CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to France Magazines today CLICK HERE

23 food experiences in France all foodies will love

PUBLISHED: 13:58 09 December 2015 | UPDATED: 12:38 05 February 2016

Oysters and champagne © Tuned_In / ThinkstockPhotos

Oysters and champagne © Tuned_In / ThinkstockPhotos


French cuisine is the envy of many and their produce is famed the world over. We pick our favourite 23 food experiences, from buying oysters fresh from the ocean to trying one of their traditional dishes, every foodie needs to try

1. The Marché de Rungis in the southern suburbs of Paris is the largest fresh produce market in the world, but if you want to go on a tour, you’ll need to be up at the crack of dawn because stalls open at 5.30am

2. With its crisp shell and creamy ganache filling, the macaron has graduated from the pâtisserie counter to having its own bespoke boutiques. Visit Parisian institutions Pierre Hermé or Ladurée

3. Pastis, the aniseed-flavoured aperitif, is a national icon and a favourite in the south of France. If you’re in Marseille, the home of leading brand Ricard, order one in a side-street café in Le Panier, the old quarter

4. Truffle markets are a meeting of earthy traditions and haute cuisine as farmers lay out the ‘black diamonds’ for chefs and gourmands to probe and procure by the gram. Most take place from December to February in south-west France and Provence.

5. It’s not to everyone’s taste, but ordering steak tartare in a bistro and having your waiter season the raw beef, adding an egg yolk, capers and shallots before your eyes, is a true French culinary experience.

6. A bracing trip to the Alps is the perfect excuse to eat robust mountain food. Tasting farm-produced cheeses and charcuterie in the form of creamy fondues and hearty tartiflette should be on your to-do list.

7. For the catch of the day, head to the early morning Marché aux Poissons in the old port of Marseille and mingle with chefs selecting ingredients for bouillabaisse, the city’s famous fish stew.

8. When in Lyon, dine at a traditional bouchon. These simple bistros are the descendants of the town’s taverns.

9. Visit a salon de thé as an elegant alternative to the café experience. Paris is renowned for its tea rooms; try Mariage Frères with Its shelves of ordered caddies or Angelina, famed for its luxurious hot chocolate

10. The little seafront market in Cancale, Brittany, sells some of the best-value oysters in France; buy half a dozen, fresh from the ocean, and eat them sitting on the wall, throwing your shells on to the beach below

11. Eat an ice cream while strolling on the harbour front at Collioure

12. Be transported back to the era when train travel was synonymous with luxury and prestige by dining at Le Train Bleu at the Gare de Lyon in Paris. Drink in the atmosphere under gilded ceilings and glittering chandeliers as waiters brandish huge trays high above their heads and steer brass trolleys loaded with liqueurs.

13. A classic kir, made by adding a dash of crème de cassis from Burgundy to a glass of Aligoté white wine, is the perfect start to a meal. Around France, many regions have their own take on the elegant aperitif: In northern France swap wine for cider for a kir breton or kir normand. In the Berry, a kir berrichon is made with red wine and crème de mûre (blackberry); or add champagne for the classic kir royale.

14. The saliers (salt workers) of the Guérande Peninsula at the mouth of the River Loire harvest the area’s marshes to produce the famous Sel de Guérande. Take a walking tour to discover this traditional industry and see why the prized fleur de sel is truly worth its salt

15. For a true taste of regional cuisine and hospitality, book into a chambre d’hôtes or hotel that offers a table d’hôte evening meal. Here, you pay to be the dinner guest of the B&B owner, who prepares you a delicous meal using local produce and talks you through the various courses and flavours.

16. Street food comes into its own in Nice on the Côte d’Azur, where you can feast on socca – a savoury chickpea pancake – and the caramelised onion tart known as pissaladière.

17. Wherever you go in France you’ll find a festival dedicated to food. Some of our favourites include the Fête du Citron in Menton, sauerkraut festivals in Alsace, and herring festivals along the Normandy coast.

18. For a citrus-fuelled experience, take a tour of the Carré Cointreau, in Saint-Barthélémyd’Anjou, where the famous orange liqueur is distilled. Although the recipe is an old family secret, the tour will shed light on how this drink is made, followed by the all-important tasting, of course

19. The soil around Lautrec in the Tarn département creates the perfect conditions for growing pink garlic. The allium is celebrated every August at the Fête de l’Ail Rose when sculptures are created out of the bulbs

20. On the Cap Ferret peninsula in the Bassin d’Arcachon, the villages are packed with dozens of tiny cabins belonging to the oyster farmers. Wander through l’Herbe before tasting oysters at a café

21. Confit de canard is one of France’s most famous rustic dishes but in the south-west you’ll find many ways to taste duck, from foie gras and smoked magret to stuffed duck’s neck, gésiers (gizzards) and manchon, the top of the wing.

22. You can find a wonderful chocolatier in even the most modestly sized French town. Buy an assortment of bonbons and take the pick-and-mix experience to a new level.

23. President Charles de Gaulle famously questioned the ability to govern a nation with 246 varieties of cheese. While the actual number of cheeses that France produces is hotly debated, it’s guaranteed that, from pungent cow’s milk Maroilles in the north to soft ewe’s milk brocciu from Corsica, hunting down your favourites is part of the fun.

Like this? Check out;

France’s top 10 wine experiences

Our favourite 10 wine producing towns in France

Traditional French recipes

Article by France Magazine France Magazine

More from Language and Culture

Thursday, November 15, 2018

France has historically been on the leading edge of eco-friendly projects and regulations. While many argue that much more needs to be done to meet environmental goals in France and globally, here are 11 ways that French government, companies and people are striving to be green.

Read more
Wednesday, November 14, 2018

What’s in a name? A lot, it turns out. Find out the fascinating stories behind the names of these places in France featuring dragons, gods and Sardinian kings.

Read more
Thursday, November 1, 2018

Michel and Alain Roux have unveiled the menu at their new French-inspired riverside brasserie, Roux at Skindles

Read more
Friday, September 21, 2018

As a floating restaurant opens in Paris, we take a look at some of the city’s alternative dining experiences, involving famous rail carriages, secret doorways and eating in total darkness.

Read more
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Kate Mosse was a guest speaker at the Cheltenham Literature Festival in October 2018 and spoke about finding inspiration for her latest book – and beginning of a new series of novels set in France – The Burning Chambers.

Read more
Culture and attractions
Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Agnès Poirier’s latest book explores the history of Paris 1940–1950 and the influential people that lived through the time. The French writer spoke about her book this year at the Cheltenham Literature Festival.

Read more
Thursday, December 13, 2018

What would the festive season be without a few games? Get in the competitive spirit with our Christmas language quiz

Read more
Friday, November 30, 2018

Gather the family and see how many of these animals you can name in French

Read more
Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Pigs, processions and high prices - why truffle season is a serious business in France

Read more
Monday, October 1, 2018

If you’re looking for a great wine to take home to impress your guests, you can now discover the best bottles in your neighbourhood at the touch of a button

Read more
Subscribe for

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

France Forum

Questions about France? Visit our free France forum to get help and advice from thousands of other Francophiles and expats. Topics include: property, tax, law, travelling, pets, education, healthcare and much more.

Join the forum

Most Read

Join us on social media

France magazine
Living France magazine
French Property News magazine

Enter our competitions

Win books, DVDs, travel and even holidays in France in our great competitions! Take a look at our latest competitions…

Enter now