How to Lunch, Parisian-Style

updated May 12, 2022
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

The attitude in France about food is so different from the way we approach the subject in the U.S. that the biggest culture shock when traveling there for many Americans isn’t the language or time zone, it’s the eating.

I hesitate to say you have to go there to see, smell and taste it in order to understand it because I know not everyone can just hop on a plane and go for a meal in Paris. But those blessed enough to travel or live there know.

Since it’s Lunch Week here at The Kitchn, and I happen to be nursing the kind of hangover-like fog that only comes from a weekend in Paris, what better time to talk about the charm of Parisian lunching.

Let’s just dream a little together.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

In France, lunch is often considered the main meal of the day so it’s not overdoing it to have a big pot of Coq au Vin…

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

…or a nice sloppy plate of Leeks Vinaigrette.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Wine? Most definitely. One of Maxwell’s favorite Parisian lunch habits is to drink wine and sketch out floor plans for fantasy rooms on the paper table covers. This doodle envisions a farmhouse kitchen with attached greenhouse. Thank you, Chateau Chantegrive.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

A trip to the Marché Biologique (farmers market) can yield more than enough morsels for a park bench picnic. Here we’re munching on baguette, two cheeses (Morbier and a crazy fresh goat’s chèvre), the most perfectly ripe pear I’ve ever eaten, and a roasted chicken leg. And in France, no one busts you for drinking in public, so bring your corkscrew.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

If you eat meat, don’t be afraid to try a charcuterie plate with things you’ve never had. Here are some interpretations of pig we shared with David Lebovitz one afternoon. That swirly meat in the center is called Andouille, and I don’t mean the Cajun stuff. It’s made from stomach lining and intestines. Not your average American potato chip.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Best not to forget dessert. Walking around Paris with a cone of Berthillon ice cream is pretty sweet. Hands down, my favorite flavor is Agenaise, made with prunes and Armagnac. No ticket to Paris? Make your own. A roundup of recipes appears in

my ode to prune and Armagnac ice cream

• Time to come back down to earth and check out our entire week of lunch coverage, from Cuban Sandwiches to How to Make Your Own Lunch Box Ice Packs.

A version of this post was originally sent to our email subscribers yesterday. To receive Sara Kate’s weekly email, sign up in the column to the left or click here. Something tasty will arrive in your inbox every Thursday.