2 April 2012
Last updated at 13:29
A typical Parisian bistro. If you want a table here, be sure to book a few days in advance. But among the patrons there are likely to be many who often eat sandwiches or burgers at lunchtime. (Words: David Chazan, Pics: Maya Vidon)
An unhurried meal with good friends. Wine is seen as an essential part of the culinary experience.
Oysters are a speciality here and so is the seafood platter, which is often a way to celebrate a special occasion. Many French people see eating as a social pleasure. Nutritionists say obesity is lower in France than in most other western countries because food is such an important part of French culture that people tend to snack less.
This restaurant has a neighbourhood feel and its owner says it tries to gives its patrons value for money. That’s a key ingredient for success with the economy in difficulty and the outlook gloomy.
The chef and owner of this well-regarded neighbourhood bistro offers an inexpensive prix fixe menu at lunchtime. It brings him a regular clientele of local office workers.
Gripping a monkfish by the tail. Along with red wine, eating fish more regularly is believed to contribute to what’s known as the “French paradox”, the relatively low incidence of heart disease despite a rich, fatty diet.
Sunshine has lured many regulars away from this restaurant after the long, grey Paris winter. Two locals and a Japanese couple were the only customers and the mood was less than boisterous.
A crucial eye for detail. The hours are long and the work is hard. Immigrants work in most Parisian restaurants as kitchen assistants or sous-chefs. Their skill with spices is starting to add an exotic touch to French menus.
Sandwiches elevated to a culinary art form at Le Pain de Sucre. Even the humble ham sandwich is a creation involving a specially-baked bread, dry-cured ham, pickles and endives. This is take-away food drawing on the tradition of French cuisine with a modern twist.
Sandwiches to catch the eye and appeal to consumers who pride themselves on being discerning gourmets. A different variety of bread is used in each type of sandwich. The pink colour comes from beetroot, the green from seaweed.
A sandwich and a soft drink in the park is an enticing prospect on a sunny spring day. Office workers are taking shorter lunch breaks these days and many can’t afford to eat at a restaurant.
Stacks of Italian-style sandwiches ready for the lunchtime onslaught. The French can be more than a little sniffy about the cuisine of their European neighbours, but Italy is one of the exceptions.
Ready-made salads are a favourite with consumers at a popular sandwich chain. The French are known for red meat and red wine, but salad and vegetables are part of the traditional diet and people are becoming increasingly health conscious.
Made-to-order sandwiches attract many customers. Price is a key selling point but fresh ingredients are important too.
Fast food French style. Time may be limited but you can still savour a moment of quiet reflection.