French Diet: Traditional French Breakfast Menu Examples

Did you know that eggs (fried, scrambled or in an omelet) are typically on the dinner menu rather than the breakfast menu in France?  Today, to continue our French diet series, we are looking at what many French women have for breakfast and featuring a classic French breakfast menu.  Of course, there are variations, but the menu ideas below, as well as the pictures of restaurant menus, are good examples of a traditional French breakfast menu.  And if you can afford the time, as always with any meal, it is good to eat slow, even breakfast!

French Diet: Traditional French Breakfast Menu Examples

  • Drinks: in France, adults have coffee (café) or tea (thé) and children typically drink hot chocolate (chocolat).  Breakfast coffee is not as strong as the lunch espresso and is served in a larger bowl rather than a cup or mug.  Hot chocolate is a favorite of children who love to dunk their buttered baguette in it.  Nowadays, some children also opt for cereals but the milk is often warmed up before pouring it into the cereals.  And see the breakfast bowls below taken in St. Malo, France?  This type of lug bowls, originally from Quimper, are typical of the Brittany region.  In Brittany, it is traditional to offer these breakfast lug bowls to children when they are young with their name on it.  Usually, their birth date is also inscribed underneath.

Brittany faience lug bowls
Personalized breakfast lug bowl, Brittany, France

  • Breads: to go with the hot drink, a French breakfast menu also includes (1) bread & butter (salted butter in the Brittany region), (2) bread & jelly, or (3) bread & butter & jelly.  If you have a fat restricted diet, you would typically go for #2.  As with all meals, a key factor in the French diet is the quantity so French women are very strict with the quantity of bread they will have for breakfast.  As tempting as it would be the eat the entire fresh baguette, enjoying two or three “tartines” of a fresh French bread loaf or 1/4 to 1/3 piece of fresh baguette should be enough.  Once in a while (on Sundays or while on vacation for example), you may treat yourself to a couple of slices of “brioche” or a croissant but that is certainly not a daily occurrence.  In addition, croissants in France are made with delicious butter so there is no need to add butter. 

French Restaurants: French Breakfast Menu

  • Below are a couple of French breakfast menus taken on various photo shoots.  ”Dejeuner” in France is “lunch” so “Petit Dejeuner” literally means “Little Lunch”.  At today’s currency rate, these breakfast range from $8 to about $9, more than a typical breakfast in the US even considering that the tip is included in France!

French breakfast menu sample
French Breakfast Menu #1

  • “P’tits Dejs” is short for “petit dejeuner”.

French breakfast menu
French Breakfast Menu #2


From the Art of the Home French Diet Plan Files



  1. Martine says:

    Thank you for this article! Oh, what memories!
    As a child in Strasbourg we would sit at the kitchen table and enjoy hot chocolate in a bowl with warm, buttered baguette. I love to dunk! :)
    The memories of my mother and her sister in the kitchen together to make breakfast for all of us children (8 total) is a precious memory. Once in awhile when it is cold outside, even though I’m a grandmother myself, I make myself a cup of hot chocolate in which to dunk my toasted, buttered French bread. I may live in Texas now but the experience takes me right back to when I was a child in France, the place of my birth.

  2. Terry says:

    Thanks, this helps me a lot on my French project.