Le Foodist Paris Cooking Class

What is it They eat in France for Lunch?

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It is an understatement to say that the French enjoy their food! The people consider mealtime a pleasure and a chance to come together with others. As a culture, their tradition dictates every aspect of the culinary experience. Very few deviate from the norm. The pillars of this ritual include three meals at a set time, format, and sharing - in a communal atmosphere. In Paris, gastronomy is an art form. This is what is so special about french cuisine. Beginning with the chef and ending with the conviviality of the meal.

Everything surrounding their cuisine is coordinated to bring richness to their lives. This ingrained structure has kept them thin, happy, and bonded together with mass commonality. The French tend to have a light breakfast - such as a croissant or pastry, bigger lunch, and small dinner (of course, unless they go for the full blown gourmet multi-course kind). Let’s focus on lunch, which is collectively had between 11:30 to 2:00 p.m.

what food do they eat in france for lunch


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Many establishments will have a Menu du jour available only at lunchtime. An usual French lunch will include: an appetizer (une entrée), such as a mixed salad, soup, terrine or pâté; main course, (le plat principal), choice of beef, pork, chicken, or fish, with potatoes, rice, pasta and/or vegetables; cheese course (from a local selection) and/or a sweet. You can also find places offering less expensive alternatives that include a two course option with an entrée and plat, or a plat and sweet.

It is not unusual to go for a four course lunch, but other times - bread, spreads, cheeses, cold soup, salad and a plate of charcuterie are enjoyed with family or friends at home or on the go. Remember, the French do not like to eat alone, so every meal is almost always had with others. When on the go, there’s also the inexpensive sandwiches consisting of a fresh baguette, ham and fromage, purchased from street carts (for those who enjoy socializing in the park). A sweet or savory crêpe also makes an enjoyable lunch.

Sample Menu du jour

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  • Entrée: Smoked herrings/potatoes with oil/roasted almonds.
  • Plat: Burgundy beef palate with Bourguignonne.
  • Fromage: Ripe local selection.
  • Dessert: Chocolate / creamy chocolate mousse.
gastronomy pic mobile

Choices on the Menu

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  • Mixed Salad - mixed greens with tomatoes with blue cheese.
  • Salade Niçoise - mixed greens tossed with potatoes, green beans, tuna, boiled egg, olives, and topped with anchovies.
  • Soupe à l’Oignon - onion soup with croutons and burnt Gruyère on top.
  • Bouillabaisse - fish and shellfish soup originating from the port city of Marseille.
  • Terrine or Pâté - similar to meatloaf, served cold or at room temperature. Made with game such as pheasant, hare, and pork mixed with fat. Pâté is similar with more finely chopped ingredients.


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  • Ratatouille - sautéed eggplant, onions, bell peppers, zucchini, and tomatoes.
  • Burgundy beef palate with Bourguignon - Beef braised in Burgundy and beef broth, with garlic, onions and a bouquet garni.
  • Moules Marinères - Steamed mussels with white wine, shallots, and butter.
  • Coquilles Saint Jacques - Sautéed scallops, finished with a garlic-tomato concassé.


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  • Pineapple, passion salad, pomelos.
  • Chocolate, creamy chocolate shortbread, passion.
  • Apple crumble with crème fraîche.
  • Paris-Brest is a choux (light) puff pastry filled with a mousseline cream flavored with hazelnut praline, topped with a crunchy crumble with a sprinkle of sea salt. Absolutely delicious. Find out what shape a pastry Paris Brest is and why it has that name.

Plateau de Fromage

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  • A soft ripened such as Brie or Camembert, both made from cow’s milk.
  • Crottin de Chavignol or a Tomme de Chèvre made from goat’s milk.
  • A hard variety such as a Comté, a Cantal or even a Gruyère.
  • A blue Roquefort is made from sheep's milk originating from the south.


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A beautiful plate of charcuterie is its own art form. There is a smorgasbord of cuts, cures, and flavors. Terrine, pâté, and mousse. Boudin - savory sausages made from ground, spiced meat packed in natural casings and then boiled, poached, or blanched. Saucisson - dry-cured, fermented salami. Dry-curing is done with only salt. As saucissons age, natural, healthy molds develop on the casings that prevent bad bacteria from contaminating it. Accompaniments include mustard, pickles, and crusty baguettes. Fruits such as grapes, figs, apples and almonds are usually included. Finally, fig jam or sweet onion confit or lavender honey.


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Ham and Emmental on a fabulous baguette or sourdough.


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Crêpes are a very thin pastry or pancake. They are made by pouring a wheat batter onto a circular hot plate, often with butter on the surface so it will not stick. It only takes a minute or two to cook. Sweet crêpes are generally made with wheat flour while savory crêpes are made with non-wheat flours such as buckwheat. The batter is made of simple ingredients such as butter, milk, water, eggs, flour, salt, and sugar.

Savory crêpes served for lunch are filled with cheese, ham, and eggs, ratatouille, mushrooms, artichoke, and various other types of pork or beef. The fillings are placed in the center and the edges are folded over the filling.

The sweet version can be filled and topped with chocolate spread, preserves and jam, sugar, maple syrup, whipped cream, custard, and sliced soft fruits.


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Water and wine are the drinks of choice. Although everything in moderation! It may seem like they drink a lot of Burgundy, Chablis, or Beaujolais, but in all honesty, modesty is more the French lifestyle. Due to their adherence to dining hours, they do not snack in between. The French attitude toward food and drink is so much a part of their culture that they do not overindulge at any given time. This is probably why they remain so fit and trim while still eating and drinking whatever they choose. Dining is a happy affair, full of socializing and communion with their countrymen.

For more information, please refer to the following pages:

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More About Our Baguettes Classes

Getting a bit technical during our Baguette Class in Paris

The French baguette, actually probably better known as the Parisian baguette has beome a true symbol of French popular gastronomy. A true icon of French life even - look around and you will see the Parisians strolling back home with their baguettes under their arm. But if you are French why would you learn how to do this? You can buy a baguette at any corner of Paris for about one Euro a piece.  But in our Baguette Class in Paris  you will learn how do this from scratch. It is somewhat technical, but also full of tips and tricks. But when you leave, it will have not secret left for you. From the original mix to the famous "scarification" through adding water to your oven through baking, you will see and do it all.

Learning more during your Baguette class in Paris: Croque Monsieur Bread and Brioche

This class is like all our other baking or cooking classes: totally hands-on. So you get to practice from beginning to end - and to taste at the end. But not only will you learn how to make Baguette, but you will also learn to make two more types of bread: the French Croque Monsieur bread. The basis for the classic French bistrot appetizer. And in your Baguette class in Paris you will also learn how to make your own Brioche. Probably the most indulgent bread you will find in France - if not the lightest ...

And you might learn some history during your Baguette Class in Paris

While you will learn the techniques to create - and get to taste - three classic types of French breads, you will also learn some of the stories on the origin of the baguette. Just beware it is still being quite hotly debated. What is for sure though is that the Baguette is absolutely part of today Parisian's life. A classic you will be able to take back home with you.

More About Our Wine and Cheese Lunch in Paris

Cheese and Wine in Paris

The pleasures we can derive from French cuisine can seem endless.  However two of the best known and loved French gastronomic heroes are French cheese and wine. Whether we talk about a Brie which actually comes from very close to Paris, to a creamy Camembert from Normandy, or a Comté from the Alps, French cheese has a delight for all palates. And of course, French wines are even better known whether from Bordeaux great wines or Burgundy sophisticated whites – all of which enthral wine lovers.  Well, at our course on cheese and wine in Paris you will come to appreciate that although each is delicious on its own, properly matched cheese and wine together can make the experience of each even more enjoyable and an absolute delight.

How to pair French cheese and wine

Because not all pairings are actually what people expect, at Le Foodist we have decided to call these experiences 'Daring Pairings'. Maybe because we like to step out of the ordinary to challenge our taste buds, but really all we try to do is give you the perfect match fo cheese and wine in Paris.  So not only will you learn how to select the best wine to go with your cheese, but you will also learn what are the big cheese families in France – there are actually only five, and this is one of the keys to great pairing. In discovering all these pairings of cheese with wine you will be convinced that indeed two things together can be better than the sum of their parts.

It is important to have fun with pairing cheese and wine in Paris

Beyond the tastings though, we have found that the best way to help our clients remember and re-use their experience is to vary the way to approach both wine and cheese.  That is why during our courses on cheese and wine in Paris we share sensory games and many an anecdote to bring the produce to life in your mind as well as on your palate. Overall we will feature four excellent wines, one Champagne and demonstrate to you how best each combines with cheese, letting your taste guide you along with our teaching.

Understanding cheese and wine pairing while in Paris

While for many top Parisian wine stores and restaurant wine lists can be confusing and even intimidating, we believe that after our lunch learning how to pair cheese and wine in Paris, you will feel much more comfortable navigating all of those.  And we sincerely hope your knowledge will help you unlock a door to a whole new world of enjoyment of French wine and cheese pairing.  At every step of the way our sommelier will also share unique tips and tricks to understand wines better and how culture and wine are so related in France; hopefully enriching your own experience as well.

And they do not have to do with what you will find in those markets. They have to do with when you can go shopping there. Open Air markets are only open in the morning. Typically from 8:30 am to 1:30 pm. And they are not open every day. As a matter of fact for the vast majority they are open either open every other day (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday or Wednesday, Friday, Sunday), or sometimes only twice a week. 

This is the case of the Bastille Market (Metro Bastille and Metro Bréguet Sabin )which is open only on Thursday and Sunday morning. We like to send people there because it is a very big market with over one hundred vendors. And it has a nice stand of Crêperie in the middle. Here you get a video of a lady preparing a crêpe there; and you can get that crêpe for only 3 Euros!
There is only one Open Air market open every day of the week, it is called Marché Aligre (Metro Ledru Rollin or Metro Faidherbe Chaligny) which happens on the eponymous street. It is an interesting market because you find all kinds of quality in that market – the good, the bad and the ugly. There is also a nice covered market in the middle of it called Marché Beauveau – sometimes called Marché Beauveau Aligre. On the contrary, Covered Markets are open every day, and not just in the morning, but also in the late afternoon. Typically from 4:30 pm to 8:00 pm.

We are blessed with two markets close to where Le Foodist is located, so we can walk to a market every morning – sometimes it is the Maubert market, and sometimes it is the Monge market. Both nice with their own specififies. Last but not least, none of these markets is open on Monday. Do not sign-up for a Market Tour on Monday, you might never see that money again …

Choosing Ingredients in Paris

While all markets are different, they also have some things in common. First they work on specific schedules as explained before. But also you will find always at a minimum the following vendors: a Maraîcher – this is the name we give to people selling fruits and vegetables, a butcher, a fishmonger, a cheesemonger and a baker. Normally you will find several of each, with different levels of quality, organic or non-organic, local or not local (but mostly not local unfortunately).
And we explain how to recognize each of those of course during our Market Visits and Cooking Classes in Paris. But choosing ingredients can be daunting at first, because of the variety that is on display. A typical fishmonger will carry 20 different types of fishes, and as many shrimp and shelf fish varieties. A good cheese monger will easily carry up to 100 different types of cheese and obviously you could get over 100 different cuts of meat at a butcher (from the type of meat to the cut itself). And a normal Maraicher will carry between 50 and 100 fruits and vegetables as well.
This is what makes these markets so exciting – the variety of products, the beauty of their display, and the exchange you can have with most of the vendors. We give you tips though on how to make sure that exchange with the vendors go well – a few magic words, and everything will be fine!

Cooking in Paris

Obviously going to markets is nice, but actually knowing that you are going to cook what you find there is even more exciting. It is not uncommon for Parisians to buy a little bit too much food because they get so excited at the idea of cooking it all! But as most of us have hardly any space where we live, that can limit the enthusiasm sometimes. Because of the lack of space, Cooking in Paris can be quite different from cooking in the rest of France. And there are also dishes that are typically associated with regions which the Parisian will not cook at home – but taste when they visit friends or families in the various regions of France. However our kitchen has plenty of space, so we can cook traditional French dishes without a problem – whether they come from Paris or any region. And the most important part for us is to ensure that we share techniques much more than just recipes. As a matter of fact, we love to share a bit of the science behind what we do so people can better remember the “what” by understanding the “why”.

Sharing Stories

In November 2010, some experts from the UN cultural organisation, decided tha France’s multi-course gastronomic meal, with its rites and its presentation, fulfilled the conditions for featuring on the “world intangible list” of the UNESCO.
In this list you can find all kinds of cultural practices, including Mexico Day of the Dead festival for example. Importantly this is not suggesting French cuisine is better than other cuisines (even though we the French tend to believe that …). It is only saying that the gastronomic meal and what it entails is a very vivid cultural practice which people in France partake into on a very regular basis. That is why the same experts indicated that the French gastronomic meal is a “social custom aimed at celebrating the most important moments in the lives of individuals and groups”. And in that social custom, there are many parts: the attention we pay to the way we choose ingredients, how we pair wine with food, how many dishes we will present to our guests, how we lay the table, etc… But one big part of the cultural practice is that commensality (the fact of sharing the food) is always accompanied by sharing stories about …. Well, you would have guessed it, Food of course!
To us it is THE perfect example of how Food and Culture come together – actually we decide to share food is a considered a cultural practice. I would argue that it is true of all countries, regions, etc… As the way we relate to Food is such a big part of anybody’s identity. But as a result and to make sure you have the most genuine experience of French culture, after the a coking class in Paris at Le Foodist, you will share a gastronomic meal at a common table with your Chef and fellow participants to the class.

French Wine and Food Pairing

As mentioned above, one of the big cultural practices in France is choosing how to pair Wine and Food in general and Wine and Cheese in particular. We actually have a class which focuses specifically on this. As it is so important though, we always make sure we share white and red wines during our meals, chosen to pair well in our opinion with the food we cook. And being at the table together is a good opportunity to discuss about wine as well, with concepts such as “terroir” (to simplify, terroir means “what you do depends on where you are”) which are essential to grasp the way the French think about Food.
And all this will always go with a cheering “Santé” – which quite simply means, to your good health!

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