The French generally don't snack while walking down the street – except the croûton.
Nibbling le croûton, the French term for the 'end' or 'crust' of the baguette, is something of a ritual in France.
After work, French people will typically pass by a boulangerie to pick up a fresh baguette to bring home for dinner. When they arrive at home, the croûton will generally be missing (because it has been eaten).
It's a cliché that perfectly aligns with reality, even if it contradicts the French no-snacking policy that otherwise reigns here.
Devouring the croûton before arriving at one's home is so common in France that BuzzFeed once wrote an article about 19 things that were “even more French” than eating le croûton of a baguette on the way home.
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Obviously this has become quite different after most of France made face masks compulsory in the street to halt the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
But if we were to bet on what French customs will survive the pandemic, le croûton would be among them (unlike the sometimes dreaded bise, French kiss-greeting).
Beloved as the croûton of the baguette may be in France, it can also be an insult. Un vieux croûton (an old crust) refers to a person who is either old or old-fashioned and grumpy.
This article is part of The Local France's 2020 virtual advent calendar – every day until Christmas we will be presenting you with a person or object that has a particular significance to life in France.