8 French Sandwiches to Eat Before You Die

French sandwiches are a thing of glory.

France has a proud centuries-old food culture that is considered to be one of the most prestigious in the world. And yet, lost in many discussions of haute cuisine is recognition of the country's humble but magnificent sandwiches. The universal combination of bread and filling takes a unique shape in France, a country where you'll find some of the best ham, butter, and cheese on the planet, as well as baguettes perfected over generations of obsession and craftsmanship.

If you're headed to France, do not leave without eating these sandwiches. If you have no immediate plans to travel to France, consider planning a sandwich pilgrimage.

1. Jambon beurre

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We'll start with something simple because the glory of French cooking is that simplicity lends itself triumph to when the ingredients are perfect. And so, this three-ingredient sandwich that you'll find at most boulangerie is the simplest of all: baguette, ham, and butter. What more could you need?

2. Croque madame

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Eaten with a knife and fork, the croque madame is a béchemel-drenched brasserie classic and the perfect showcase for the marvel that is French eggs.

3. Pan bagnat

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This perfect picnic sandwich from the Provence region of France is stuffed with tomatoes, black niçoise olives, bell peppers, anchovies, and tuna, making it a go-to bite in cities like Nice (where those ingredients are among the best.)

4. The sandwich at Chez Alain Miam Miam

Best Sandwich in Paris
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Argued by many to be the best sandwich in France — nay — the world, the famous made-to-order sandwiches are served from a stall located in the Marché des Enfants Rouges, the oldest covered market in Paris. Chef Alain Roussel's simple creations served on fresh-baked bread have attracted hours-long lines since opening in 2005. You choose the cheese (Comté or Cantal) and the fillings, and it's magic.

5. Doner kebab

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One of the greatest additions to France's thriving sandwich scene has been the doner kebab, a staple you'll find in cities across the country thanks to waves of Turkish immigration starting in the 1990s. Served hot and often alongside thick frites, the hearty meat sandwich is a late-night go-to when everything is closed but hole-in-the-wall kebob joints.

6. Falafel

You can find excellent falafel throughout France but the version you can't miss is served at L'As du Fallafel on fluffy housemade pita, in the Marais neighborhood of Paris. Rather than being discouraged by the long lines, take pride in the fact that you're at the right place.

7. Sandwich de Merguez

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The chili-spiked lamb sausage from North Africa has become something of a national delicacy, perfuming open-air markets as they sizzle on the grill for sandwiches. Stuffing frites inside is never a bad idea, by the way.

8. Saucisson sec

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Speaking of sausage, no trip to France is complete without several snacks and meals and late-night promenades featuring cured sausage. A simple baguette filled with butter and thinly sliced saucisson sec does the trick, or opt for a sandwich garnished with cornichon and moutarde.

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