France is the country of wine and gastronomy. One rarely goes without the other. Each region has its own culinary specialties and you probably won’t have enough of a single stay to discover them all. To your forks, taste!
A RICH GASTRONOMIC TRADITION
France is world renowned for its gastronomy and its art of living. Since 2010, the French gastronomic meal and its rituals have been listed as UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage. The French are very attached to the three meals of the day. Traditionally, breakfast is eaten when you wake up, lunch around 1 p.m. and dinner around 8 p.m.
PASTRIES AND SWEET TREATS
If you like sweets, there is bound to be a good pastry shop not far from your home where you can fall for a chocolate éclair or a lemon meringue pie. The restaurants also take care of their dessert menu. It is not uncommon for them to offer a gourmet coffee at the end of the meal, a coffee accompanied by several sweets.
GREAT DISHES, GREAT WINES
In France, wine is gastronomy’s best friend. The vineyard is everywhere, in Bordeaux, in Burgundy, in Alsace, along the Rhône, the Loire and the coasts of the Mediterranean. You can even find them in Paris, on the heights of the Montmartre hill. Visit the country and taste its wines as well as its cuisine. Always in moderation of course.
A VERY VARIED CULINARY OFFER
If the French are proud of their gastronomy and their culinary specialties, they have been able to give pride of place to cuisines from elsewhere. A multicultural country open to the world, France offers a varied and mixed gastronomy. Most large cities have many Chinese, Indian, Italian, North African, African, etc. restaurants. If you’re homesick, you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding specialties from your country.
Vegetarian, Italian pasta lover, meat lover or subscriber to kebabs and pizzas, you will surely find something to satisfy your appetite and your gluttony.
TOUR DE FRANCE OF REGIONAL CULINARY SPECIALTIES
Start from the North. Taste maroilles or endives with ham. Then head east to the Reims region to enjoy a glass of champagne. Go as far as Alsace to eat a good sauerkraut or tartes flambées. Head to Burgundy via Franche-Comté to try gingerbread, Cancoillotte and the famous snails.
In Auvergne Rhône-Alpes, aligot or nougat from Montélimar will whet your appetite. Stop off at a Bouchon Lyonnais, a small restaurant typical of the former capital of the Gauls, for dumplings and a praline tart. Continue your culinary adventure due south. In and around Marseille, try bouillabaisse or ratatouille and finish on a sweet note with a piece of tarte tropézienne.
Head west, direction Toulouse. The Southwest is the country of foie gras, cassoulet and Roquefort. Then head north along the Atlantic coast. Along the way, taste the Bordeaux canelés or Nantes biscuits. Once in Brittany, a seafood platter, followed by a buckwheat pancake accompanied by a bowl of cider.
End of the journey in the Paris region which has many specialties such as Brie. But Île-de-France is also and above all the homeland of pastry : let yourself be tempted by Saint-Honoré, Paris-Brest or the famous macaroons.
Finally, for this gastronomic tour of France to be complete, don’t forget to taste the dishes and products from overseas, such as cod fritters or Tahitian-style raw fish.