7 BEST Destinations in France for Foodies

If you happen to be a person with a fancy for food and if you were to stop by the West of Europe then France might just be the best spot for you! With a blend of cultures and its own regional specialties, the country proves to be a foodie's retreat. Whether you are a food lover or a music lover, a trip to France can be the most satisfying in life.

Grand opera houses, amazing museums, chateaus, churches, cathedrals, and pilgrimage sites take you to a surreal world. Art and culture are ingrained in every small place of this country. It is the place where fashion reigns supreme, and the famed Cannes film festival is held. The rolling hill slopes, bewitching beaches, and bustling markets create long-lasting memories.

In France, the menu is always posted outside the restaurant, so you can have a good idea of what they serve and the prices before you go in. When ordering at a French restaurant, you order the starter and main course only. When you have finished your main course, the waiter will come back to take your order for the cheese course, then dessert and finally coffee in that sequence.

If you want a medium steak, you must ask for it « Bien cuit » otherwise it will arrive dripping in blood. Be warned! Don't order the steak carpaccio unless you've got good teeth. These are thin slices of raw beef which are as tough as shoe-leather.

If you see cuisses de grenouilles (frogs' legs) on the menu, don't order them. The French don't eat them in spite of what you've been told, so they will have been in the bottom of the freezer for three years and will have probably thawed out and re-frozen several times and will have completely lost their flavour and texture.

A French waiter asks what you would like to drink, but doesn't ask you if you'd like another drink when the main course arrives. So as soon as the starters arrive, make sure that you order more drinks before they disappear for an hour. In France, you are expected to keep your cutlery for the second course.

French waiters don't understand that putting your knife and fork together on the plate in the half-past-six position means that you want it cleared. The French don't know that, so they will ask « Terminé ? » irrespective of the position of your knife and fork although it would be obvious to anyone else.

Don't forget to leave a good tip even if the menu says 'Service compris'. €2 per person on your table would be the absolute minimum.

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Here are the top foodie cities that France is a host to:

1. Lille

Lille is one of the great cities of northern France. All this without forgetting that it has a very attractive historical center on the banks of the Deûle River and a very special gastronomic offer, which unites the French and the flamenco tradition. The people are warm but reserved (except at the carnival) and generally very down to earth.

The weather is chilly and soggy except for a bit in the summer, pretty much the same as in the southern UK. The food tends to hearty with a good dose of grease. Frites are almost an art form. Fricadelle is a frequent accompaniment, it’s a bit like a sausage, best not to ask for details. A takeaway option.

Fricadelle is a sort of sausage, a bit spicy. The running joke being that no one actually knows what’s in a fricadelle and it’s probably better not to know. Served with freshly fried frites which are a Ch’timi art form.

Grannies tend to cook Pot-au-feu or waffles. Basically a beef stew with plenty of veggies and a nice bit of marrowbone which everybody squabbles over. Very warming and satisfying on those chilly winter days. A great favourite with Mamies and Papies who can actually get a bit of protein without it destroying their dentures.

Located in the north of France and right near the border of Belgium, Lille is one of the top-notch sites of tourist attention, predominantly famous for their cuisine. The city’s food is well known for a blend of beer and meat. Carbonnade de boeuf (beer-stewed beef), Coq à la bière (beer-stewed chicken) are two of the most relished dishes one can try while on a trip to Lille.

The best restaurants at Lille get their meat from the historic butcher’s shop turned bistro Le Barbier Lillois. Two of the best restaurants you must visit while at Lille are Estaminet Au Vieux de la Vieille, and certainly A L'Huîtrière, prized for its artistic interiors.

2. Reims

The unofficial capital of French champagne is located in the north-eastern part of the nation. Apart from being a home to perceptive Gothic architecture and also the famous Notre-dame de Reims, the city is also a leading dealer in champagne. Reims provides to its admirers some of the best forms of whiskey, Weller Bourbon in particular.

Reims has a wide number of first-class restaurants, including four Michelin starred eateries and the remarkable seafood restaurants Le Foch and Le Millénaire.

3. Annecy

You will also find some typical French shops with delicious cold cuts of Haute Savoie and cheese. Yes, there is an excellent ice cream parlor in Annecy. Desserts, like tiramisu, are pretty good too! Annecy is also the perfect place to eat a good tartiflette, croziflette, cheese fondue, savoie diots (sausages) or, of course, lake fish like perch, trout or arctic trout.

Sitting at the foot of the French Alps, Grenoble, a city in the south-east of France, brings to the people a blend of the Swiss, Alpine and Italian delicacies. The city accounts for fifty percent of the total walnut production of France, owing to its regional walnut orchards. Grenoble takes pride in its regional specialty, Gratin Dauphinois, a creamy potato gratin that offers a mouth-watering experience to the customers.

The best restaurants, namely La Madelon, appraised for their zonal food, and Les Terrasses, which has two Michelin stars, is in the heart of the city. Grenoble is also a host to many affordable restaurants with decent budget options. La Fondue is one such restaurant providing the finest traditional dishes at fairly reasonable prices.

4. Strasbourg

Located in north-eastern France, the Alsatian capital is a goldmine of history and heritage. The food here comes with a German influence. The use of sweet onions in starter dishes is a marked German stamp. The tarte flambée tops the list of the Alsatian foodies. It is fundamentally a pizza with a pastry base that comes with several combinations – like cheese, smoked ham, onions, créme fraîche and other fan favourites.

The city is host to four exquisite restaurants with Michelin stars- Buerehiesel, Vieille Enseigne, Au Crocodile and Julien. S'kaechele and Pizz'arôme are some of the other noteworthy restaurants around the city.

Here there are many cafes and restaurants that prepare typical Alsatian specialties such as cocido or baeckeoffe, sauerkraut (fermented cabbage and accompanied by sausages or bacon), flammeküche, a kind of pizza with cheese, onion and mushrooms, and fleishnacka, a roll of pasta stuffed with minced meat and stewed, which is served cut into slices and served with green salad.

If you like good cuisine, in Alsace you can enjoy a wide variety of pastries, such as Pain d'épice (Alsatian Gingerbread with spices) and brédalas, small biscuits typical of the Saint Nicholas Day (December 6) during the winter in France.

The traditional cuisine is based on the Germanic culinary tradition, as it often uses pork, but also has foie gras, snails, honey and fresh cream without forgetting the many wines of denomination or the beers. Foie gras in French would be pronounced something like fuá gras. This dish is made with duck liver or goose, which can be spread on a slice of bread.

Go into any Winstub and discover the Alsatian gastronomy and the french onion soup. Onion soup is one of the most popular entrees in Paris, and it is a delight that you should not miss. It is made with onion, butter and cheese and is usually ideal to enjoy it if you travel to Paris in winter. French tortillas are something you can not stop tasting during your trip to Paris.

You will find them stuffed with different ingredients with mushrooms, ham, with various vegetables and made with some cheeses that are the glory.

5. Lyon

The third-largest city of France is often a go-to destination of a foodie. Located close to Grenoble, Lyon exhibits a mixture in the food it serves to its visitors. The city is characterized by bouchons- small but lively restaurants that were set up in the 1930s.

Some of the best ones include Café Comptoir Abel and Chez Georges. Salade lyonnaise, Quenelles de Brochet and tablier de sapeur are some of the best dishes one can try, while at Lyon.

6. Paris

Did you expect an article on the best foodie cities of France would be without the capital? Paris is a host to thousands of tourists from different corners of the globe and it wouldn’t remain a delight if it failed to satisfy the tongues of people. Already a perfect spot for a dinner date with your partner, the city is also a masterclass in the food it serves.

The City of lights has abundance in every form of food that a foodie would desire. It also has its own specialties, which include- pastries, crêpes, crème brûlée, camembert and good, old liquor.

Hostellerie de la Croix d'Or in the beautiful medieval city of Provins (around 60 miles South-East from Paris) is supposed to be the oldest one. It was created in 1270 as an inn.

Interesting Reads: Romantic Restaurants in Paris

7. Tours

Did you know that there is a famous dessert in France called the Tarte Tatin, which is basically an inside out pie? It was invented entirely by accident in the late 1800′s by Stephanie Tatin, who ran a small hotel with her sister in Loire Valley, a town about 100 miles south of Paris. One day, she was cooking an apple pie for her customers, and accidentally overcooked the apples.

In an effort to save the dish, she put a crust over them, and baked it in the oven. When it was ready to serve, she flipped over the dish, and served it with the filling exposed. It was an immediate success. Soon after, the Tarte Tatin became the signature dessert of the hotel, and it remains popular throughout the world to this day.

That said, it definitely tastes better than regular pie, since the flavors of the filling and the crust tend to balance out better.

Apple pie is another of the most popular desserts in France. It is made with caramelized apples and is one of the things you should not miss out on in French cuisine.

Apart from the ones mentioned, there are several other French cities which serve the people with the best food and never fail to impress a foodie! So, plan your trip to France soon.
Kalyan Panja