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Restaurants in France

The French believe that they have the best cuisine in the world! Whatever you think about that claim, eating out is a VERY big pastime here. It’s a complete myth that French restaurants are formal, pretentious, fussy and rule-bound. In fact, it’s perfectly possible to eat extremely well for not a lot of money and in very relaxed surroundings – though do avoid some of the city-center tourist traps, as they can be expensive. Street food isn’t really a major French occupation because they have restaurants everywhere ranging from rustic to high-end. Many French families place a lot of emphasis on cooking with absolutely fresh local produce and sitting down to eat together in the evenings. Breakfasts are usually light and lunch is traditionally more substantial, comprising three courses eaten over 90 or 120 minutes – and very relaxed! Things are changing here though and in the big cities shorter ‘sandwich’ lunches are becoming more the norm. Dinner is usually started late, at around 8.30pm. An aperitif in France usually involves drinks and light snacks only between 6-7.30pm, at which time you politely depart for your own dinner. Traditionally, French custom frowns upon inter-meal ‘snacking’ as a sign of greed but some might take a small biscuit or pastry ‘goûter’ (taster) at around 5pm. There is a HUGE variety of regional cuisines which the Withlocals approach will help you to explore in the company of local people.

Top 10 Modestly Priced French Restaurants Restaurants, France

  • Paris: Le Poivre et Sel near the Bourse/Opera. Entirely fresh homemade food beautifully presented and modestly priced.
  • Fougères (Brittany): Crêperie TIVABO. Here they serve black wheat flour “Galettes” which are savory pancakes filled with a variety of cheeses and meats followed up by sweet crêpes – pancakes with lemon or honey etc.
  • Granville (Normandy): Le Phare (Lighthouse). Here you’ll find some of the best seafood around including some of the local lobster.
  • Tours (Loire Valley): MOKA – some of the best local produce from the center of France. Expect to see game, freshwater fish and delicious sweets.
  • Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle (Pyrenees, Basque country): L’Auberge Basque. A superb restaurant offering Basque and Spanish cuisine – and all in the beautiful mountain surroundings.
  • Strasbourg (Alsace): Winstub S'kaechele. Here they serve good hearty Alsation cuisine to include sausages, pies and stews. Marvellous!
  • Lyon: L'ARGOT Boucherie. Simply fantastic local meats cooked in a variety of ways and washed down with excellent local wines.
  • Marseilles: BAT tapas bar. Some of the best Tapas cuisine around.
  • Rennes (Brittany): Picotta. Located in an ancient city center building, they serve fantastic Franco-Italian cuisine.

Restaurants, France

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Traditional French Dishes Restaurants, France

  • Coq au Vin – a slow-cooked chicken in red wine.
  • Mouclade – Mussels with a hint of curry.
  • Moules Marinières – Fresh mussels with wine, garlic and onions.
  • Boeuf en Croute – A tender piece of beef cooked in pasty.
  • Tarte Tatin – A pastry base cooked with caramelized apples.
  • Cassoulet – Goose or duck in fat, cooked with butter beans and sausage.
  • Boeuf Bourguignon – Slowly stewed beef with onions and bacon in a wine sauce.
  • Gésiers – Poultry Gizzards served hot with salad. Be brave and try it – it’s delicious!
  • Paté de Foie Gras – fattened goose liver usually served with toast.