Dining out in France: a guide to French dining establishments
21st October, 2016
With a variety of cuisines and dishes to suit everyone,
France is the perfect place for any foodie to experience, with your stay only
enhanced by the variety of dining establishments on offer, whether you choose
to stay at our villas in Provence in the south or our Brittany villas in the
north. Ranging from casual to gourmet, the wide range of places to eat can
sometimes cause confusion for tourists.
Each type of place differs not only in its atmosphere but
also in the dishes it offers, meaning it’s well worth trying as many different
kinds of eateries as you can during your visit. Here are just some of the
eateries you may encounter while in France.
Perfect for a laid-back bite to eat, cafés can be found all
over France and are often the heart and soul of any neighbourhood or town
centre. Depending on the location, some cafés attract regulars of all
backgrounds, while some attract a more hip and trendy crowd. Although they
mainly serve coffee and other hot drinks, they also serve a number of light
dishes such as toasted sandwiches, and are open throughout the day from as
early as 7am.
For a casual dining experience with a wider ranging menu
than what cafés have to offer, bistros offer reasonably priced classic French
fare. Though they tend to get crowded, they can be some of the best places to
sample some of the country’s culinary staples. Some bistros also double up as
‘tabacs’, which are like corner shops and sell goods such as tobacco and
lottery tickets. Bistros are only open during mealtime hours – typically
between 11.30am and 2pm for lunch, and between 7.30pm and 11pm for dinner.
Perhaps most similar to a pub-style restaurant, brasserie
translates to brewery in English, meaning that alongside their food selections
there also tend to be some great wines and beers on offer. Brasseries feature
an even wider selection of dishes than bistros, serving food all day long.
Offering traditional multi-course meals, restaurants in
France operate in much the same way as other restaurants in Europe. Diners can
either select dishes from the a la carte menu or opt for the fixed price menu,
which offers a selected starter, main and dessert for a slightly lower price
than the a la carte menu. Like with bistros, restaurants are only open at
mealtimes, and may also be closed on day of the week (usually a Sunday or a
Attached to rural hotels and countryside inns, auberges
offer rustic and simple meals, often using fresh ingredients from the
surrounding local area. Auberges typically offer a table d’hote with limited
options, though you can expect the food to be of a high quality. Image: Daxis, available under Creative Commons