To Discover How the French Really Eat, Follow These 5 Instagrammers

updated May 30, 2019
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(Image credit: Mimi Thorisson)

Enabled by images of two-hour lunch breaks, picture-perfect farmers markets, Julia Child-approved hearty stews, baskets of bread, and pastry shops dotting every city block, it’s easy to reduce French eating habits to caricature. While some of those things are prevalent (not the two-hour lunch break — that’s fading fast), culinary predilections among French people today go well beyond romanticized cultural narratives.

Here, five Instagramming food lovers lend a glimpse into how the French really eat (spoiler: Veggies prevail, but so do pastries).

This maman to many, cookbook author, and poster child for the languid life in the South of France hardly needs an introduction. If Mimi Thorisson’s blog and Instagram stories are intoxicating to readers and dreamers around the world, it’s because they highlight the beauty in simplicity and seasonality.

The recipes Mimi makes (and her husband, Oddur Thorisson, photographs) reflect the local bounty in the Médoc: gambas with red sorrel and lemon-butter Jura Wine sauce, white asparagus simply dressed, and stuffed tomatoes, to name a few.

Whether she’s cooking at home or dining out, Emilie, from the popular food blog Plus Une Miette dans l’Assiette, is drawn to recipes big on color and flavor. Her frequent culinary travels introduce her to dishes that inspire much of what she publishes on her blog and on Instagram.

But what’s sure to catch the eye are the vitamin-packed (and easy-to-make) smoothie bowls and the haute pastries from top Parisian chefs, for which she understandably has a weakness. Moderation is important, but so is taking pleasure in eating — Emilie reminds us of that.

Cookbook author Clotilde Dusoulier carved out a market-driven corner of the internet when she launched her blog Chocolate & Zucchini over a decade ago. Since then, she has been a leading resource in cooking with fresh produce, herbs, foreign spices, and more.

Her recipes and tips aren’t strictly French, but rather inspired by international cooking styles. Some photos will display vegan dishes like her weekday bowls — roasted zucchini on sticky rice with a bevy of herbs, beet pickles, mixed nuts, and hummus — while others demonstrate a love for hearty classics like beef bourguignon.

It’s not all markets and home-cooked meals. If there is an American staple that is firmly anchored in the French food landscape today, it’s the burger — in all its forms and adornments. What began as a novelty grew quickly into a national trend, which, in turn, led to greater curiosity for other foreign street-food imports like hot dogs, tacos, bao buns, Korean barbecue, and more.

Although conversation around the burger — what makes a good one, who is creating innovative twists, etc. — peaked a year or so ago, the burger itself remains extremely popular among diners. This helps explain the success of the Paris Burger account on Instagram, which chronicles the city’s best.

Young, blond, and vivacious — vegan and gluten-free caterer Angele Ferreux-Maeght may give off California vibes, but she is 100 percent French. She did, however, get schooled in the locavore and green-eating movements in San Francisco where she worked for a time at the Ferry Plaza farmers market.

A trained naturopath, she expanded her veggie-focused business with a takeout lunch counter in the first arrondissement in Paris in 2015 and quickly developed regulars who discovered that vegan and gluten-free cooking could, in fact, be flavorful. Angele’s Instagram acts as a daily menu and a window into her arsenal of other green recipes, some of which she included in her book, Délicieusement Green.