How to lunch like a Parisian

Nothing evokes typical Paris quite like lunch in a brasserie or an impeccably curated picnic by the banks of the Seine. Suzy Ashford looks at the capital’s lunching traditions and provides three recipes

Lunch in France is sacrosanct, a fundamental part of the French art de vivre, or ‘art of living’ – cue the accordions!

Even Parisian workers, despite the frenzied demands of modern life, typically spend more than 45 minutes eating lunch each day – a stark contrast to other countries, where lunch tends to get demoted to a quick take-out sandwich eaten at a desk in front of a screen (quelle horreur!).

If not eaten at home, lunch in Paris might be taken in a simple cafe: think entrances shaded with slanted awnings of crimson or emerald and sidewalks lined with inviting rows of Art Deco tables and rattan chairs.

Or it could be eaten at a bistro, the bastion of French lunch (usually open from 11am to 3pm), where waiters glide across black-and-white tiles, past walls adorned with vintage posters, to serve customers engrossed in conversations about everything and nothing; these inspiring establishments were a second home for literary heavyweights like Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir.

Brasseries are more lavish, both in setting and fare, with ornate interiors, lofty ceilings, dashingly set tables, leather-backed chairs, mirrored walls and often a pastel fresco of creeping vines or ethereal-looking women surrounded by bursts of flowers.

As breakfast in Paris is light – ...

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