France is the country of wine and gastronomy. One is rarely seen without the other. Each region has its own culinary specialties and it will take more than just one trip to explore them all. Forks at the ready - Taste!
A rich gastronomic tradition
France is internationally recognised for its gastronomy and way of life. Since 2010, the French gastronomic meal and its rituals have been recognised as an intangible UNESCO cultural heritage. The special attention paid to the pleasures of the table can also be found in everyday life. The French are very attached to the three-meal day. Traditionally, breakfast is eaten in the morning, lunch at around 1 pm and dinner at around 8 pm.
Pastries and sweet treats
If you have a sweet tooth, there is definitely a good pastry shop near you where you can melt for a chocolate éclair or lemon meringue tart. Restaurants also pay special attention to their dessert menus. It is far from uncommon to be offered a café gourmand - a coffee accompanied by tasty mini-pastries -at the end of a meal.
Great dishes, great wines
In France, wine is the perfect companion of gastronomy. It highlights the dishes and awakens the taste buds. There are vineyards everywhere: in the Bordeaux region, Burgundy, Alsace, the Rhône valley, the Loire valley and the Mediterranean coast. There are even a few in Paris, on the heights of Montmartre. Visit the countryside and try its wines as you sample its cuisine. But always in moderation, of course.
While the French are proud of their gastronomy and culinary specialties, they have also left room for cuisine from farther afield France is a multicultural country that is open to the world, and has varied and mixed cuisine. Most big cities have a large number of Chinese, Indian, Italian, North African, and African restaurants - and more. If you're feeling homesick, you shouldn't have too much trouble finding specialties from back home.
Vegetarian, pasta lover, meat-eater or fast-food fan, you will find what it takes to sate your appetite and taste buds.
A Tour de France of regional culinary specialties
Let’s start up North. Try some Maroilles cheese or endives with ham. Then head East for the Reims region for a glass of champagne. Continue on to Alsace to eat some delicious sauerkraut or flammeküeche. Nip down to Burgundy with a stop in Franche-Comté for some ginger bread, Cancoillotte and the famous escargots.
In Auvergne Rhône-Alpes, Aligot or Montélimar nougat might keep you from feeling hungry. Pause in a Lyonnais bouchon, one of the small restaurants typical of the former Capital of the Three Gauls, for some quenelles and praline tarte. Then continue your culinary journey to the south. In Marseille and the surroundings, try some bouillabaisse or ratatouille and finish up on a sweet note with some Tarte Tropézienne.
Then head West, for Toulouse. The South-West is the land of foie gras, cassoulet and Roquefort. Go back northwards along the Atlantic seaboard. On the way try some Bordeaux canelés or gateau nantais. Once in Brittany, a heaping platter of seafood followed by a buckwheat crêpe accompanied by a cup of cider.
End your travels in the Paris region, with all of its specialties, such as Brie. But Île-de-France is also, and especially, the land of pastries: give in to temptation with some St Honoré, Paris-Brest or macaroons.
Finally, for your gastronomic Tour de France to be complete, don't forget to try dishes and foods from overseas, such as spicy cod fish cakes from the Antilles or Tahitian raw fish.