Everybody knows that French cooking is of high standard. This is the result of the diverse geography of the country. This diversity, together with the different climates that can be found in the country, allows an extraordinary variety of food: fish and seafood from the Channel waters, the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean; and different types of fruit, vegetables, seeds, meats, that are found in forests, mountains, deltas, plains. Over the ages, traditional methods of cooking have been passed from generation to generation in the different regions of France, giving as a result, a great variety of delicious cuisines in the same country.
But the variety of different flavors in French cuisine goes beyond the diversity of natural resources and different regional cuisines. You can find traditionalist chefs who will stick to traditional French food, and inventive chefs who will experiment mixing different flavors from other countries’ cuisine. All of this may sound very appealing and, of course, expensive. But don’t worry! Prices go down more and more everyday.
When in France, you will find two different –and confusing– options when going to have something to eat: restaurants and brasseries. There is no difference between this two in terms of quality. A brasserie resembles a café and serves quick food during the whole day. Restaurants, on the other hand, respect the traditional meal times. It is convenient to make reservations prior to going to a restaurant so as to ensure you will find a seat. As restaurants are open at meal times, they gather a lot of people at the same time very quickly, especially in very touristy areas.
In small towns or non-touristy areas it is much more difficult to find a place where to eat, we recommend taking some provisions in case you don’t find a restaurant or anything of the kind. For vegetarians, there are a few cities that have vegetarian restaurants, but any restaurant generally offers the possibility of ordering meals with no meat or “sans viande” in French. France also offers the possibility of tasting different cuisine from all around the world. Some restaurants offer foreign cuisines, especially North African, Asiatic and Caribbean cuisines, which are highly recommended.
In the case you cannot afford restaurant prices, you can have a picnic at any park! You can buy your own provisions at any supermarket and make your own food. You can also choose to eat something on the street like a Kebab, which is a hot meat sandwich, or Crêpes, which are hot pancakes with sweet or savory filling. However, in cities, there is always a large variety of restaurants and brasseries, so it is very likely that you will find affordable prices. In smaller towns it may be much difficult to have these choices.
For breakfast or Le Petit Déjeuner, a good café will be just enough. French breakfast are generally lighter than American. They don’t serve eggs or bacon for breakfast, but a nice cup of coffee, tea or hot chocolate with croissants or a pain au chocolat, which is a light pastry filled with chocolate. Either for drinking or eating you can choose to have your order inside or outside –la terrasse– the restaurant or cafeteria, and you can stay as many hours as you like even after finishing –you won’t be hassled to leave.
We all know that the best cheese comes from France, for this reason we recommend heading for Normandy where you will find the most delicious Camembert. The most common teas in France are mint tea, verbena tea and camomile tea, and they are usually drunk after eating. If you want to buy a fine bottle of wine, we recommend turning directly to the producers, that is, vineyards, co-ops or Syndicats du Vin, which are producers representatives. There you will be able to sample the wines and choose the one that you think is the best.