The 10 best jambon beurre in Paris
There’s nothing better than sinking your teeth into a good old sandwich. And in Paris, these go by the name of jambon beurre, a traditional and unassuming French sandwich that calls for just three simple ingredients: slices of ham tucked into a delightfully crusty baguette slathered with butter.
Take a look around at lunchtime and you’ll see this sandwich in the hands of many Parisians—whether enjoyed in a bistro or savored on the go. Apparently, around 3 million jambon beurres are sold each day in Paris; it’s the quintessential sandwich of the city that it’s earned the nickname “le Parisien” (the Parisien).
How did the jambon beurre come about?
The jambon beurre originated in 19th-century Paris, where it was most commonly eaten by construction workers in the Les Halles Market. Back then, the sandwich consisted of rustic bread spread with a thin layer of butter or lard, then piled with ham.
Today, it has become an elegant sandwich, comprising the freshest baguette slathered with artisanal butter and filled with melt-in-your-mouth ham. Some even take it up a notch by adding extra ingredients such as cheese or gherkins.
The sandwich has grown in popularity as it’s easy to grab on the go, delicious and inexpensive. Can’t wait to sink your teeth into one? Head to these spots for the best jambon beurre in Paris:
1. Caractère de Cochon
Where: 3rd arrondissement
Blink and you’ll miss it: Caractère de Cochon is an inconspicuous establishment hidden in a side street next to the Marché des Enfants Rouges, the oldest covered market in Paris. Located in upper Marais, Caractère de Cochon sports a plain maroon storefront; but step inside, and prepare to be greeted by a hanging display of sausages, giant cured and uncured hams, and the like.
The ingredients are fresh and of top-notch quality. Pick your ham of choice, and have it made into the classic sandwich—you can add a slice of cheese if you fancy.
Where: 9th arrondissement
If you’re looking for variety, you’re in the right place. Picto serves up sandwiches of all kinds, using ingredients that hail from all across the country. They have a main shop in the 9th arrondissement, with other outlets across the city as well that makes it extra accessible. For some extra tang to your jambon beurre, go wild and add some gherkins.
3. Chez Aline
Where: 11th arrondissement
The jambon beurre at Chez Aline packs a big punch, thanks to their signature Prince of Paris ham and semi-salted butter. The sandwiches are made on the spot, alongside daily specials. They’re not one to shy away from fun flavor combinations and even offer unique options like marinated haddock and pickled veal tongue on their menu.
4. Le Petit Vendome
Where: 1st arrondissement
The Le Petit Vendome bistro is frequented by locals and churns out a brilliant jambon beurre on top of a range of other dishes. This is one place that doesn’t scrimp on the ham—ham on the bone is used for the sandwich, adding to its irresistible quality and taste.
5. La Fontaine de Belleville
Where: 10th arrondissement
Start the day on the right note with a classic Parisian breakfast at La Fontaine de Belleville, complete with a homely jambon beurre. This charming bistro uses Prince de Paris ham and butter from local cheesemongers for their sandwiches.
Located next to St. Martin Canal, the bistro also entices hungry patrons with a slew of brunch and lunch options.
6. L’Avant Comptoir
Where: 6th arrondissement
Located next to the wildly popular Le Comptoir du Relais Saint-Germain bistro helmed by celebrity chef Yves Camdeborde, L’Avant Comptoir (also by the same chef) is a humble hors d’oeuvres bar nestled just next door. The atmosphere here is bustling—there are no seats so you’ll have to stand around the bar to enjoy an array of scrumptious finger foods. Think: duck confit sausage hot dogs, truffled croque monsieur, and a piping hot jambon beurre—complete with multiple servings of hand-churned Bordier butter that’s set on the counter for all to share.
7. Liberte Patisserie Boulangerie
Where: 10th arrondissement
Open every day as early as 7.30 a.m., Liberte Patisserie Boulangerie is perfect for a casual laid-back breakfast as the city begins to awaken. Boasting a wide range of pastries and breads, the interior is pleasing, with rustic walls and smooth marble countertops.
Order a crisp jambon beurre, with a side of flaky croissants and sweet chocolate rolls—all whilst being enveloped in the welcoming smell of freshly baked bread.
Where: 7th arrondissement
The baguette is key to a good jambon beurre, and Gosselin’s baguettes have garnered quite a reputation. Rated the 5th best baguette in Paris in 2010 and 2014, Gosselin’s baguettes are lovingly crafted using a family recipe that has been passed down generations.
Each bite of the baguette offers a delicate balance between chewy resistance and crusty fluffiness. Try it with the classic jambon beurre, topped off with a sweet treat from the elaborate display.
9. Au Petit Versailles du Marais
Where: 4th arrondissement
Look beyond the traditional storefront of Au Petit Versailles du Marais, and open the door to an ornate wonderland adorned with chandeliers and elaborate ceilings. Located near the quaint Village Saint-Paul, the bakery makes for the perfect refueling spot after a session of retail therapy.
The baked goods are produced by Christian Vabret, a revered chef who takes pride in his pastries, cakes and, naturally, a good old jambon beurre.
10. Cedric Grolet Opera
Where: 8th arrondissement
Opened by Cedric Grolet, the World’s Best Pastry Chef of 2018, the boulangerie-patisserie Cedric Grolet Opera has been met with much fanfare. Besides the jambon beurre, the outlet wows with a stunning display of breads, pastries, sandwiches, chocolates, and viennoiseries.
Prices here are a little higher than usual, but you get your money’s worth in the form of intricately-designed pastries and viennoiseries—many of which sport lovely floral designs.
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