If you’re wondering what French people eat for lunch, we would say it’s very similar to the typical French dinner. That is because most working adults and schoolchildren in France can access a canteen where lunch is heavily sponsored.

French employers are legally required to provide easy access to lunch or food vouchers valid at a local restaurant. As a result, the typical French lunch can include a three-course meal (starter, main, and dessert), all prepared by professional chefs. This applies to both adults and children.

Explore the classic French lunch food

5 classic French lunch foods

Below are the five top meals that the French usually have for lunch. You can also explore French breakfast to explore the best breakfast options for yourself and your loved ones. The French breakfast dishes are delicious and high in nutritional value.

Croque Monsieur

The Croque Monsieur is a glorified gammon and cheese sandwich considered a French national treasure. Croque, which means “to bite” in English, was once the traditional lunch for busy people in France.

This sandwich, laden with French butter, cream, and cheese, must be eaten with a knife and fork, just like the French. You can also order a Croque Madame with a fried egg on top.

Croque Monsieur

Jambon Beurre

Before the American burger arrived in France, jambon beurre ruled the area. A simple sandwich was intended as a quick lunch that could be assembled and eaten on the go. Jambon means “ham,” beurre means “butter,” and that was it. A baguette with butter and ham is much easier to transport than croque sandwiches, which require more preparation skills.

Jambon Beurre

Steak Tartare

Tartare is a French culinary term for various dishes served raw rather than cooked. Raw meat is typically used in steak tartare, but fish can be chopped or shredded into small pieces.

It is typically served with a salad and fries as a light lunch or dinner and is a popular midday meal in France.

Steak Tartare


Depending on the toppings, a crêpe can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. In France, there are two types of crêpes: sarrasin and froment.

Froment is regular wheat and is commonly used to make crêpe sucrée (sugary crêpes), such as crêpes with honey, fruit toppings, or ice cream. Sarrasin crêpes, on the other hand, are made from buckwheat, and they are a typical light French lunch that you will find all over the country.


Savory cake sale

Try the savory cake if you’re looking for a packed lunch idea. Cake salé is a savory rather than sweet cake. Salé means “salty” in French.

They’re a popular choice for a packed lunch (or apéro hour) because they’re simple to prepare and transport. It’s also great as finger food because it’s easy to pick up and eat.

Savory cake sale

You can make them in any combination you want, including bacon lardons and olives, spinach and cheese, and more.

These are some of the classic French lunch foods that you can order in France. Learning how to order food in French can help you order your desired dish confidently. Speaking French in public requires confidence. If you are in the process of learning French, we have a course recommendation for you.

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Frequently asked questions

What is a typical French lunch like?

A: A typical French lunch often consists of multiple courses, starting with a light appetizer, then a main course such as a sandwich or salad, and ending with a dessert like a tart or fruit.

What are some vegetarian options for French lunch?

Vegetarian options for French lunch include dishes like Ratatouille, a vegetable stew, or a Quiche Lorraine without bacon. Salads are also a great vegetarian option, such as a Salade Niçoise without tuna.

Can you suggest some French lunch foods that are easy to make at home?

Some easy-to-make French lunch foods include Croque Monsieur, a grilled ham and cheese sandwich topped with béchamel sauce, or a simple Salade Lyonnaise with poached eggs and bacon. Quiches are also relatively easy to make and can be filled with various ingredients like vegetables or cheese.


French lunch foods offer a delightful blend of flavors, reflecting the rich culinary heritage of France. Whether you’re indulging in a classic Croque Monsieur or savoring a refreshing Salade Niçoise, each dish tells a story of tradition, taste, and craftsmanship.

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