Before we get into the details of what is a French roast, we should clarify something first: most French roasts are not actually from France. The “French Roast” comes from the darker brews chosen by many Europeans during the turn of the 19th century, so when coffee started to become something of a hot commodity in North America, the thinking is that the coffee houses might have integrated the “French” name as a means of adding a bit of classiness or sophistication ; However in this day and age the term does not do much more than indicate a very dark roast.
Now, back to what a French roast is. A French roast coffee is a type of coffee typified by beans that have been roasted almost to the point of burning. The end result is almost always very dark in color, and has a distinctive caramelized taste. In most restaurants, cafes etc. A French roast will be the darkest roast available. If the beans are roasted for about a minute longer you will get what many consider a Italian or Spanish roast. These 2 types of roasts are both on the brink of incineration. People who drink coffee and enjoy a dark brew will frequently select a French roast in part because of its readily available it is, and also because it frequenlty has more of a coffee taste than either the Italian or Spanish roast.