Steak in Paris is lean, well cooked and flavourful. Breads of cattle are often displayed and cuts like skirt and hanger are very common. The culture is to have the steak cooked ‘saignant’ which means ‘bloody’. Contrary to what others might tell you, à point is not exactly what medium-rare is to Australia – à point is slightly less cooked than medium-rare in real life results. Oddly enough, the first 10 pages on Google search for the internal meat temperature for saignant (pretty much meaning rare) in french is 60-63 C!! This is completely and utterly wrong. Let me set this straight in terms of what the words and temperatures should be below. The numbers are the final internal temperature of the meat. Unless you are cooking sous vide, you need to remove the meat and let it rest for 5-10 minutes in a warm place before you serve. A rough guide is to remove the meat 5 C before the desired final temperature if you want to put it in a warm oven at about 60 degrees. If you place it near your stove, it is usually cooler there compared to an oven so taking it off 3 degrees below and let it rest.
Bleu = less cooked than rare: <50 C (A quick sear on both sides and serve. Usually best on a thinner cut of steak. Inside is essentially warm and raw. I don’t think measuring temperature here is useful)
Saignant = rare: 52-54 C
À point = medium rare: 56-58 C (Rose – a term often reserved for veal, duck and game at this temperature)
Demi anglais ( a term not usually used) = medium: 60-62 C
Cuit = medium well: 64-66 C
Bien cuit = well done: >68-70 C – essentially no pink colour remaining.
French people in Paris seem to be overly proud that they don’t like meat cooked past medium. It is not the first (or the second) time that I have heard something to this effect – “we (French) think eating bien cuit is no no no”. But really, there many people outside France who would agree and and think that to cook a steak beyond medium is a sin. I have to say though, ordering steak saignant or à point in France gets pretty consistent results. In Australia, the number one fear of ordering steak at a not so expensive restaurant is getting overcooked steak. No, it’s not ok.
Overall, I do enjoy leaner steak but I have grown more accustomed to a bit more marbling. Not overly marbled like 11+ wagyu, but something like a score of 3-4 which gives it a juicier taste than lean steak. Too fatty and the steak looses the meaty bite.