Unsure about your French table manners? Click Here to download > > How to avoid these 10 food etiquette mistakes !

logo on offbeatfrance
logo on offbeatfrance
logo on offbeatfrance
logo on offbeatfrance

Follow me on

  1. Home
  2. Ze French
  3. Daily Life in France
  4. How to Say Breakfast in French

how to say Breakfast in french (and other yummy phrases)

Published 17 April 2023 by Leyla Alyanak

Curious about how to say "breakfast" in French? The easy answer is "petit-déjeuner"! But there are nuances, and other ways of talking about breakfast. Here are the words and phrases you need to know, and how to pronounce them.

This is such an important word! And getting it wrong − along with the phrases that go with it − can start your entire day on the wrong foot.

This post will teach you how to say it right, and how to order your breakfast so that what you think you ordered will actually appear on your plate. Knowing these words (or at least understanding them) can help reduce any awkward moments around what should be a wonderful French breakfast experience.

Not only will I show you how to pronounce breakfast in French, but I'll teach you a number of other phrases to help you order the perfect breakfast in France!

NOTE: Pages on this site may contain affiliate links, which bring in a small commission at no cost to you.


If you'd like to learn quickly...

French Today is a different kind of French course, one that teaches French as it's spoken in everyday life. Try it out!

✔︎ No stuffy grammar (but you DO learn to speak correctly)
✔︎ Modern pronunciations, with audio guides that are easy to follow
✔︎ Full, 100% money-back guarantee - it's THAT good
✔︎ 2.5hr free French audiobook - try before you buy

If you've ever considered learning French, this novel, user-friendly course will teach you faster than you can "S'il vous plaît!"


How to say breakfast in French

Croissants for Sunday breakfast in France

A French breakfast may not be the most important meal of the day but for many visitors, it is a crucial one.

It can also be a confusing meal, because it may not be what we expect. The vision of a French breakfast often involves unlimited croissants and pains au chocolat, but a typical French breakfast is nothing like that. (Here's what a French breakfast is really like.)

A French breakfast can be varied, so you'll need the words to get your order across. Otherwise, who knows what might appear when you order!

How do you say breakfast in French? Petit Déjeuner

Petit déjeuner is the French translation of breakfast. It directly translates into little (petit) déjeuner (lunch).

Sometimes, people leave off the word "petit" in petit déjeuner, but please, do NOT!

A déjeuner without the petit actually means lunch, not breakfast.

breakfast in french

How do you pronounce "breakfast" in French?

It is the formal, official name for this meal. There is a less formal way but we'll get to that in a minute.

Also, you may see it spelled in various ways. While the most common is "petit déjeuner", you might also see it with a hyphen, as in petit-déjeuner. Both are correct.

Another way to say breakfast in French - ptit dej

This is the alternative word for breakfast, but I don't recommend you use this unless you're fluent in French and talking to close friends or family. Otherwise, I'm afraid it'll sound pretentious rather than fluent.

Petit déjeuner is the word you want to use.

How do you pronounce "ptit dej" in French?

11 Ways to use the word "Breakfast" in sentences

You wouldn't just enter a café or restaurant, snap your fingers and yell BREAKFAST! Would you? Of course not.

We know snapping your fingers at a waiter is downright rude, as is yelling, but you DO want to know how to ask for breakfast in a variety of circumstances. More importantly, using the correct vocabulary may actually get you what you want.

Here are a few phrases that might come in handy when you're ready for your morning meal.

1. American breakfast – Petit déjeuner américain

This absolutely does exist in France. You can have your eggs over easy, bacon slices, toast... you just can't have it everywhere. You'll find this type of breakfast in large city hotels with a large US clientele, or in cafés close to tourist attractions.

  • I would like an American breakfast, please.
  • Je voudrais un petit déjeuner américain, s'il vous plaît.

Of course you would first ascertain they serve American breakfasts but if they do, you're all set. You might then get asked how you want your eggs, so here's a quick lexicon (you'll find the audio for the pronunciation of these words right after the list).

  • one egg 
  • two eggs 
  • toast 
  • bacon 
  • scrambled 
  • fried
  • soft-boiled

Of course there are plenty of additional phrases, so I recommend a good phrasebook or French language app for a more complete list. But this will get you started!

Breakfast in America, 17 rue des Ecoles, Paris 5

2. English breakfast – Petit déjeuner anglais

Like the American breakfast, an English breakfast isn't impossible to find, but you won't find it on every corner. Still, from Britain's years as part of the European Union, English meals are easily available in France, especially in Paris.

However, if you're keen on the full English breakfast – eggs and bacon, tomatoes, friend mushrooms – your easiest bet will be to head for the breakfast buffet menu in a large hotel.

The wording works much the same way as the American breakfast:

  • I would like an English breakfast, please.
  • Je voudrais un petit déjeuner anglais, s'il vous plaît.

Holybelly, 5 Rue Lucien Sampaix, Paris 10

3. Let's have breakfast together – Prenons le petit déjeuner ensemble

Do you need to meet someone for breakfast? Then use this phrase.

  • Let's have breakfast together.
  • Prenons le petit déjeuner ensemble.

This works in most general contexts, whether for work or pleasure. It can work for a date, or to meet a friend or a family member, in formal situations and informal ones.

In other words, any time you want to meet someone for breakfast, this phrase is perfect.

4. Working breakfast – Petit déjeuner de travail

This is the phrase you should use when you're talking about a business or working breakfast, but only when you refer to it in passing, for example when you're talking to someone about it.

  • A working breakfast
  • Un petit déjeuner de travail

It's a bit tricky because you would never say "Let's have a working breakfast" − you would just say "Let's have breakfast", as in #3 above.

But if someone asks you what kind of breakfast, then you can specify,  a working breakfast.

I know it's not clear, but that happens often in French.

5. Continental breakfast – Petit déjeuner continental

continental breakfast in french

Much like the continental breakfast we know, the French continental breakfast is a simple meal, usually consisting of bread and pastries.

  • A continental breakfast
  • Un petit déjeuner continental

A continental breakfast is usually what you get in a hotel, with juice, breads, pastries and a hot drink.

If you have it in a café, the continental breakfast usually includes a fruit juice, a hot drink, and a couple of croissants with jam and butter. But the croissants aren't made on site − either they're delivered from a nearby bakery, or a waiter will run around the corner to a neighborhood patisserie (the French word for bakery) and return with a fat bag of croissants. However they get there, they will certainly be fresh!

VIDEO - How to pronounce all the breakfast words in French 

6. Breakfast in the room – Petit déjeuner dans la chambre

This phrase is a little more complicated than it looks.

Before we get into details, know that if you say "room service" to a French person, you'll probably be understood.

"Chambre" means room. So if you want the proper translation for room service, it would be either "service de chambre" (quite literally, room service), or service d'étage (service on/to your floor).

However, if you're trying to say breakfast in your room, you would use this phrase:

  • Breakfast in the room
  • Petit déjeuner dans la chambre

Some establishments will serve a varied breakfast that isn't necessarily a buffet. In this case, you would ask for the breakfast menu.

  • The breakfast menu, please.
  • La carte du petit déjeuner, s'il-vous-plaît.

This can vary widely, from a few pastries to full breakfasts with eggs, pancakes or bacon – and such delicacies as smoked salmon in  more sophisticated venues.


Strangely enough, for a country that lives and breathes food, there aren't many quotes about breakfast, and the most used ones are translations of English quotes.

"Elle se levait la première et, comme nous faisions la grasse matinée, elle nous apportait le petit déjeuner." (Jean-Paul Sartre in "Huit clos", 1944)

(Translation: She got up first, and since we had a lie-in, she would bring us breakfast.")

"Tout bonheur commence par un petit déjeuner tranquille." (William Somerset Maugham)

(Original: Happiness begins with a quiet breakfast.)

"Seuls les idiots sont brillants au petit déjeuner." (Oscar Wilde)

(Original: Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast.)

8. Breakfast on the run – Petit déjeuner sur le pouce 

breakfast on the run in french

If you don't have time for a sit-down breakfast and just want to grab a coffee and a croissant, you'll be eating breakfast on the run.

  • Breakfast on the run
  • Petit déjeuner sur le pouce

It's easy to have a quick breakfast in France. Even the smallest villages have a bakery, where you'll at least be able to get a croissant or a pain au chocolat. Many now also sell coffee to go.

You can also go salty for your breakfast: in the morning, you'll probably find some kind of quiche in the bakery, and sandwiches you can grab and eat on the run. The days of the French never eating on the go are slowly disappearing, at least in business settings.


 ➽ Here's what the typical French breakfast is really like

9. Breakfast included – Petit déjeuner compris

This is a phrase you'll often see on advertisements and lists. For example, your hotel listing may include it, meaning you don't have to pay extra for breakfast.

  • Breakfast included
  • Petit déjeuner compris


  • Breakfast not included
  • Petit déjeuner non compris

This is more of a written than a spoken phrase, so I'm including it here in case you see it written somewhere. If you wanted to ask whether breakfast was included, this is how it would go:

  • Is breakfast included?
  • Est-ce que le petit déjeuner est compris?

10. Breakfast in bed – Petit déjeuner au lit

breakfast in bed in french

I think this one is relatively self-explanatory... it can be used in both formal and informal settings, whether you're talking to a loved one about preparing breakfast in bed, or in slightly less familiar situations, among friends for example, to explain that you didn't get up early and had breakfast in bed instead.

However, you probably wouldn't mention this in a formal or business situation, where what you do in bed is your business and no one else's.

  • Breakfast in bed
  • Petit déjeuner au lit

11. Breakfast for... – Un petit déjeuner pour... 

You won't always be eating in a breakfast buffet. If you walk into a café or restaurant for breakfast, you may need to ask for a table, as in...

  • Un petit déjeuner pour une personne, s'il vous plaît (breakfast for one person, please)
  • Un petit déjeuner pour deux, s'il vous plaît (breakfast for two, please)


  • Coffee | Café - kaf-AY
  • Latte | Café au lait - kaf-AY oh LAY
  • Cappuccino | Cappuccino
  • Small American coffee | Café allongé - kaf-AY all-oh-JAY
  • Macchiato | Café noisette - kaf-AY nwah-ZETT
  • American coffee | Café américain - kaf-AY ah-may-ree-CAN
  • Espresso | Express/espresso
  • Double espresso | Double espresso - doo-bluh espresso
  • Decaf | Déca - day-KAH
  • A --- please | Un ---- s'il vous plaît

Note: To say "a" coffee, just add the word "un" (UH) in front of the coffee, plus please, as in "Un café, s'il vous plaît"


breakfast in a cafe


  • Tea | Thé - TAY
  • Black tea | Thé noir - TAY nwahr
  • Green tea | Thé vert - TAY ver (as in very)
  • Tea with lemon | Thé au citron - TAY oh see-TROH
  • Herbal tea | Tisane - tee-ZAHN
  • Hot chocolate | Chocolat chaud - shoh-co-lah-SHOW


All it takes is a few well-placed words to get by in French at breakfast and in other common settings.

A growing number of French people speak English, but we do feel a little thrill when someone makes even the tiniest effort to speak French.

Now, at least, you'll be able to order breakfast!


Maybe it's time for some online learning...

French Today is a different kind of French course, one that teaches French as it's spoken in everyday life. Try it out!

✔︎ No stuffy grammar (but you DO learn to speak correctly)
✔︎ Modern pronunciations, with audio guides that are easy to follow
✔︎ Full, 100% money-back guarantee - it's THAT good
✔︎ 2.5hr free French audiobook - try before you buy

If you've ever considered learning French, this novel, user-friendly course will teach you faster than you can "S'il vous plaît!"


FAQ Breakfast in French

What do the French call breakfast?

Petit déjeuner

What is déjeuner?

Déjeuner is lunch. Petit déjeuner is breakfast (the literal translation is "little lunch").

How do you say "Is breakfast included" in French?

Est-ce que le petit déjeuner est compris?

Did you enjoy this article? I'd love if you shared it!

breakfast in french pin
Breakfast in French pin