<div style="display:inline;"> <img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/1028731116/?value=0&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0">
5 ISSUES FOR £5 Subscribe to France Magazines today click here

The history of the croissant

PUBLISHED: 10:06 13 October 2017 | UPDATED: 15:51 16 October 2017

The history of the French croissant © Dziggyfoto / Thinkstockphoto

The history of the French croissant © Dziggyfoto / Thinkstockphoto


A lot of stories surround the origins of France’s favourite breakfast but which one is true?

The croissant, that most French of breakfast pastries, is said by some to owe its DNA to the kifli, a crescent-shaped sweetmeat from 13th-century Hungary. This bread-like comestible was adopted and renamed kipferl – crescent-shaped in German – by the bakers of Vienna to celebrate the end of the 1683 siege of the city by the Ottoman Turks, who had a crescent on their battle flags.

The story goes that a Viennese baker was lighting his ovens in the early hours and heard the Turks tunnelling under the walls. His early warning gave the city’s defenders enough time to muster their troops and defeat the enemy.

In this version, the kipferl came to France in 1770, when the 14-year-old Austrian princess Marie-Antoinette arrived to marry the future Louis XVI. She asked for her favourite morning snack and the French bakers turned a plain and simple horseshoe shape of dough into today’s light and flaky delight.

A less romantic explanation is that a former Austrian artillery officer called August Zang set up the Boulangerie Viennoise in Paris in 1837, specialising in Austrian delicacies. Inventive rival French bakers then adapted the recipe to produce copious buttery layers of pastry, and a country’s culinary institution was born.

Whichever is the truth, the croissants now enjoyed worldwide are considered an indisputably French export.

Not quite a croissant, not quite a doughnut, the cronut is the new baking craze © martiapunts / Thinkstockphotos Not quite a croissant, not quite a doughnut, the cronut is the new baking craze © martiapunts / Thinkstockphotos

In more recent time, bakers have put their own twist on the croissant, most notably with some of the baking hybrids that have hit the supermarket shelves. The cronut, a mix between a croissant and a roll, and the croll, that combines the buttery taste and flaky texture of a croissant with the doughy consistency of a bread roll, are among the most popular.

Other articles you might like:

Classic French desserts to try at home

What to take on a traditional French picnic

Recipe for Florentin biscuits

Recipe for Eric Landlard’s pomegrante cake


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Complete France visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Complete France staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Complete France account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Article by France Magazine France Magazine

More from Language and Culture

Yesterday, 16:32

Famous as the author of Gigi, French writer Colette attracted much controversy during her long life

Read more
Friday, January 12, 2018

More than 600 years after France’s greatest heroine was born, Peter Stewart traces Joan of Arc’s quest to become the saviour of France

Read more
Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Author Jerry Marterer reveals his favourite museum restaurants in Paris that are worth visiting for the atmosphere as much as for the food

Read more
Tuesday, May 16, 2017

We all know French baguettes are the best but how do you decide which boulangerie to visit? Luckily there is an official baguette competition to help you find the best baguette in Paris

Read more
Friday, November 24, 2017

Director and actress Fiona Gordon takes us behind the scenes of her latest comedy film Lost in Paris which is released in UK cinemas on 24 November

Read more
Monday, June 26, 2017

Helen Skelton recently moved to Canet-Plage near Perpignan after her husband, rugby league player Richie Myler, signed with the Catalan Dragons. She reveals why it the perfect place for her and her young family to live

Read more
Expats in France
Friday, December 22, 2017

Test your French grammar and spelling by completing the sentences with the correct answer and find out whether your French language skills are up to scratch

Read more
Learning French
Friday, November 24, 2017

Viewing a property in France? Brush up on this French vocabulary for house viewings before you go!

Read more
Learning French
Tue, 12:29

France arguably has some of the best red wines in the world, but which ones are essential to your wine rack and what’s the story behind them? Richard Hemming shares his insider knowledge of France’s most famous red wines…

Read more
Friday, January 5, 2018

The prettiest of French sweet treats, macarons are one of the most iconic pâtisseries in France. Learn how to make your own chocolate macarons with this recipe

Read more
French recipes
Subscribe today

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

France Forum

Questions about France? Visit our free France forum to get help and advice from thousands of other Francophiles and expats. Topics include: property, tax, law, travelling, pets, education, healthcare and much more.

Join the forum

Most Read

Join us on social media

France magazine
Living France magazine
French Property News magazine

Enter our competitions

Win books, DVDs, travel and even holidays in France in our great competitions! Take a look at our latest competitions…

Enter now