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Best food region in France for 5 days?

liveloveboldly May 8, 2009 08:22 PM

Hi All,

We are going to Paris for 2 days and then heading to southern France for 5 days. We are completely flexible and haven't booked train or car rental. Do you have any suggestions for best region to visit and any must experience vineyards, cooking classes, markets and/or restaurants?

Thank you kindly,

  1. Delucacheesemonger Jun 8, 2009 03:38 PM

    While l agree with Souphie, as always on the SW, no one has mentioned Bretagne. Each time l come to France, l spend a week or more in Brittany, for the oysters in Cancale, for the restaurans of Roellinger, again in Cancale, for the crepes in Pont Abbe, for the sardines in Concarneaux(?), langoustines it La Taupinere in Pont Avan. Could go on forever. As Souphie also mentions, food in the Jura is always breathtaking and not fussy, and certainly region near Annecy, for the fancy places, for the cheeses, and the genever liquor. Not a bad region in the country

    6 Replies
    1. re: Delucacheesemonger
      souphie Jun 8, 2009 11:51 PM

      I love Brittany too, but it's an ingredient play. The best way to enjoy brittany is to rent a house by the coast, meet the fishermen at the harbor in the morning and buy still moving fishes. And indeed crêpes.

      Come to think of it, let's do that this fall.

      Roellinger closed his restaurant. It's finished, over, kaputzki. Don't get me started.

      1. re: souphie
        ChefJune Jun 9, 2009 07:24 AM

        I thought he kept the less formal of his restaurants open. No?

        1. re: ChefJune
          souphie Jun 9, 2009 01:29 PM

          If you're asking if the guy still has a business and cash flow, he sure does. But eating Roellinger's genius food is no longer possible, unless you're one of his friends.

          Chateau Richeux indeed is still open, but it has very little interest in my opinion. I can cook the Roellinger recipes at home -- they're not Roellinger.

          1. re: souphie
            ChefJune Jun 10, 2009 06:54 AM

            kinda like hoping to eat Robuchon's food at one of his chain restos, eh?

            1. re: ChefJune
              souphie Jun 11, 2009 07:25 AM

              Worse. Robuchon's restaurants are chef's restaurants -- if not Robuchon himself and all have a real chef in the kitchen. And Robuchon's art changed the way cooking was made so there is something left of him everywhere. But Roellinger's art was purely about his personal poetry and magical sense of balance, and is in no way reproducible. He was the saucier in his restaurant and as such finished every plate himself. You really were eating HIS food whereas Robuchon as always been a master, someone who transmits what he knows and make them do what he wants (not nicely, in general).

        2. re: souphie
          anneinparis16 Jun 9, 2009 08:21 AM

          We're off to Bretagne to do precisely that for two weeks in July. A couple of years ago we had a week on Belle-Ile off Quiberon and had a glorious time - we had a house so we bought and cooked the local seabeasts - a stunning lobster comes to mind - and lunched our way through the island's restaurants. And wandered all over the very small island, finding that we like it so much we need to go back!

          Re M Roellinger (where we ate possibly the best meal since moving here again in 2005), he has only closed his Cancale haute cuisine restaurant. His other Cancale businesses, including Chateau Richeux and its 'less formal' restaurant, his spice comptoir and dessert/sweet goodies shop and his gites are all still going. As is his cooking school. And I heard he's opened a store in Saint-Malo.

      2. sarment May 14, 2009 11:15 AM

        I agree with Souphie-vive le sud ouest!

        2 Replies
        1. re: sarment
          menton1 May 15, 2009 09:19 AM

          Well, unfortunately, one cannot spend their entire waking hours eating ANYWHERE in France! (Although it is an inviting thought). So my suggestion was to make a decision based on what you will be doing in-between meals! The food is so good in all regions!

          The French do eat a lot of offal, which is often off-putting to Americans.

          P.S. My personal favorite is the Dordogne, with its 15000 year-old cave drawings and a thousand-some odd castles. Very serene!

          1. re: menton1
            fanoffrance Jun 2, 2009 10:46 AM

            Good point. Many of the villages in the Southwest are breathtakingly beautiful. Some restaurants in the region I have tried and liked: Les Délices d'Hortense in the hotel Le Manoir de Bellerive at Le Buisson de Cadouin; Château de la Treyne at Lacave; Michel Trama at Puymirol; and Moulin de la Gorce at La Roche-L'Abeille.

        2. l
          Leely2 May 12, 2009 07:25 PM

          I am not as well-traveled as most others here and have only been to Provence, the Languedoc and the Dordogne. I thought the food was incredible in the Dordogne. Definitely bring your appetite. I had three days in Paris at the end of that trip and scarcely ate a thing because I was still full.

          6 Replies
          1. re: Leely2
            menton1 May 13, 2009 11:08 AM

            Frankly, livelove, you won't go wrong ANYWHERE in France! The French do up their food, their reputation is only exceeded by reality!

            We do moderate pricing, and with the information on the net plus the Pudlo, Gantie, and Cityvox, you can pretty much find great places to dine. There's also menus in every resto window (required by law) so that you can take a walk and peruse before deciding.

            There are regional specialties, so if it's in season, and something particular tickles your fancy, you can head to that area.

            Bon séjour!!

            1. re: menton1
              PhilD May 14, 2009 04:52 AM

              Menton - you may struggle in Nord Pas de Calais.

              1. re: PhilD
                menton1 May 14, 2009 09:17 AM

                Not at all. Like all regions of France, NPDC has its own unique character and cuisine. While its not at the top of my list, Lille is an interesting University town with lots of good eateries, and the local specialties, like Carbonnade Flamande, are relatives of the Belgian dishes from right over the border.

                That's why I recommended choosing a region based on qualities in addition to cuisine. And check if the dish you crave is in season. There just is no BEST cuisine by area in France. Chacun a son gout!!

                1. re: menton1
                  Theresa May 15, 2009 02:41 AM

                  Chacun a son gout indeed!

                  However, I'm surprised that no-one has mentioned Normandy - it was always the region lauded as being the best of French cuisine. Lots of dishes using apples, calvados and cream!

                  1. re: menton1
                    PhilD May 15, 2009 08:53 AM

                    But I think the question was "best for 5 days", therefore which areas have enough all round food interest to make a best list. NPFC has a few things of interest but I would guess no more than a day or two's. Certainly every region in France will have something but there are some areas that are better than others. Normandy and Brittany, or for better weather the Sud Quest.

              2. re: Leely2
                PhilippeBurke May 24, 2009 06:10 AM

                Dordogne, Provence and Languedoc are very good !

              3. souphie May 12, 2009 01:38 AM

                To me the ultimate food region is SW France, because there is so much great affordable food. It's the one region in France, in my opinion, along maybe with the Jura, where they eat really good food on a regular basis. There are great things in the SE and all other regions, but they tend to apply the same paradigm that random or average food is crap and you need to know where to go to get the wonders.

                I know that "SW" is pretty unspecific, but at the same time, I think this applies from Dordogne to Aveyron to Toulouse to the Basque and pyrennean country, not to forget the amazing Quercy.

                Otherwise, indeed Lyon rocks, French riviera rocks, Burgundy rocks, some even say Alsace rocks.

                2 Replies
                1. re: souphie
                  PhilippeBurke May 24, 2009 06:09 AM

                  I did travel in many regions of France, and I discovered that each region has their local products (food, recipe, cheese, wine...)

                  I like the warmer region near Italy for the fruits and vegetable and Mediterranean recipe
                  I like the SW for the duck and foie gras and good wines
                  I like Normandy for the apple and dairy, and the cream cakes
                  I like Brittany for the fishes and the sea fruits, and the crepes
                  I like Alsace for the choucroute and the bear
                  I like the Loire valley....

                  1. re: souphie
                    PhilippeBurke May 24, 2009 06:13 AM

                    if you cannot go to Dordogne or Provence, and if you are in Paris, the good market will be the Bastille Market on sunday morning (8am - 1pm) !

                  2. karookoos May 10, 2009 10:08 PM

                    Hi Carole - when are you going? Lyon is the food capital of France, with great restaurants (home of Bocuse) and the superb Les Halles market, where you can have market meals. Lyon cooking is not light - if you are going in the summer, Provence is wonderful, with many good restaurants in Arles, Avignon and Aix-en-Provence (also St Rémy and Eygalieres) . You can go to markets in different villages every day - there is a famous fruit and veg market in Senas, with melons from Cavaillon etc. Have a good trip!

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: karookoos
                      liveloveboldly May 11, 2009 05:24 PM

                      We'll be there in June. Thanks very much!

                      1. re: liveloveboldly
                        PhilippeBurke May 24, 2009 08:56 AM

                        Good food and wines tastings ?
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                        Loire Valley, and castle. Stop at Amboise
                        Burgundy (Beaune)
                        Jura and Vosges

                        >>> Good Trip in 2 weeks >>>

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