Croissants for Breakfast? Oui, But of course! You're in Paris Now

Eric Kayser is the name to remember when you're hankering after fresh pastries, perfectly baked croissants and just about anything else you can think of in the bread and breakfast pastry category. He has a cult following and for good reason. And speaking of la croissant, there is a chain of fastfood type bakeries specializing in croissants and chocolate croissants called La Croissanterie. They have recently branched out into offering fresh fruit bowls and even bagel sandwiches. You can find these throughout the city.

The hotel restaurant in town that serves an exceptional international breakfast, including Asian breakfast specialties is: Le First at The Westin Vendôme. Here breakfasts run you upwards of €50. Le First at Westin Vendôme offers a plentiful traditional buffet so you can have a bit of miso soup and grilled salmon along with your oatmeal and pancakes if that’s what you crave. 

A favorite of locals and tourists alike is the Café de Paris. Mornings it is a quiet local café serving up café au lait and fresh croissants to sleepy-eyed neighborhood locals. Come evening, it turns into a raucous nightspot and favorite people watching perch.  Similar is Le China. It is best known as a nightclub and restaurant but Parisians love it for its outstanding weekend brunches. 



6th Arrondissement - Rive Gauche

These are a chain of fastfood bakeries specializing in croissants and chocolate croissants (the famed pain au chocolat) and other breakfast staples of Parisians. It's also not quite accurate to call this a bakery since there are always at least a few tables and chairs provided at which you can take your tray of croissant, juice and hot cafe au lait and set your derriere for a few minutes or for as long as it takes to wake up. Bakeries here in France don't usually offer that luxury (seating). The croissants may not be the voted the best in France like that neighborhood boulangerie in Lord knows what hidden part of which arrondissement, but you are sure to be satisfied.

6th Arrondissement - Rive Gauche

In the evenings this is one of the most happening little corners in Paris, and not just the Left Bank. Right where rue de Seine and rue du Buci intersect there's always a whirlwind of activity where lovers are meeting, students are grabbing a beer, friends are catching up. There are a number of businesses within this radius that cater to this social activity and this is one of them. But throw aside the evening for a second, and imagine you are an early-riser. Ahhhh... now is when you will see a completely different side to this dynamic little vortex of activity. The fresh vegetable stand is open, the street jazz quartet is gone, the little old ladies and others from the neighborhood are out walking their dogs and getting their groceries before the tourists arrive. That's the kind of slice of life you'll see when you have breakfast here.

12éme Arrondissement

Now that you're on vacation, who cares about breakfast anyway, right? Hit that snooze button because you're sure you put the little Do Not Disturb sign on your hotel door handle last night, right? OK. Gotcha. This one's for you. Le China serves up one of the most like-a-movie-set brunch settings in Paris. The location, about 5 minutes from La Bastille, is not necessarily on the beaten path. And brunches are served on weekends only. But if you ever watched those old gangster movies set in Shanghai and Kowloon, this will have you reveling in just that kind of romantic fantasy. What's nice, too, is French cuisine is mixed with Chinese here so you'll find a selection of dim sum and Chinese-inspired desserts such as litchi and passionfruit flavored delights on the menu along with the more traditional quiche and croissants native to France.

7éme Arrondissement
Eric Kayser
Photo courtesy of Paige Donner copyright 2015

The beloved Eric Kayser, need more be said ? If you are not familiar with the Paris or NY bakery scene, then lets get you filled in. Anything from an Eric Kayser bakery is divine. Whether you are stopping in to pick up a simple baguette on your way home from work, or tucking in first thing in the morning for a bag of his pastries, like apricot-custard danishes, pistachio-chocolate rolls and brioches, here you can do no wrong. The French tend to reserve quiches for their midday meal, but here they can be a good a breakfast option as well, if you find you have an appetite for eggs and a bit of bacon. Several of the locations accommodate dining in seating, namely the location near the Louvre and the location near St.-Germain.

4éme Arrondissement
Terres de Cafe
Photo courtesy of Terres de Cafe Blog

Fairly new in this spruced up location, coffee roasting cult afficionados all over Paris started tooting their horns at one another as soon as this place opened up. Sure, it's only about a block from their other location, but this one is big enough to fit in a couple of tables and even afew chairs. Hooray! The real hipster coffee-istas who know their beans (sorry for that irresistible pun) and their roasters hail these guys as among the local scene's best. All you can do is wander in and try it out yourself. Don't expect breakfast by way of buttermilk biscuts and hotcakes. But do expect one of the better cups of coffee you will find, in this city at least. The new digs are tres design, welcoming even. And hey, you're in the Marais, where all the hipsters hang out.

10th Arondissement - Gare du Nor
Bob's Juice Bar
Photo courtesy of Patricia Khan for Bob's Juice Bar

This began as the brainchild of an American expat transplant. When he started his little closet of a juice bar several years back now his was one of the first in the city where you could get truly fresh-squeezed juices and smoothies. It quickly became the rage among the fashion crowd when they were in town during fashion weeks. You won't find much on the menu here other than juices, smoothies, and mikshakes made with almond or soymilk (nothing lactose). But you will find bagels, freshly made, a morning treat that was a rarity in Paris even just a few years ago. If you want to sit somewhere and enjoy your fresh juice, you'd better hope you're just about the only one at the Juice Bar. But its closeness also means that you're likely to get drawn into a conversation with another English speaker.

1er Arrondissement
Le Pain Quotidien
Photo courtesy of Le Pain Quotidien

True, you can find these even back in the 'States. But this location here on the Marché St. Honoré draws a local crowd on weekends that is, well, rather thrilling. Even during the weekdays you will find a regular loyal and local clientele who work in the myriad offices around the Marché, stopping in for their morning coffee. That's to say, weekend or weekday, this is a place to soak up some local culture as you rev up for your day's adventure in Paris. No surprises here, just your good cup of frothy cappuccino or café au lait served in big bowls French-style, freshly made croissants, thick cut country-style Poilane bread, jam and butter. Seasonally you can find additional offerings like Organic Spiced Hot Apple Juice and a Winter Detox Smoothie.

Le First Restaurant Boudoir Paris
Photo courtesy of Le First Restaurant Boudoir

One of the most appealing things about this restaurant is its location. It is just across the street from the Jardins des Tuileries, on rue de Rivoli. Which places it just down from both Place de la Concorde and Place Vendome. Its perfect location aside, the other appealing thing about this restaurant is that it's so plush and cozy, with its wing backed dining armchairs covered in aubergine velvet. But the truly great thing about Le First is its breakfast. Since its adjoining hotel, the Westin, caters to an authentic mix of international clientele, their breakfast has to please everyone from Tokyo to N.Y. to Moscow. And that's what you'll find here. It's a buffet style, with eggs cooked to your liking upon request. The baked salmon, miso soup and steamed white rice are heavenly here, so, yeah, go ahead and get your international on.

6éme Arrondissement
Eggs & Co.
Photo courtesy of Eggs & Co.

Hopefully you're a late sleeper because this place doesn't even open until 10am. With a name like Eggs & Co. you'd think they'd be swinging open the doors at 6am, but you'd be wrong, After all, this is Paris and Paris is a late town. It' s only early if you count the hours that most of the fashionable crowd stays out dancing 'til (like dawn). But, if you haven't had your breaky yet by 10, this is a good option and it specializes in, you got it right, eggs. The French get very creative with eggs, as we know. After all, it is the French who have brought us the omelette, the soft boiled egg where you dip those fingers of toast into the yolks, the quiche and even French bread. And come afternoon and you still want your breakfast, you're in luck. They serve here until early evening.

Les Artizans
Photo courtesy of Les Artizans Facebook Page

New on the block, the welcoming window of pastries will lure you in, even if it's still breakfast time.And good thing. Because once inside this charming rue Montorgueil addition, you'll instantly see that this is a restaurant as well as a pastry shop. If you sit at the counter you can order your coffee and pay comptoir prices (TIP: it's the cheapest way in France to drink your coffee). But if you're staying for breakfast, make yourself comfortable at one of the nicely laid tables and order something more fulfilling. We're not talking American breakfast fulfilling here, but quiche, croissants and buttered, toasted baguettes with fresh confiture are coming right up if you ask for them.


Meet Paige Donner

Paige's latest book, The Romantic Couple's Guide To The City of Love, Sexy Paris follows her earlier guidebook Paris On 4 Paws, A Dog Lover's Guide To The City of Light and her acclaimed...  More About Paige