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.
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