Food in France
Food markets in France
French restaurants & café society
French beaches & sunshine
FOOD - EATING WELL IS SYNONYMOUS WITH FRANCE
Eating well and enjoying food is a strong characteristic of the French way of life, and something that many of us would put high up on our list of reasons of why we love France.
Whether it is the fun of walking around a fresh food market, or buying ready prepared food in the excellent ‘Traiteurs’ or eating in a restaurant, you will be sure of fresh and excellent food.
The bread, cake and pastry shops are a site for sore eyes, the standard of the freshly baked bread and croissants is something we rarely see in the UK and the windows full of the most beautiful looking cakes and tarts makes you drool. It is not an uncommon site to see people buying 6 – 8 baguettes – one just wonders how they can eat so much bread and so many cakes and still stay as slim as they generally are.
The different regions offer their own specialties and I am sure many people choose the area they buy a property in because of the love of the particular types food offered in that region. If you are after the Mediterranean diet with its olive oil, salads and fresh fish or the more dairy based diet of Normandy and Brittany with its cream sauces,crepes and apple tarts you can be sure that the foods from other areas of France will be available too. The French are exacting in their demand for good food.
As well as the better known wine regions of France, i.e. Burgundy, Bourgogne, Loire and Champagne, most of Southern France produces wines and many of them are excellent and specific to their areas. The choice of wines at reasonable prices is a great attraction to many purchasers and the nice thing about the French and their wine is that they really appreciate what they are drinking and drink it for enjoyment and not with the intention of getting drunk which is so often the case in the UK. A visit to Provence is not complete until you have sat in the sunshine drinking a cold glass of rose.
When driving through France it is fun to see the names of the towns are the names of some of the best known wines, Chablis, Chateau Neuf du Pape for example. You can visit the vineyards to taste their selections and buy if you like or you will find that in most large supermarkets they have an expert available to discuss your preferences and suggest wines that you might like, with well priced wines due to their purchasing ability.
FOOD MARKETS IN FRANCE
The pleasure of wandering around a market with stalls pileD high with fresh produce, picking out cheeses, meat, fish, vegetables and fruit to put together a meal, knowing that most of the produce is locally grown and that country of origin in normally France, is one of the great pleasures in France. The friendliness and helpfulness of the stall-holders, offering tasters and advice rather than telling you not to touch, makes an enjoyable morning rather than just a chore. In some areas it is possible to go to market to buy live chickens, rabbits etc to eat, but that doesn’t appeal to all of us – least of all me! More appealing is the chickens roasting on a spit, which with a little salad and followed by some cheese or fruit make an excellent meal, far removed from the standard take-away we are used to.
Sitting having a coffee and croissant or a glass of wine or beer mid morning watching the hubbub of the market place, listening to the babble and smelling the different delightful food smells is an activity worth enjoying even if you don’t need any food from the market.
As well as the food markets, most areas will have a weekly market offering everything from jeans and jumpers, handbags and shoes to beds and tablecloths. These markets can offer a vast selection of well priced merchandise, often a lot cheaper than in the shops and you have the added benefit of a little negotiation on the price which makes it fun. In certain areas of France for instance the Mediterranean coast you have the added benefit of being within an hour or so of markets in Spain or Italy, depending where you are based.
FRENCH RESTAURANTS & CAFÉ SOCIETY
If you are not in the mood for cooking and fancy a meal out, it is not necessary to pay the earth, you can choose from local restaurants offering fixed price menus to Michelin starred restaurants and everything in between. You can eat in a restaurant on a beach, by a river, on the top of a mountain or in town and in most cases enjoy friendly and good service from people who are happy to serve you plus food that is fresh and well prepared.
FRENCH BEACHES & SUNSHINE
France offers some of the most superb beaches on all of its three coasts. There is a wide range of beaches available from wide sandy beaches that go on forever, to the more manicured beaches of the Cote d’Azur where you find beaches with their own fully fledged restaurants as well as wide expanses of public beaches. You can find beaches to surf on, to sand-sail on, to bask in the sun on and to walk miles along. There is the dramatic coastline of the granite coast and the Riviera coastline which is one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world. Whether you are looking for constant hot sunshine, or prefer a more temperate climate there is a coastline in France that you will love.
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