The Office: Why the French are champions of the lunch break

For the French, the lunch break is sacred: not just for a chance to recharge, but also to enjoy a delicious meal. Discover 5 favourite "on the go" lunchtime meals. 

Office french lunch

In France, there are few moments as vital as meal times! Gathering around the table to relax, socialise, and share is an essential part of daily living, no matter whether it’s the weekend or the workday. In fact, French laws have been put in place to ban employees from eating at their desk in order to encourage them to get a change of scenery and exchange ideas during their working time, a benefit to their own well-being as well as that of greater society.  

So, what does the French lunch break look like? It usually lasts around one hour and will see colleagues gathering in comfortable break spaces in their workplace, where they’ll eat, chat, and enjoy a coffee before heading back to work.  

While most companies have a cantine where employees can enjoy freshly prepared meals, many French people opt to bring their own lunch to work. And one thing they are particularly good at is creating simple meals that are quick to prepare and perfectly portable for on the go! 



Our top five “on-the go” lunches: quick, easy, 100% French 


Tomato and tapenade tart

An ideal recipe for making the most of summer tomatoes, this delightfully simple savoury tart combines the sweetness of fresh tomatoes with salty capers and garlic tapenade on a bed of buttery puff pastry. These Provence-inspired flavours prove that you only need a few ingredients to create a satisfying mid-day meal.  


French Lentils Salad with Fourme d'Ambert

In the mood for a fresh, healthy salad but tired of soggy lettuce? Look no further than this hearty French Lentil Salad, which elevates humble green Le Puy lentils by pairing them with cubes of Fourme d’Ambert (a semi-hard French bleu cheese), crunchy croutons, and sweet pear. A mustardy vinaigrette adds acidity and vibrancy.  


Baguette Sandwich with Bayonne Ham and Ossau-Iraty

You can find a jambon beurre (ham & cheese) in just about every one of the 33,000 boulangeries sprinkled through the country, but a homemade version offers the ideal opportunity to use more elevated ingredients. Opt for the freshest baguette you can to ensure a crunchy crust, then add a few slices of Bayonne ham, a cured ham from the southwest of France, with buttery Ossau-Iraty cheese, a few cornichons, and mustard. This totally French sandwich is sure to hit the spot!  


Quiche Lorraine

Quiche Lorraine is an easy make-ahead option that requires few ingredients and less than an hour’s time to prepare. A mix of fresh eggs, indulgent creme fraiche (opt for the best quality you can, such as Isigny Creme Fraiche), and crispy bacon are baked in a shortcrust pastry until golden for a delicious lunch inspired directly by French home cooking.  


Riz au lait

In France, it’s very common to end meals with a simple dessert to satisfy any sweet cravings. This vanilla rice pudding is a creamy treat that’s been paired with fruit compote, in this case bright and acidic rhubarb, to strike the ideal balance between freshness and sweetness. Best of all, this dessert can be served cold or warm depending on your personal preferences!  


You’ve learned how the French elevate their daily lunch break meals– what inspiration will you be taking into your work day? For more French-inspired meal ideas, head over to our Recipes section.  

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