Frenchies eat more Hamburgers than Jambon-Beurre sandwiches

Sales of hamburgers have surpassed the typical ham and butter baguette sandwiches, according to the BBC article.

Why hamburgers and not some other fast food? France has all American fast food chains by now, surely.

Some 1.46 billion burgers were sold last year, compared with 1.22 billion baguettes filled with sliced ham, according to Gira Conseil consultants.

The results suggest the nation known for its culinary pride has had a huge shift in its eating habits.

The French ate 14 times fewer burgers a decade ago.

“Jambon-beurre is a French tradition,” Gira Conseil director Bernard Boutboul told Reuters news agency.

“But the French are now crazy about burgers. You find them everywhere, from fast food to Michelin-starred restaurants,” the Paris-based restaurant consultant said.
Image copyright AFP
Image caption The jambon-beurre was France’s favourite sandwich until this year

At least one burger is on the menu at 85% of French restaurants - most of which are full-table-service establishments. Only 30% of hamburgers sold are from fast food outlets.

The European country’s “burger frenzy” has been bubbling over the last few years, with the American sandwich steadily stealing more of the French sandwich’s market.

“This year, we don’t know how to describe the phenomenon. It’s just crazy,” Mr Boutboul told AFP.

Hamburgers in the country have taken on a French twist - often being served with famous cheeses like Roquefort instead of cheddar.

Even McDonald’s, the US burger giant, has adapted its menu to appeal to French diners with McCamembert and McBaguette burgers with emmental cheese, Dijon mustard and even the French confectionary macarons for dessert.

Mr Boutboul believes “le burger” has become a French product, adding, “One wonders whether the burger might even overtake our famous steak-frites in France.”

Come as no surprise. Don’t forget that France tops the list of the numbers of McDo in Europe, not too far from Germany, which is the nº1 in 2016. (I remember reading somewhere France was the nº1 but I couldn’t find the source anymore). Bear in mind that only 30% of the burgers are sold in fast food. A lot of new burger restaurants, marketed as “gastronomy”, they serves better burger than McDo, better bread, different cheese, better steaks, of course with a different price tag. Even Michelin stars restaurant, it is not difficult to spot a burger somewhere on the menu, given the fact that they can use fois gras to replace the beef.

As for jambon-beurre, it is a classic here, people are attracted by novelties and new trends. Maybe someone has to come up with a better jambon-beurre than the most industrial grade sold in chain stores and bakeries. Very few places, you can get authentic jambon-beurre with an artisan bread.

This is another article with more details on the same subject:
https://www.ouest-france.fr/economie/le-burger-supplante-pour-la-premiere-fois-le-jambon-beurre-en-france-5632580

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Thanks for the link. Even if it has only foie gras instead of meat I still don’t want it. I just hate eating food like burger. Believe me I ate a lot of burgers (and pizzas and all thing junk/food teenagers love) in my youth. Now I eat foie gras on bread or in a sandwich I make myself.

I was happy to eat Banh Mi in France.

I made my sandwich when we have to travel by train. The jambon-beurre sold in the stations were too expensive (4-5 €) and sad, they didn’t even use real butter anymore.

H couldn’t eat any burger because he didn’t like the bread. Me I don’t like minced steak. We both prefer Banh Mi.

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I’d take a Jambon beurre anyday over a burger! I used to love eating the sandwiches in France. My favorite is pan bagnat.

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Could it be that McDo’s European popularity is partially linked to it serving adult beverages? Sometime during the late 20th Century we ordered a McDo combination meal in Paris that included a serving of vin rouge or biere – a novelty for Americans that we wish were not the case Stateside. When a McDo stop must be made, sometimes we’d welcome seeing an adult beverage on the menu.

I think the fact the burgers are so much more popular at actual restaurants than as fast food just indicates this is a food fad that has really reaonated with the french. Perhaps also a novelty to order a sandwich of sorts as an entree.
Goodness knows burgers are still going strong as a food trend on restaurant menus in nyc, it seems every place wants to offer their own more rediculous social media photo friendly option.
It’s been way too long since i was last in paris but i do recall fantastic baguette sandwiches- although i had some difficulty finding vegetarian ones back then with my nearly non existent french…

I never saw that in McDo here, must be in the 80 or 90’s.

Don’t you know that using English mixing with French word is trendy?! An established bank here recently called their mobile banking “Ma French Bank” (sounds stupid and amateur as a bank?!), “Fooding” is the food guide that aims as young people. They welcome food that has exotic origin but sound familiar with their sandwich, burger is one of them.

5-10 years ago, vegetarian is a non existed word in restaurant. Now you can find many soup places or restaurant that is willing to accommodate vegetarians. But the term vegetarian is quite loose in France, some define that eating fish occasionally as vegetarian too… Being vegan is more difficult here, as cheese, cream and egg is very difficult to avoid.

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It was a long time ago. More recently:

So Vegan, vegetarian, and raw are all fluid in France?

Sure! :wink:

Vegetarians: you can eat in most gastronomy places, if you let them know before you order, they will substitute meat with eggs, cheeses, mushrooms, eggs…

Vegans: you have the choice of vegan restaurants including soup places, salad bars, or ethnic food like Indian, japanese or Korean etc. places that serve delicious vegetables dishes. You can even find vegan burgers!

Cleanse detox diets: soup or green juice places :smiley: There are a lot of startup doing raw fluids, the price are no joking too. There used to be a water bar inside the Colette store with a great selection of world wide water but Colette recently closed its doors, owner retired.

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I just don’t know how world wide the raw diet is, at least as a hipster alternative, not as substanance. Thanks.

Yikes, I saw this thread was revived again. From my observation, from my time living in France and French Switzerland, a few factors that they hit on in the video:
a. The marketing hits the kids and teens from a young age. It is their influence that initially caused the growth. Now those kids are becoming parents, reinforcing the cycle.
b. The quality is higher and generally localized. Those that did not localize have tended to fail (like BK’s first entry).
c. takeway and “click and collect” exploded since 2020. People are much more comfortable with this and even restaurants that used to be exclusively sit-down have kept their takeaway service.

The existence of Subway just puzzles me, given the wide variety of sandwiches available. Granted, I pass by one near our apartment on a regular basis but have not bothered to go in. The French are currently obsessed with donuts/doughnuts and brownies/cookies, you even see the latter at regular patisseries.

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I have eaten dozens of ham bags as a student.
I can only say, if the current rendition is accurate to the photo in the link . . .
there no question in my mind as to why the French have shifted to hamburgers . . .

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The baguette sandwich is everywhere yet is an afterthought. I don’t think it’s a very good sandwich since a good baguette makes for a terrible sandwich bread. Too hard on the jaw. It has long been a staple, but mostly when you don’t have time for anything else. In Paris maybe they care about sandwiches now, but that is a relatively new thing. That’s why the French for decades made no other sandwiches; they just didn’t care.

Banh mi is straight up a far superior sandwich because the baguette is not so chewy.

I personally would choose a McDonalds burger over a jambon beurre or pate on baguette 9/10 times, though never over a banh mi.

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I was laughing a decade ago when my GenX French cousin, who was raised in Lorraine, was excited about a Burger King opening in his neighborhood in Paris.

I noticed a lot of places offering burgers in Geneva on my last visit .

Apart from one ill-fated visit to a McD’s in Cologne, I have never eaten a burger on any visits to Europe, mostly because my trips are short, and I want to eat what is harder to find at home in Canada.

If I lived in France, I’d probably eat burgers more often than jambon beurre.

I like other baguette sandwiches and panini better than burgers. I don’t like ham that much. I like baguette sandwiches.

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Maybe that’s because you have not had a good one? A good jambon beurre is sublime. There is L’Ami Pierre a few blocks from my office. If Eric Ripert is going to make a sandwich, I think it will be a nice one.

$15 for a combo of sandwich and soup. A veritable bargain for midtown Manhattan. The place is busy with workers grabbing lunch and despite the fact that Times Square is close by I don’t think I have ever seen a tourist inside. They don’t know what it is.


The baguette is fresh with a crisp crust that gives easily with each bite. The crumb soft and tender. Thick layer of cultured butter on both sides with a wonderful ham that’s got a hint of smoke and not too much salt. Gorgeous combination. But then again when I get to France, one of the first things I do is go to a bakery for a fresh baked baguette and pick up some of that butter from Normandy and I am quite happy to eat just that. Add some really good ham is gilding the lily.

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Yes, in France I get Bordier butter, a fresh baguette, and in summer white peaches and that can be a meal. But not a sandwich. The better the baguette, the worse the sandwich, because a good baguette has got a lot of chew to it.

I will say the same thing about the bagel sandwich. The better the bagel, the worse the sandwich.

The history of the jambon beurre is one of convenience. Go to any bar, tabac, snack stand by a lake or pool, it is a staple. Unlike in the US, in France it was never a substitute for a proper meal.