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Le Brunch: Paris’ New Favorite Meal

Paris brunch-montage AlainTom Purves – claydevoutesavagecattawalker

At the risk of sounding cranky, there are two things I hate that everyone else seems to love: brunch and bowling. In my humble opinion, both are a lot more trouble than they’re worth. We’ll leave bowling for another day, but for now, brunch. It’s not the actual food I object to—it’s the scene, particularly in New York, where a 1-2 hour wait at popular spots is standard. Seriously… who wants an omelet that badly?

So the fact that Paris used to be a brunch-free zone came as somewhat of a relief to me. (Traditionally, the French eat a very simple breakfast of whatever’s lying around—coffee, a tartine… a cigarette—and then wait it out for lunch, the main event). Of late, however, the concept of “le brunch” is slowly but surely creeping its way into Parisian culture.

Initially, I was skeptical, but I’m happy to report that the French put their own unique spin on the hybridized meal. Just as it’s hard to find a true dirty martini in Paris (a tragedy), it’s still rare to come across a true American-style brunch, which is fine with me. As long as you’re not holding your breath for Bloody Marys and maple syrup-drowned pancakes, you’ll be more than satisfied.

montage-topXmattSnippy Hollow

Here are a few HIP-approved brunch spots that indulge American-style gluttony without sacrificing French-style gastronomic refinement.

Coquelicot. One of our favorite bloggers and Francophiles, Nichole Robertson, tipped us off to the great brunch at Montmartre’s rustic Coquelicot boulangerie. On the weekend, a lavish brunch—which entails a variety of pastries, a soft-boiled egg, toast with smoked salmon, fruit salad, and steaming bowls of coffee—is served all day long. 24 rue des Abbesses, 18eme (01 46 06 18 77).

Brunch in ParisSnippy Hollow

La Salle à Manger. Although this spot is located at the base of bustling market street rue Mouffetard, it feels more like a country kitchen you might encounter in the heart of Provence. If you’re up for it, the full brunch includes yogurt, fruit, a soft-boiled egg , a variety of breads and pastries served with home-made jams and other sinful spreads (including a rich Nutella made in-house), fresh juice and a choice of tea, coffee or hot chocolate. On nice days, you can grab an outdoor table and catch live performances by musicians who frequent the quartier. 138 rue Mouffetard, 5eme (01 55 43 91 99).

Rose Bakery. The lines can be long if you go at primetime (12-2pm on weekends), but this all-natural eatery serves up healthy dishes that you can eat at either of the bakery’s two locations or purchase to-go. The menu is more British than French—the scones and tea cakes are some of Paris’ best—but the emphasis is on fresh, seasonal ingredients, which are featured in salads, quiches, soups and mini tartelettes. 46 rue des Martyrs, 9eme (01 42 82 12 80) and 30 rue Debelleyme, 3eme (01 49 96 54 01).

Super Nature. The health-conscious will flip for Super Nature, one of Paris’ few all-organic restaurants. The airy space has a modern farmhouse feel, and the weekend brunch is its claim to fame. The ingredients are so fresh that you won’t feel weighed down—even after eating  country bread with jam, honey and chocolate spread, homemade muesli, a seasonal salad, a decadent galette de goumeau (a circular chou pastry enriched with cream) and fresh juice. If you’re feeling hardcore, you can order up a wheatgerm shot. 12 rue Trevise, 9eme (01 47 70 21 03).

LBP1Little Brown Pen – Coquelicot

Coco & Co. When you step into this cozy hideaway in St. Germain, you’ll feel like you’ve uncovered an unlikely secret, and indeed you have. This is one of the few restaurants in Paris that has an extensive egg-oriented menu that extends well beyond the requisite quiche and omelette aux herbes. Here, you can order your eggs a number of ways (I like the cloud-like oeufs brouillés, which are similar to scrambled eggs but somehow way better… perhaps because they’re the French version) and adorn them with any number of add-ons. Weekends are crowded between 12-2pm, so call ahead to reserve a spot. 11 rue Bernard Palissy, 6eme (01 45 44 02 52).

Breakfast in America. Ok, fine. If you’re really dying for American-style diner food, look no further than the aptly named Breakfast in America. Their Sunday brunch menu includes American-style eggs and omelets, a choice of real pancakes or a donut, “bottomless” orange juice and drip coffee. Most importantly, they have real Heinz ketchup with which to slather your eggs and home fries—just don’t let your French friends witness you in the act. 17, rue des Ecoles, 5eme (01 43  54 50 28) and 4, rue Malher, 4eme (01 42 72 40 21).

So Brunch-lovers, take heart. You won’t go hungry in Paris, where brunch is swiftly becoming de rigeur for culinary scenesters. Enjoy… just don’t invite me. (I’ll meet you later for apéros).

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Written by Tory Hoen for the HiP Paris Blog. For our amazing rentals in Paris, Provence & Tuscany check out our website Haven in Paris.

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Written by Tory Hoen

Tory HoenAfter attending Brown University and spending two years in New York, Tory bought a one-way ticket to Paris to pursue her dream of becoming a writer (and of drinking wine at lunch). During her time in the City of Light, she chronicled the euphoric highs and the laughable lows of ex-pat life on her blog, A Moveable Beast. Though she's now based in New York, she travels frequently to Montreal and Brazil, and she'll use just about any excuse to jet to Paris ("I ran out of fleur de sel"). A regular contributor to Hip Paris, Tory also writes for New York Magazine, Time Out New York, and she is a co-author of Gradspot.com's Guide To Life After College.

Website: Tory Hoen

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Posted in Food, Parisian Living, Restaurant Reviews | 7 Comments »

7 Responses to “Le Brunch: Paris’ New Favorite Meal”

  • Karensa says:

    Have you found a true dirty martini yet? You can find an absolutely filthy martini at The Bootleg Bar (55 rue de la Roquette) !!

    Breakfast in America is foul do not go there – Coffee Parisian is much better :)

    And yeah, i agree Ellie, brunch has been big here for a long time.

  • […] more great suggestions for brunch in Paris from my friends at Haven in […]

  • diane says:

    why would you go all the way to Paris and want to eat an American breakfast – stay home if thats what you looking for…..

  • Anna says:

    Cranky or not, Tory Hoen’s posts are brilliant. I always get excited when I see she’s got a new thing or two to say.

    And really. Bowling is truly, an exhaustive effort. Without even mentioning the requisite footwear, it is a fine point indeed.

    Cheers!

  • Lindsey says:

    Super Nature is also excellent for lunch during the week. I used to work in that neighborhood and I’d go in for their organic burger at least once a week!

  • candice says:

    Being from NY and living in Argentina.. brunch has lost a lot of appeal, but I do find sitting anywhere at any time in a cafe in Paris with coffee and a pastry to be pretty much completely fulfilling… so the oeufs, pancakes etc would be pretty much lost on me.
    But a Bloody Mary does sound good.
    I found my Sunday Morning Fulfillment when staying in the 7th, walking to the patisserie for croissants and picking up fruit, then back to the apartment for coffee and the paper.. nothing can really top that for us :),

  • Ellie says:

    At the risk of sounding curmudgeonly, I have to point out that Paris hasn’t been a brunch-free zone since c. 2002, when it really was new. Not so much anymore.

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