A French Specialty : Croissant

You know this French specialty: the "croissant" is a kind of puff pastry in a crescent shape. But do you know where it comes from? It seems that nobody does, since everyone believes it's French, except the French who think it's from Vienna. In this video, we get the facts straight.


Main points of the video:

What is croissant ?

  • Croissant is made out of a specific dough, known as “pâte feuilletée”, or "puff pastry" in English.
  • The French regroup all pastries made out of this dough under the name “viennoiserie”, which means "a thing from Vienna".
  • In Vienna, like in the rest of the world, people are convinced that croissant is French.
  • The word "croissant" is French for "crescent", and is also found in other expressions, such as "un croissant de lune" (referring to the moon when it's crescent shaped)


  • The first pastries in this shape were found in central Europe at least since the 13th century.
  • In Austria, you can still find them under the name 'Kipferl'
  • The most popular legend about its invention claims it was invented to celebrate the victory of the Austrians agains the Turks who were besieging Vienna in 1683. The flag of Turkey still features a crescent nowadays.
  • The Kipferl may have been introduced in France by Marie-Antoinette, the Austrian wife of Louis XVI, in the 18th century.
  • The first bakery selling crescent shaped pastries was opened in Paris in 1830 by two Austrian men and was called 'Boulangerie Viennoise'.
  • The first ever recipe of a croissant made of puff pastry was published in 1905.
  • The croissant as we know it nowadays only became popular in France in the 1920s.
  • Less than a century later, they can be found around the world and are considered one of the main French specialty.

Do you like croissant? Maybe you want to integrate it in your learning French with your five senses routine.
If you like learning more about words and their history, check out this article + video about the name Angel.

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