Foodie day trips or weekend trips from Paris//France food festivals
I am here for a few months and would love to take day trips or weekend trips via train or bus from Paris. I know Normandy, Champagne and Versailles are popular spots but any other suggestions for a foodie? Normandy is on my list but would love some insider information on where to go for a food lover. For example, are there any food-related festivals in a small town near Paris? Where can I find info on the food festivals of France.
We have taken day trips to London and Geneva via train and plan to go to Strasbourg next month.
London via train is worth the effort just because of the thrill of the Chunnel. Foodwise I can recommend Indian and fish and chips places. The beers and gins are pretty good, too. Otherwise London's food is generally somewhere between edible and dreadful.
In Geneva we enjoyed sharing a fondue and lake trout at a bistro recommended by Frommer's. At the time Chowhound had little to no info on Geneva.
We have no food plans for Strasbourg at this time.
Re food on the trains. First class serves something I describe as upscale Lean Cusine TV dinners. Other classes fare much worse. We had good luck buying pastry and coffee in the morning and sliced meat, cheese, some fruit, fresh bread and wine in the evenings at stores near the train stations. Of course you could pack in a breakfast or dinner at an excellent restaurant before boarding, too.
I don't know when you leave so these may be helpful or not. One is in Paris, the other two I know of are in the south of France. My best recommendation would be to choose a city you are interested in visiting and then look to find vineyards or restaurants in or near the city. Also you can look in the Michelin guide and find a restaurant that intrigues you and go visit the town for the night and just go to the restaurant. Most french towns offer something like a festival or cooking/food related events that can be found on the tourism office website.
You should really try and get to Aix en Provence just for the sake of going. It is absolutely beautiful and have some of the best open air markets in France. They also have some really good options for wine tastings. At some of the nicer vineyards they probably have wine tasting with meals. The meals are often very very very good at nice vineyards. For some general information you can check out the tourist office website: http://www.aixenprovencetourism.com/uk/aix-sejour.htm
Also, not to far away is Chateauneuf-le-Rouge which has had a food festival for like 17 years and a few friends have gone in the past and said it was fun. It is called Festival de la Gastronomie Provençale du Pays d’Aix and is in July. I don't think they have announced the dates yet. http://www.chateauneuf-le-rouge.fr/pageLibre00011935.php
Le festival international de la gastronomie in Mougins is supposed to be great, but that is always in September. They haven't announced the dates for that yet. It is in a really cool small town near Cannes. They have a great photography museum.
Food festival I know of in Paris is Gastronomy by the Seine which will take place June 8th. It is not that expensive and I have heard some good things, it is only in its second year.
And one that you missed that was in February in Deauville is OFF. Omnivore Food Festival. They have an amazing website and I really wanted to go, but I was traveling in Italy that week.
Anyways hope this helps.
We received the following email from Mike and Maxine, English ex-pats, who live in Burgundy. Very nice folks who are knowledgeable about local events:
Spring has arrived here - we had our first wine fete yesterday in the village of Bouzeron.
Each year, on Palm Sunday they have a fair of "Aligote & Jambon Persille". Two families there (Villaine & Chanzy) have pioneered the production of very good Aligote - conventionally regarded as low quality white wine. There was also pretty good Pinot Noir & Cremant available.
The solid nourishment on offer included Jambon Persille which is the traditional Easter dish of the Beaune area. It consists of chunks of lean ham in a garlic & parsley jelly.
So, one wanders about the pretty little village with a tranche of ham on a slice of bread in one hand & a glass of something refreshing in the other, listening to the bands & bumping into friends. Is there a better way to spend a Springtime Sunday afternoon?
You can contact them through their website is www.frenchwineroutes.com about future events.
Easy to take trains, TGV, to Rennes 45 minute trip, then rent car to go to Mt St Michel, about 70 minutes away, then extend south and east to Cancale and St Malo, great fishing village for oysters and walled city respectively in Brittany. Figure if leave early from Paris 2-3 nights would be ideal. Slow train to Toulouse, 7 hours, but then no car needed, train station is about 500 meters from old town which has great restaurants, markets, museums and all you would want from a city, perfect weekend trip. TGV to Nancy, see the square with the gold wrought iron, world famous, the Musee des Beaux Artes, where art nouveau is shown and still taught, even better than the art nouveau section of Musee D'Orsay, if that is possible. Wonderful Alsatian restaurants as well. Can from there rent a car and drive east to Riquewahr, walled Alsatian wine town that is as charming as it gets, or west to Verdun, from WW1 horrors and its museum.