French cuisine is renowned all around the world for its sophisticated tastes and preparation techniques – with even the most advanced of palates experiencing new sensations when sampling Franco grub. Although some of us may turn our noses up at the prospect of digging in to a steaming pile of snails or frogs’ legs, France’s food scene extends far beyond molluscs and amphibian appendages.
The French love their food and really take their time to savour the taste and experience of breaking bread with friends and family. Although heading up the Eiffel Tower may seem like the quintessential French holiday experience, there is no more authentic way to tour this food-obsessed country than by following your stomach.
The capital is typified by its beautiful architecture, the stunning artwork it has inspired and the gorgeous people who call the cobbled arrondisements home. The latter makes it incredibly surprising that pastries play such a big part of daily life in Paris. The bold and the beautiful regularly breakfast, snack and sustain with freshly baked, buttery pastries topped with all manner of homemade condiments and preserves.
As a city best explored on foot, a freshly baked croissant for brekkie can go a long way to helping you make the most of a beautiful Parisian day. And best of all, you can use the local culture as an excuse to justify picking a pain au chocolate over a bowl of fruit and fibre.
Where to Eat:
Walk through the rues and avenues of Paris and you won’t struggle to find a place to sit down with for a freshly baked pastry and a cup of coffee – flanked by locals and visitors alike. But we reckon these three bakeries certainly take some beating.
A million miles from delicate flaky pastries which can be elegantly eaten by manicured hands comes bouillabaisse, a traditional fish stew perfected in the doggedly working class city of Marseille. With a strong maritime influence like almost everything which originates from this proud port city, bouillabaisse was originally created by the local fisherman using bony rockfish they were unable to sell on the market.
Like many peasant foods which have made the transition to haute cuisine, bouillabaisse packs in plenty of flavour with minimalistic and affordable ingredients. Although recipes will alter from restaurant to restaurant and home stove to home stove; the traditional bouillabaisse consists of a mixture of fish, seafood and vegetables.
Traditionally served with home baked bread topped with rouille, a mayonnaise made with saffron, garlic and cayenne pepper.
Where to Eat:
From tiny family-run cafes to large sophisticated hotels, most eateries in Marseilles offer their own variations on this classic local dish, and here are three of the best in the business.
The Bordeaux Plonk
Of course, the French aren’t just world renowned for their food – they are also one of the planet’s premier advocates of the vine, with a number of stunning wine-growing regions dotting the country’s landscape.
Mention that you’ve visited the port city of Bordeaux to anyone and they’ll take a little glance at your lips for a hint of a tell-tale red wine smile. Known as the world’s premier wine growing region, Bordeaux has dedicated 116 hectares to viticulture, with roughly 13,000 grape growers contributing to the region’s main source of economy.
Where to Drink:
A much more pleasurable experience that simply picking up a bottle of the stuff in your local supermarket, many vineyards in Bordeaux open their doors to visitors so you can enjoy the good stuff first hand.
Oysters of Brittany
Not far from the English coast or the planet’s capital of culture, Paris, the French region of Brittany is well known for its production of the ultimate aphrodisiac, the oyster. The slippery sucker is proudly served on the half shell, complemented by subtle sauces and marinades.
Where to Eat:
Overlooking the sea, with a glass of wine in hand, there are a huge number of places to enjoy oysters in beautiful Brittany.
If you are looking to book an unforgettable food-focussed trip to France, Cruise1st proudly stocks a selection of great offers. For more information, visit our homepage or give our dedicated team a call on 0800 230 0655.