One stereotype about Parisians tends to be true: On the ever-sacred weekends, few would be caught dead socializing in public before 1 or 2 p.m. As a result, the term "brunch" generally refers to something particular in the French capital: a lazy, casually chic meal one enjoys over gossip and conversation with friends, generally well into the lunchtime period and often including a cocktail of some sort. The French verb form, "bruncher" is wrapped up in associations with luxury, laziness and late-rising. It in no way is synonymous with "weekend breakfast," taken in the early morning before a day of full exertion. Nor is it generally inexpensive: the average brunch served in the city generally falls in the 15-30 Euro range—and some of the swankier places charge upwards of 50 Euros for a full set menu.
If you want to join in the ritual, and think you can enjoy the indulgent feeling of lounging in a cafe or bistro in the late afternoon and pretending it's your... first meal of the day, read on. These are 5 of the best places for brunch in Paris (mimosas and bloody Marys not required).
01 of 05
The owners of the wildly popular Italian restaurant group Big Mamma have opened a brunch-themed trattoria in Paris, BigLove, at the location of the former Rose Bakery (a spot that was beloved for years by weekend brunch-goers).
The mourning period for the latter has apparently not lasted long. At this cheerful restaurant, where blue and white ceramic serving dishes add a touch of old-fashioned charm to an otherwise modern affair, the native Italian chefs add distinctive notes from la cucina Italiana to breakfast classics. Served all day, the brunch here is especially renowned for its blueberry pancakes deliciously laced with buffalo ricotta, as well as its spicy avocado toast, made with gluten-free bread.
Whether you're craving savory, sweet, or a nice combination of both for brunch, this is a spot where quality food and friendly service are almost certainly on the menu. You may want to indulge in a glass of decent Italian prosecco, spritzed with orange juice or lime.
02 of 05
Reputed for serving one of the most gourmet brunches in the capital, this French restaurant located in the heart of the hip Canal St Martin district offers a frequently updated weekend brunch menu devised by a Michelin-starred chef. Surprisingly, though, it's not completely out of reach for most of us: currently priced at 27 Euros, the three-course weekend menu is far more reasonable than many places offering lower-quality fare.
The menu is refreshed regularly, but first courses currently include salad greens with fresh goat's cheese, a homemade olive muffin, boiled egg and marinated, sautéed mushrooms. The second course consists of ravioli gratin, thin slices of smoked duck, a pot of yogurt and fresh fruit, while the third course brings sweeter things to the table: from traditional French pastries to fresh bread with butter and jam and freshly squeezed juice. Unlimited coffee and tea is included (there's a small supplement for hot chocolate or gourmet looseleaf tea).
03 of 05
The in-house restaurant of a hotel in a rather un-touristy neighborhood near Gare de Lyon happens to offer one of the best Sunday brunches in the city. It may not be the hippest venue, nor is it generally crawling with fashionistas exchanging stories of the previous night's adventures over expensive mimosas, but depending on your perspective that might just work in its favor. Unassuming and simple, yet offering high-quality fare at modest prices, it's possibly the ideal spot for anyone seeking good brunch in the capital, minus the sometimes-pretentious culture that so often accompanies it.
For a reasonable 28 Euros, enjoy the full brunch at Le Cosy: the savory hot items included in the fixed brunch are varied and delicious, and include everything from green salads to savory breakfast potatoes, salmon lox and scrambled eggs topped with crispy bacon.
The real boon for those in search of a generous brunch? There's an unlimited dessert and hots drink bar where you can feast to... your heart's content on various croissants, pastries and cakes, and enjoy bottomless cups of coffee or tea. In a city where buffets are rare and the few that do exist tend to be a mite less than trustworthy, the fresh breads, patisseries, viennoiseries and other traditional French goodies on offer at Le Cosy are a refreshing exception.
04 of 05
This Australian-inspired and owned cafe in the trendiest stretch of Montmartre is rapidly becoming one of the foodie set's favorite places for weekend brunch. The ambience is friendly: Melbourne natives Di and Will Keser are reportedly often present, bringing an enthusiastic delivery of dishes designed as Aussie spins on breakfast staples such as brioche French toast and blinis served with creme fraiche. Their "sweet specials" are frequently artful, such as the fried brioche with caramel cream, citrus fruits, sugared almonds and mixed berry jelly (pictured here). The coffee is also reported to be very good, and this is one spot in the French capital where you won't likely be given a raised eyebrow for ordering a double decaf soy latte.
Reservations are sadly not accepted, so make sure to show up on the early side to secure a table. On weekends in Paris, anytime before 11 should be safe.Continue to 5 of 5 below.
05 of 05
This cozy yet fashionable restaurant nestled on the corner of a quiet, leafy one-way street in Montmartre is yet another coveted address for weekend brunch, owing to its delicious made-to-order dishes and its tendency to privilege fresh, locally sourced ingredients. While there's no set brunch menu on offer — you'll have to pay extra for breakfast potatoes or salad to accompany your Eggs Benedict, or for sausages to complement your homemade waffle with strawberries (pictured here) — the dishes are of very good quality.
Fresh juices, healthy salads and sandwiches, and a selection of delicious desserts (make sure to leave some room for the latter-- from chocolate gateau to carrot cake and key lime pie) make Marcel a solid choice.
True, it's a bit out of the way. But as long as you're willing to make the trek up into the hilly, peaceful heights of Montmartre, it's well worth the distance. Make sure to reserve ahead to avoid disappointment by reserving a table ahead of... time, though: this is a popular spot, and weekends are almost invariably crowded. Also be aware that staff here has been known to ask patrons to clear out after finishing their meal to accommodate other diners: the one real downside if you're looking for a long, languorous brunch.