1. La nourriture / The food
2. Les aliments (m) / The food
3. Le pain / Bread
4. La salade / Salad
5. La viande / Meat
6. Le poulet / Chicken
7. Le poisson / Fish
8. L ‘hamburger (m) / Hamburgesa
9. Les legumes (m) / Vegetables
10. Les frites (f) / French fries
11. Le riz / Rice
12. Le coffee / Coffee
13. Le thé / Tea
14.Le lait / Milk
15. L’eau (f) / Water
16. Le vin / Wine
17. Le fruit / Fruit
18. Le jus de fruit / Fruit Juice
19. L’orange (f) / Orange
20. La banane / Banana
21. La pomme / Apple
22. La glace à la vanille / Vanilla Ice Cream
23. Le chocolat / Chocolate
24. Le gâteau / Cake

Additional french food names

  • à la plancha (Grilled)
  • Flétan (Halibut)
  • Agneau (Lamb)
  • Foie (Liver)
  • Ananas (Pineapple)
  • Fraises (Strawberries)
  • Anguilles (Eel)
  • Framboise (Raspberry)
  • Araignée de Mer (Sea Spider)   Homard (Lobster)
  • Autruche (Ostrich)
  • Huîtres (Oysters)
  • Au Four (Oven Roasted/Baked)   Langouste (Spiny Lobster)
  • Bar (Sea Bass)
  • Langoustine (Scampi if fried)
  • Bien Cuite (Well cooked/done)
  • Lapin (Rabbit)
  • Bifteck (Steak)
  • Légumes (Vegetables)
  • Bigorneaux (Winkles/Periwinkle)
  • Lièvre (Hare)
  • Bœuf (Beef)
  • Lotte/Baudroie (Monkfish)
  • Bœuf Haché (Beef Mince)   Moules (Mussels)
  • Bulots/Buccin (Whelks)
  • Mûre (Blackberry)
  • Cabillaud (Cod)   Noix de Coco (Coconut)
  • Cacahuète/Noix(Peanut/Nut)   Oie (Goose)
  • Caille (Quail)   Palourdes/Praire (Clams)
  • Canard (Duck)
  • Pamplemousse (Grapefruit)
  • Capon (Castrated Cockrel)
  • Pâtes (Pasta)
  • Carabinerois(Giant red prawn)
  • Pile (Plaice)
  • Cerises (Cherries)
  • Pintade (Guinea Fowl)
  • Cheval (Horse)
  • Poireau (Leek)
  • Chèvre (Goat)
  • Pomme (Apple)
  • Cuisses de Grenouilles(Frogs Legs)
  • Poulet (Chicken)
  • Chevreuil (Venison)
  • Prune (Plum)
  • Cornichon (Gherkin)   Riz (Rice)
  • Côte (Chop)
  • Rognons (Kidney)
  • Côtelette (Loin Chop)
  • Rotî (Roasted)
  • Crevettes/Gambas (Shrimps/Prawns)
  • Rougets (Red Mullet)
  • Dinde (Turkey)   Saint-Pierre (John Dory)
  • Écrevisse (Crayfish)
  • Sanglier (Wild Boar)
  • Églefin (Haddock)
  • Seiche (Cuttlefish)
  • Encornet (Squid)
  • Steak Haché (Beef Burger)
  • Espadon (Swordfish)   Thon (Tuna)
  • Faisan (Pheasant)
  • Thon Rouge Snacké (Stingray)
  • Farci (Stuffed)

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what do people in france eat

What Kind Of Food Do They Eat In France

Traditional French Food

If you like exquisite culinary venture, don’t miss the chance to try Traditional French Food. It is deemed to be one of the most delicious cuisines in the world. And it even goes ways beyond the typical stereotype of a Frenchman eating cheese and a baguette or drinking a lot, the typical French cooking goes much further.

Here are some of the most famous French dishes preferred by its citizens. Ready to taste the best French gastronomy? Let’s start!

  • Croissant

The buttery smell of a freshly baked French croissant can literally enlighten your day and positively change your mood. It is the perfect start for an energetic sunny day. Even the similar french pastry called brioche with a cup of a café au lait.

Note: Just ask about the prices before you order, especially in Paris, because breakfast as basic as this can be very pricey.

  • La soupe à l’oignon –  Onion soup

It sounds much chicer than ” onion soup ” and the truth is that it tastes much better than one would expect. This is one of the best dishes in French cuisine and is a symbolic plate of the traditional French menu. It was inspired during the tight times of the French Revolution when only basic ingredients were available.

Although in the past it was common among the most humble families, today it is one of the protagonists of every letter that is respected. The onions are slowly cooked till caramelized in butter and oil and, then served in the bowls, with a slice of toasted bread with cheese and jam. You will lick your fingers how rich it is!

  • The Raclette

Actually, a type of formerly Swizz cheese, and then adopted by the French and is now consumed throughout France regularly. The peculiarity of this dish is that it incorporates a machine that heats up the special cheese to melt it. It is then mixed with potatoes and cold cuts.

  • Le Gratin Dauphinoise

A traditional recipe from the Dauphiné region in the French Alp. It is a dish prepared of thinly sliced baked in a generous amount of full milk or fresh cream or a mix of both. Additionally, a lot of cheese and champignons are added if desired… The French can’t live with their cheese, yum yum!

  • Ratatouille

One of the most popular French dishes. It is a recipe for stewed vegetables. It is a dish that is traditionally prepared in the south of France. It is also a very nutritional recipe that combines many types of freshly sliced vegetables such as tomatoes, garlic, peppers, zucchini, and eggplants in addition to a Provencal spice mix.

It can be served as a first course or as a garnish for meat and fish. It is originally from the Provence region.

If you would like to try it out in your kitchen, slice and season all the vegetable first, then arrange them in whatever shape you like. Just make sure to put the ones that cook the longest in the bottom followed accordingly. Simple to cook yet, a recipe to brag.

  • Moules Frites

A very popular dish chiefly in Belgium and northern France. As the name implies, it is made of mussels served with delicious french fries. It is cooked with lots of onion and cheese sauces. Most of the restaurants use limitless supplies of mussels and most of them have it on their menus.

  • Foie Gras

What Do The French Eat For Christmas Holidays? Foie Gras is a course eaten primarily during Christmas times. It is made from the fattened duck or goose liver after overfeeding the birds to get it. Served mostly with bread and marmalade, foie gras is an element of the cultural heritage and one of the excellent illustrations of the most genuine French gastronomy.

  • Les Escargots de Bourgogne

Although it is a famous dish in France, it is not always easy to find. If you overcome the moment of shock (it is snails with parsley, garlic, baked butter) you will enjoy a true delicacy.

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The French do like their snails. Some of the top-quality snails come from the Bourgogne region and are prepared with a multitude of methods. The famously known recipe is prepared with butter, parsley, and garlic mayo.

  • Cassoulet

In a region of France that borders Catalonia, the Languedoc, and the Midi-Pyrenees, there is a very nutritious standard dish. This is the Cassoulet, a must-try French specialty if you ever visit this part of ​​France, which has many fascinating destinations, such as Carcassonne with its castle and La citê or Sigean with its open-air zoo.

  • Les Cuisses De Grenouilles

France is the main world’s consumer of frog legs. Although it is spreading more and more, and this dish begins to appear in more European eateries. To cook them, it is imperative to well-coat them in flour. Then add salt, parsley, and butter for a delightful result!

  • Boeuf Bourguignon

It is a traditional food of French cuisine. One of the recipes most cherished by French as well as foreigners. The meat is cooked over low heat for several hours. It is an intense and very rich dish.

It owes its name to its two key ingredients: beef and wine, two emblematic of Burgundy. It is stewed beef in Burgundy red wine, garlic, onion, herbs, and mushrooms.

  • Coq Au Vin

Another well-known stew in French cuisine is Coq Au Vin, which is nothing more than simmered chicken slowly cooked wine. It has many ingredients such as carrots, onions, shallots, garlic, and, of course, large chicken pieces, and wine.

Chicken with wine is as simple as it is pleasing: it is a chicken stew that is “immersed” in large amounts of wine (usually red). It is usually cooked with lots of onions as well.

  • Pot-Au-Feu

What Do The French Eat For Christmas Holidays?  Pot-au-feu is a traditional French dish, made with beef cooked in a brew supplemented with vegetables and fragrant herbs. An ancestral meal of rustic and humble origin, representative of the French food of the farmers for centuries, sometimes also made in a vegetarian version.

  • The “Grattons”

The “Grattons” is a traditional Lyonnais dish of northwestern France. They are ordinarily served as an aperitif or alongside a salad. It’s simply pieces of salted fried meat, usually pork, goose, or turkey, fried animal fat.

  • Bouillabaisse

The bouillabaisse or fish soup is a typical dish of Provence. It is a soup cooked with various types of crustaceans and shellfish such as moray eels, conger eel, red mullet, crabs, monkfish, scampi … it is usually eaten together with well-toasted slices of bread and a drizzle of olive oil.

  • Bourride

It is another shellfish soup, but be careful not to confuse bourride with bouillabaisse, any Frenchman could be offended, especially if he is from Marseille. The Marseilles bourride has a very ancient origin long before the bouillabaisse. The difference between the two, primarily, is the seasonings, which are not used in the bourride, and the different types of fish used.

This recipe usually uses white fish, such as whiting, ray, mullet … And the final touch is the aioli sauce.

  • Oursinades

There are two typical French dishes named Oursinade (“oursin” is sea urchin in French). The “oursinades” is simply a plate of fresh, open sea urchins, which are eaten with a drizzle of freshly squeezed lemon juice.

The same name also indicates a more refined and flavorful dish of French gastronomy: “Une crème d’oursin” a sea urchin cream prepared from a white fish broth to which a sea urchin puree is added.

  • Macaron

Almond, egg white, and sugar are just the very basic ingredients to prepare the renowned macaron, one of the finest among the desserts in France, which are baked and then filled with cream.

It a meringue-based,  light-textured yet rich almondy flavored is what distinguishes it. They are usually displayed like pieces of artwork in vivid colors, which contributes to making them even more mouthwatering. It’s real delight to try them with coffee or tea, or at the end of a pleasant French meal.

  • Crepes

It is a world popular French specialty originally from Bretagnethe north of France: . But now, all of France tastes these crêpes! You can make dinner as a main dish the salty crêpes (put whatever you want inside: mushrooms, meat, cheese sauce …) or as dessert sweet crêpes with fruits, ice cream (yes, as you hear!), Nutella, jam … Between the sweet tooth of typical French food.

Who has never eaten a crepe? They are delicious and in France even more: there is a sweet version (like the one with sugar, cream, and strawberries …) or salty (like the one with ham and cheese). They will get you out of trouble on more than one occasion as they are one of the richest and cheapest meals in all of France.

  • Tarte Tatin

One of the most typical French desserts, this upside-down apple pie is strikingly delicious. The apples underneath get so sweet and caramelized in the butter-sugar mixture. They say the invention of this unique technique was actually by mistake. Finger crossed for more of such divine mistakes.

  • Duck confit

What a delight! The preparation time for this magnificent recipe usually takes up to 36 hours! So it is not really considered a humble or low-cost dish, but it is absolutely worth trying even once in a lifetime. Duck confit is a meal made with duck legs that are seasoned and poached in its pure melted duck fat. The result is heavenly!

  • Quiche Lorraine

It is a symbolic dish of the Alsace region and consists of a rich tart made with shortcrust patisserie, a cream sauce of milk and eggs, seasoned with nutmeg and pepper, to which bits of bacon are combined. Today there are numberless modifications of quiche lorraine and you can see delicious tarts satisfying all palates.

  • Traditional French Products: Baguettes and Cheeses

The baguette is not an uncomplicated loaf. No-no-no. Crispy, appetizing, crisp yet soft like a cloud from the inside. A properly-prepared baguette is a mouthful of happiness and in France, it is not hard to find bakeries that make them properly.

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And since you have it, it is best to accompany them with their friend, a good piece of cheese. On the French food list, you can see more than 300 varieties of cheeses.

  • Chestnut

The island of Corsica in France has always had a very rich inherent history that is very distinctive from any other French region. And the Corsican food culture is simply exceptional. The chestnut is the staple food of the Corsican menu and on the island, it is ordinarily eaten in a form similar to the famous Italian polenta. A traditional dish of porridge brewed with the chestnut meal and saltwater that is consumed alongside other courses instead of bread, usually with meat as brocciu.

Daily life in France: French breakfast, dejeuner, evenings, Sundays

As if time had stood still – this is how foreigners prefer to see life in France.

  • A baker who makes fresh croissants early in the morning.
  • A 2CV that traverses gently over a country road with plane trees.
  • Grape pickers in the vineyards.
  • A village hotel on a square with a fountain and Logis de France.
  • And in the evening for a few euros a rich farmer’s menu with as much wine as you want.

Breakfast (petit déjeuner)

bread and coffee, that’s the French breakfast. When you enter a coffee shop, French usually get a small cup of espresso, café creme or café au lait which is coffee with milk. French will eyebrows go up when a scrambled or boiled egg is ordered for breakfast, not to mention other foreign breakfast habits. The big hotel chains like Novotel, Mercure and Ibis offer a rich breakfast buffet.


Lunch, the déjeuner, is served between 12:00 and 13:00. The country comes to a complete pause between 12 and 2 hours. Everything is closed, although more and more shops are open in the cities. In the south they don’t open until 3 or 4 a.m. If there are opening hours at the door: add 15 minutes!

This traditional French lifestyle is being abandoned more and more: men and women work, the time to prepare meals in the morning is reduced. The Macdonalds (France is the only country in the world where Macdo is not the market leader, but is in tough competition with the Belgian Quick chain) is becoming increasingly popular for a quick bite in the afternoon.

L ‘aperitif

The aperitif (‘l’ apèro ‘) is the drink in advance, between 6 and 8 a.m., at the beginning of the evening. The pleasure of drinking often turns quietly into a meal event, with a regular supply of small snacks. It’s not uncommon for an aperitif to only end at night.


A light meal of salad and french fries is on the French schedule between 8:00 and 10:00, but it’s not uncommon to have 2 full meals a day.

In the evenings

The shops are open until 7 or 8 a.m. and the large supermarkets until 9 or 10 a.m. The evening events in the south do not start before 9 a.m.: bands play on the terraces of the holiday resorts until late at night. On the outskirts of the holiday resorts there is often a lunac park, a permanent fair.

Circuses and cascadeurs (sensational actors) also regularly perform in parking lots. Where and when is shown on large posters and loudly announced with sound trucks. Although the weather in the south is very nice from May to September, the holiday season lasts from July 1st to August 31st. Before and after, there is a calm winter in the resorts and many places are closed.


Sundays in France are full of activity. There is always a bakery and a cafe in the villages that are open until 12 noon. After all, you need to eat fresh bread every day and bet on the horse race (tièrce). In many cafes there is a corner for the bookmaker organization PMU.

Often there is a farmers’ market on Sunday mornings where you can buy fresh meat, chickens and ducks. Fresh often also means ‘alive’.

When the weather is nice, the Frenchman loads his whole family, a 60 liter cooler, tables and chairs into his car for a little picnic in the provinces. Since food is the most important thing in a French person’s life, it is not enough to have a simple snack for the housewife to prepare a full meal.

In the meantime, the husband has been cycling or fishing. Or he hunted with his friends. After lunch – especially in the warm south – the early afternoon is spent sleeping. After 4 hours, life returns to the streets. Then it’s time for family entertainment.

At The End

If you have a sweet tooth, in France you will find your heaven: macarons, waffles, crepes, pain au chocolat, croissant, and much, much more. All you have to do is walk into a boulangerie and go crazed with joy!

If you think you are a food enthusiast aspiring to try on some new gusto, you can start with these typical dishes of some of the previously mentioned French lands. Also, if you plan to cook any of them or you just want to continue finding new French recipes, leave us your comment and we will help you!

Now that you know what are the traditional dishes of France. You just have to choose which one you most want to try and relish its taste!

Did you like this tour through the gastronomy of France? We believe this list of typical French dishes has inspired you to savor the best about this country. If so, tell us which is the dish that excites you the most in the comments ?