France

Restaurants in France

Gastronome or not, France is the place to go for great food. The country has a long history of not only rich, haute cuisine, but a tradition of excellent regional fare that has transformed France into the culinary giant it is today. It’s far too difficult to name just a few of the many great restaurants in France (though the famed Guide Michelin is always happy to help), so those visiting France restaurants should work overtime to try cuisine that is unique and native to the country like pot-au-feu, a hearty beef stew; matelote, fish cooked in cider; coq au vin or boeuf bourguignon, chicken or beef braised in red wine; and ratatouille, a rich vegetable stew. And don’t forget to drop by an authentic patisserie to stock up on madeleines, croissants, macarons, baguettes and all the delicious breads, desserts and cheeses that have set France restaurants apart as leaders in culinary excellence.

The trendy Upper Marais district in Paris is no stranger to strollers and hipsters, but it also houses some of the best and most inexpensive crepes in the world at Breizh Café. The ambiance is warm and lively, with a distinct Japanese flavor in the form of pale wood and low-lighting.

One of the contemporary bistros in Arles

For a late-night snack head to Nissa Socca for ratatouille and a version of socca (chickpea pancakes).

In a freak flood in 1910, the Seine reached the second floor of 4 Rue de Bercy. Three years later a café opened. In response to the flood, the buildings on either side were jacked up a couple of meters, but not No. 4. Nobody knows why.

This tiny bistro faces Biarritz’s famous food market.

Whether seated in the sunlight by the front windows, at the center room's bar, or beneath the back section's glass ceiling, diners find the red and gray decor and neo-bistro dishes reflected in Le Miroir's numerous framed mirrors (hence the name).

The modest 35-seat restaurant in Arles has no written menu and a $67 lunchtime prix fixe. Rival Gault Millau had named Rabanel, the restaurant’s previously obscure fortysomething chef, its toque of the year in 2008.

Tough to beat for ambiance, this hip and lively Spanish restaurant on the banks of the Seine brings a bit of old Madrid to the city of lights.

Few anticipated the Michelin Star this 20-seat restaurant near the Louvre would earn in 2009, just one year after opening. The space's rustic wood beams and stone walls suggest  simpilicty, but chef Adeline Grattard's menu is anything but.

In the fishing port of Vallon des Auffes, the idyllic L’Épuisette serves a proper Provençal bouillabaisse that’s oceans away from all others—brash and intense, rich with saffron and garlic and tasting unmistakably of the sea.

The widow of the late chef Bernard Loiseau runs this satellite of the long-standing family restaurant in Saulieu; 70 wines served by the glass are a highlight.