Too Much Food to Choose from...
There are a myriad of French restaurants, only in Paris you can count more than 5 thousands restaurants. Dining out is a national sport in France, however, the large choice of restaurants can be a nightmare.
We will naturally guide you and offer a short selection of the best and most pleasant restaurants in France that we personally tried and picked.
I have food allergies
Travelers who have food allergies can let us know in advance and we coordinate with accommodations, cooking class etc.
The French cuisine offers a very wide range of recipes and products that you will still be able to enjoy it.
I go on a specific diet
It really depends on what you can and cannot eat... a bit like at home.
- If you have a very strict diet and there are so many things you cannot eat, then you may not be able to enjoy the variety of the French cuisine and we are sorry about that.
- If you can be a bit flexible on your diet and if you are used to know what you can/can't eat and what you can use as replacement, then everything will work fine.
I am a vegetarian
France may not yet be as advanced in the vegetarian area than other countries in the world, however:
- in big cities, there are more and more veggie restaurants and also most "regular restaurants" offer at least 2-3 veggie dishes.
- in the countryside, it proves more difficult and vegetarian travelers need to accommodate to one choice of a veggie platter: which is often a mix of all the different side dishes. Don't be choked, it's not just in the French culture...for now. Laura tests the veggie dishes in all our exploratory trips, no worries.
- we recommend to strict vegan travelers to stick to the biggest cities of France where they will have a choice of vegan places.
How long should we spend at the table ?
- We, the French, enjoy taking our time to taste the food and appreciate our company, it will not be rare to spend two or three hours dining.
- In any French restaurant (except fast food), do not expect to eat in less than 40 minutes - up to 1hr minimum if you take a 3 course meal.
- If you don't want to spend too much time eating, while entering a brasserie or bistro - before being sitted - you may tell the waiter that you only have 40 min / 1hr....to eat and ask him if this is ok.
- If you book at a gastronomic, star rated restaurant, plan to be at the table for at least 2h30 - 3hrs and it can be more in the 2 or 3 star rated Michelin restaurants.
Bon Appétit !
How long in advance and How should I book a restaurant?
Lots of restaurants in France can be booked via their internet site.
- If you are looking to reserve at a Michel star-rates restaurant, this should be done ASAP, up to 6 months in advance. Many of these restaurants require a credit card and possibly a deposit to confirm the reservation, due to too many no-shows. For a special restaurant that you do not want to miss, you may try to reserve up to 3 months in advance.
- We also recommend reserving about 2 weeks in advance your table for your first night in a new region.
We do not however advise to reserve restaurants for each day of your trip in advance. You will find that breakfasts at your B&Bs are hardy, and you may find that eating in restaurants everyday will be too much.
What is a Michelin restaurant?
The Michelin Guide publishes each year a book with their recommended restaurants.
The guide does include restaurants that have not been awarded a star but deserve a visit.
The star restaurants are awarded from 1 to 3 stars based on outstanding cooking. There are five criteria:
- the quality of the ingredients
- the harmony of the flavors
- the mastery of techniques
- the personality of the chef as expressed through their cuisine
- the consistency both across the entire menu and over time.
These restaurants can be a true culinary experience. Just make sure you look at the prices of the menus and the wines before going so as not to be surprised.
Restaurants Opening Hours
Most restaurants, except some large international chain restaurants, are not open all day in France.
- Lunch is typically from noon to 2pm. If you miss this timeframe, you will not find restaurants open for lunch.
- Dinner service usually starts at 7:30pm or 8pm, but may be later in bigger cities.
Tipping in Restaurants
In restaurants, the service charge is always included in the menu price. It is customary, however, to leave some small change additionally if the staff provided good service:
- about 1€ to 3€ for a drink
- 3€ to 7€ for a regular restaurant
- 10€ to 20€ for a gastronomic expensive restaurant
Dress Code in Restaurants
Most restaurants are rather casual.
However, for Michelin starred restaurant, more formal attire is necessary (and will be confirmed with your booking), such as nice slacks and button-down shirts for men. Women may wear dress, skirt or slacks.
What do the French talk about when they sit for 3hrs at a restaurant..?
....Food !!! Of course !