By Bénédicte Mahé

Paris tea, by Barbara RedmondTo brunch in Paris has become increasingly popular. Every good restaurant offers a brunch menu during the weekend. I have myself been brunching with friends on a few Saturdays, without making a habit out of it—considering it can get really pricey. It is not quite clear to me when brunch first arrived in Paris, since I grew up in Brittany. However I remember my mum sometimes cooked her own version of brunch on Sundays (at times with scones, at times with pancakes), which was a bit unusual in Brittany at the time. I liked it because it made me feel particularly connected to the Anglo-Saxon world. Yes, let’s be honest, I thought I was pretty cool and had a special link to the US just because I ate pancakes (but don’t you feel the same way towards France when you eat a croissant in the US?!).

Anyway, Paris has become more and more American (one could even say New York-er) over the last few years: from the appearance of barber shops “à l’américaine” to the opening of a grilled cheese restaurant (the Grilled Cheese Factory, 9 rue Jacques Cœur 75004), a popcorn store (My Crazy Pop, 15 rue Trousseau, 75011) and including the latest food fad: meatballs (I wish I were kidding). If the weather would allow it, Paris would dream to become more Californian, but right now for some districts I will talk about Brooklynian “hipsterization”. Lucky for us (and you, French culture lovers) the capital is also witnessing a return to simpler and Frencher pleasures: pain, saucisson, fromage et vin, which (hopefully) counterbalances this recent Americanization. Served only on weekends, brunch is mostly a Parisian thing, (traditionally French people like to have three separate meals a day), but we have put a French twist on this American import.

What is to be expected in a brunch in Paris? Obviously, it all depends on where you go. I once had brunch in a Moroccan restaurant, which was very different from one in a more “traditional” place. By brunch, we understand a mix between French and American breakfasts and lunches (yes, I do understand that it is literally what it means). So in our French way, that means you will get an orange juice, a choice of hot beverage (sometimes with a refill but don’t expect too much, it may be an American tradition but it is Paris after all), yogurt and muesli, viennoiseries or baguette with butter and marmalade (or both if you are lucky) and a savory dish (this is generally where brunches differentiate from one another). We expect you to be more than full after brunch: in Paris, brunch is clearly not for little appetites, even if we serve smaller portions than in America.

The price range for a real full brunch depends on where you go: obviously a brunch at Angelina won’t be the same price as one in the 10th arrondissement (39€ versus 20/25€). As I wrote above, brunch is quite pricey; we are not talking about a breakfast sandwich from a fast food restaurant. However, if you have a small budget (like me), you can still find some under 20€ and around 16/18€. I know it is not a significant price gap (except maybe psychologically) but always remember 1€ is roughly equal to one baguette: doesn’t that put things into perspective?! Or you can always choose the cheaper solution and cook at home with fresh products from the farmer’s market!

The first Parisian brunch I ever had was at L’Arganier in Le Marais. It was an all-you-can-eat buffet of French-Moroccan food and was absolutely delicious, although expensive (23€ in 2007), but it has closed since then. The second one I had was also in Le Marais at Le Pain Quotidien, a famous Belgian franchise serving organic food and in which you sit at communal tables. The bread was amazing but the savory plate not that incredible (the eggs were way undercooked). The price was high (25€) and the atmosphere too bobo (French abbreviation for “un bourgeois-bohème) and loud for my taste. It was quite a trendy place to go at the time, and might still be as busy, so I now prefer independent, quieter restaurants outside Le Marais because they are cheaper and less crowded. One of my favorite places to go in my neighborhood is called Mamie Green. Sadly it closed a couple of months ago, but the restaurant that replaced it (named Bloom) offers the same kind of brunch (18.50€ or 19.50€) with organic products—the homemade jam is to die for. It is very tiny but a real gem! The latest place I went with friends was absolutely wonderful (since Mamie Green was closed we had to find a replacement—what a discovery!) and is called La Prune Folle (“the crazy prune”). If I remember correctly the brunch costs 18.50€ and it includes a choice of 6 different savory plates. It really is a good location as well.

Did you brunch in Paris? What did you have?

Let’s brunch!

– Two websites to find your perfect spot:,

– My two favorites: Bloom (25 rue de la Forge-Royale, 75011), La Prune Folle (33 rue de Crussol, 75011)

– Another address worth trying: A Priori Thé (35-37 Galerie Vivienne, 75002)

And don’t forget to share your favorite address(es) in the comments!

Acknowledgements: Alyssa Noel, student of French and Italian, and Journalism at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, and English editor for A Woman’s Paris.

Bénédicte Mahé photo - cropped DuplicateBénédicte Mahé has studied abroad many times, speaks four languages and earned a Master of Management of cultural goods and activities, as well as a Master’s degree in intercultural communications and cooperation. She works in communication and international projects management. Among her interests are drinking tea, cooking (with or without success), reading, traveling, and—of course—shopping. She started her blog Tribulations Bretonnes in 2010 and has been updating it (more or less regularly) since then.

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Text copyright ©2014 Bénédicte Mahé. All rights reserved.
Illustration copyright ©2014 Barbara Redmond. All rights reserved.