The French are very passionate about their food and equally proud of the local region from which it is produced. On our many trips to France we always make a point of trying the speciality of the region and tasting the local cuisine. The size of the town or village you are visiting, will determine how many dining options are available to choose from. In smaller villages there may not be many options for dining at all other than the local café or brasserie. When in doubt we recommend browsing Trip Advisor and researching the village you are staying in to discover the local cuisine and best places to try it.
For any French food lover a trip to the local village market, or le marché, is a must during your holiday in France. Indeed even if you aren't a food lover we still recommend you pay the local markets a visit. The local markets provide a great insight into the local specialities of the region, as well as to the French cuisine itself. The French are very proud of the produce grown locally in their region. Stall holders proudly display their wares of freshly picked vegetables, reared meat and locally made breads and cheeses.
Many villages have a regular weekly market and some larger towns will have markets which are run twice a week or even daily. Indeed there are said to be over 10,000 local markets in France. If a trip to the village market is on your agenda be sure to go early, as many markets will be packed up and closed by lunchtime.
A Boulangerie – bakery – can be found in almost any village in France and is without a doubt the best place to go for your fix of freshly baked bread, croissants and the like. Typically these are open very early in the morning and throughout the day – even when most restaurants and cafe's are closed. You may notice a sign saying 'Artisan Boulangerie' and this indicates that everything on display is made on site.
If you have a sweet tooth than French Patisserie shops are a must for you. Here you will be able to find beautiful French pastries, cakes and chocolates. Each area in France generally has its own specialty so ask the shop assistant for their recommendation.
Some would contend a trip to France without sitting at a café and people watching, isn't really a trip to France! Cafés are a great place to find some smaller meals to have with your drink. Furthermore, they are often cheaper than a meal at a restaurant and can offer up quick service.
Bistros are typically a family run smaller establishment which offer a more casual dining setting. Brasseries are more akin to a pub. indeed, the term brasserie translates to mean brewery. They generally offer up longer trading hours and food can normally be purchased all day long.
Restaurants offer up a more formal atmosphere and dining experience. The menus both for food and drinks are generally at the higher end of the price scale and as such the quality of the food is also likelier to be of a higher standard. This is not to say you need to be dining at a restaurant to eat good quality food in France – some of the tastiest meals are often the cheapest too!