Breakfast in Paris

Oct 8th, 2007, 06:22 AM
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Breakfast in Paris

Around how much will I spend to buy half a dozen croissants and 2 cups of coffee in a normal bakery. I'm asking because my hotel is charging EUR16 for a buffet breakfast and EUR10 for continental. If it's not much cheaper outside though then I guess I'd take the offer. And btw, what's the difference between a buffet and continental breakfast?
zizz is offline  
Oct 8th, 2007, 06:47 AM
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A "continental" breakfast is in fact a French breakfast: A piece of white bread, a croissant, jam, honey, butter, coffee/tea/chocolate, orange juice, maybe a boiled egg. This is the traditional French breakfast. In a good hotel, expect excellent bread and croissants and home-made jams.

A breakfast buffet will include slices of chees, ham, sausage, cereals, fresh fruit, joghurt, and probably scrambled eggs.

I a normal bakery, you pay 1.20 EUR for a croissant and 1.10 EUR for a whole white bread (specialty breads 2.50 EUR). Many bakeries will not serve hot coffee, but of course bistrots and cafés serve coffee. They will serve a whole French breakfast, maybe for 7 or 8 EUR.

IMO, 10 EUR are not bad, given that you will sit comfortably in your hotel.

I do not know your breakfast habits, but I might be a good idea to have continental breakfast in the hotel and later a second breakfast with delicacies from a charcuterie (French delicatessen shop) and a bottle of wine on a parkbench.
traveller1959 is offline  
Oct 8th, 2007, 06:50 AM
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I always meander over to the Rue Cler for @ least one breakfast while in Paris, but we typically have an apartment, so I just run down to the bakery first thing.
SAnParis is offline  
Oct 8th, 2007, 07:25 AM
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If you mean coffee "to go" you might have a very hard time , unless you're near a Starbucks or a McDonalds.

we normally have breakfast at Paul, numerous locations, A large cafe creme,hot chocolate or teas, served with a croissant or other pastry or a flute, with yummy home made jams and butter, about 4€. If you want the fresh squeezed OJ that ups the price a bit.
jody is offline  
Oct 8th, 2007, 08:54 AM
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In a normal bakery, a croissant is 0.90€. 1€ for a pain aux raisins or a pain au chocolat. You won't find coffee in a bakery.

Coffee to go is available in every café, but it is only bought in desperate situations, or else by the salespeople in the shops next door to the café. It comes in a plastic cup with no cover, because 99+% of the French prefer to drink their coffee in a café or go without. (And that's why tourists don't know that you can get coffee to go anywhere -- because nobody orders it.)
kerouac is offline  
Oct 8th, 2007, 09:25 AM
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Those dinky little plastic cups can cause 3rd degree burns.
jody is offline  
Oct 8th, 2007, 09:33 AM
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In many neighborhoods you'll find a good little bakery where the offerings in the morning include a croissant with "jamon" (ham, not jam) or with "confiture" (jam), and also a cup of coffee. Order it and sit down and enjoy it.

Sometimes the breakfast at the hotel is worth it - if you like a "real" breakfast, don't contract it for the whole stay but try it the first morning. Then see if you find an alternative nearby, and try that the next morning. Compare price and quality. You'll satisfy you thirst for knowledge, if not for food and drink.

BTW, there are posts here (and links to photos) about the American style diner that serves big breakfasts, if that's what you're up for. But it's not a thrift choice.
tomassocroccante is offline  
Oct 8th, 2007, 09:41 AM
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One year while making my morning stops at the bar downstairs from my apartment in Paris for coffee, I learned a trick. Several near by shopkeepers and hairdressers came in with their own cup and got a coffee to go. So I learned I could take my own cup downstairs and get one to take back upstairs. No problem.

But zizz, most local cafes with sidewalk seating will offer a continental breakfast similar to that at your hotel for the same price or less. I think 6 euros seems to be sort of magic number for that -- coffee, croissant, and baquette with butter. Frankly I'd rather sit outside and enjoy the scenery rather than sit is the usual hotel breakfast room. We also used to go to a little cafe for our coffee, and all they had were regular croissants. When I asked about pain au chocolate, they suggested I could go to the bakery almost next door, purchase one, and bring it back to have with our coffee as we sat there at their table. It was THEIR suggestion, so obviously not a problem, but I'd ask before doing that at a cafe.
NeoPatrick is online now  
Oct 8th, 2007, 10:10 AM
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Zizz - I found having the 10euro breakfast best value. As much coffee/tea you could drink. Fruit juice, yohgurts, cereals, Boiled/scambled eggs, sausage or bacon, baguettes/croissants, jams etc.
Our only cheaper alternative but very good value was McDonalds with coffee & three croissants for less than 3 euros.
You may think that unpalatable but we had far worse in a cafe opposite!
tod is offline  
Oct 8th, 2007, 10:51 AM
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What is Paul? I can not seem to find it on google.

yipper is offline  
Oct 8th, 2007, 10:59 AM
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Paul is everywhere. It is a French fast food bakery chain. You can even find it at autoroute rest stops.
kerouac is offline  
Oct 8th, 2007, 11:04 AM
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I myself am amused to see on their website that they have 5 locations in Florida.
kerouac is offline  
Oct 8th, 2007, 11:05 AM
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"You can even find it at autoroute rest stops"

Usually in France, this is synonymous to "tasteless, disgusting food".
traveller1959 is offline  
Oct 8th, 2007, 11:09 AM
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they have 5 locations in Florida.

It wouldn't surprise you if you knew how many French tourists they have in Palm Beach and Miami.
jody is offline  
Oct 8th, 2007, 11:11 AM
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The French eat pancakes when they go to the U.S. Why travel otherwise?
kerouac is offline  
Oct 8th, 2007, 11:14 AM
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Paul is a far cry from tasteless and disgusting. It may be the French equivalent of fast food, but it's pretty tasty.
StCirq is online now  
Oct 8th, 2007, 11:14 AM
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I like breakfast in the hotel because I can get my coffee sooner in the 'getting ready' process, don't have to be fully dressed up, sometimes take a cup back to the room, and usually need to use the 'facility' again (TMI, lol) before finally getting out the door for the rest of the day. This does not stop me from having a nice pastry or another cup of coffee at a cafe later on.
Travelnut is offline  
Oct 8th, 2007, 11:35 AM
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I've never seen a croissant with ham for breakfast, that's a new one for me. (ham in French is jambon). You can have bread/croissants, rolls etc with coffee to go at a chain like Brioche Doree. At least some of them have tables you can sit at outside, anyway, like the one on the Champs-Elysees, or you can do take-away. McDonald's coffee to-go isn't really that bad and a reasonable price.

I think if you want more than bread products, the buffet breakfast for 10 euro is actually a pretty good deal. A lot of hotels in Paris charge 10-12 euro now just for a continental breakfast.

Paul's is a chain and is all over France, even in train stations. It's often a take-out bakery/patisserie, sandwich-shop. Some of them are now getting into ice cream. The quality is pretty good, though, nothing wrong with it and they have a big selection at the larger ones. Some of them have restaurants and some are just take-out. They list all their sites on their website
Christina is offline  
Oct 8th, 2007, 11:42 AM
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"You can even find it at autoroute rest stops"

Usually in France, this is synonymous to "tasteless, disgusting food".

I found the "express" version of Paul at the rest stops quite acceptable. I also found the best yogurt I've ever tasted at a rest stop in Normandy, and so wished I could get the same kind here at home. My experience is that these places are seldom inexpensive, but the food can be quite palatable -- much more than one would expect of a rest stop in the U.S.

Back back to the original question: 10 euro for a continental breakfast is not expensive if the poster's alternative is to go outside of the hotel to hunt for "half a dozen croissants and 2 cups of coffee". It is a small price to pay for the convenience. If it were more than that, it would be another consideration altogether.
Leburta is offline  
Oct 8th, 2007, 12:19 PM
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France is one of the few countries in the Western world where tiny village or neighborhood bakeries have still survived.

These bakeries (boulangeries, patisseries) offer very fresh products which are made right in the shop. Often the baker will come into the customers' room to bring fresh bread directly out of the oven.

The products are not standardized; each bakery has something unique. Usually there is a lady (often the baker's wife or daughter) selling the products and chatting with the customers.

This is a typical element of French culture, which will, of course, be destroyed by chains like Paul and Brioche Doree and Starbucks and McDonalds. Their products might not be bad, but after some time you notice that they taste all the same. And they do not have the freshness and the smell of the neighborhood bakery - no wonder, often the dough is produced in Poland and transported to France.

I know that Americans like their fast food, and it is logical that they prefer American-style fast food chains even in France. But by doing so, they miss an element of French culture.
traveller1959 is offline  

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