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.

Pricy even by Paris standards, Alain Ducasse's flagship restaurant at the ritzy Hotel Plaza Athenee marries haute cuisine with designer decor. Pierre Tachon table art adorns a swanky dining space backed by a series of exquisitely embroidered screens.

New owners Jean-Louis and Mireille Pons, from nearby Arles, took over Chez Quénin, changing the name to the trendier-sounding Bistrot du Paradou and improving the cuisine, while maintaining the character—vintage-tiled floors, stone walls, timbered ceilings—of the old place.

Located on the Left Bank near le Bon Marché department store, this busy wine bar was first established in the 1950's. The intimate, glass-enclosed space is furnished with an original zinc bar as well as ceramic tiles and vineyard-themed frescoes created by local artists.

Christophe Leroy's bistro and pastry shop is design-conscious yet down-to-earth, and the menu—with dishes such as shrimp scampi, risotto, and salad Niçoise—is comparatively affordable, which makes it a popular lunch spot.

What La Terrazza restaurant in the legendary Hotel Danieli is to Venice, Quai 17 is to Sète. Set in the canalside Grand Hotel, the restaurant’s dining room is decorated in a mix of modern and Belle Epoque styles.

For $18 a head, Mary Jo will prepare a ragout, simmered untouched for four hours in clods, and deliver it to your hotel or the beach for a picnic supper.

Created by the same manager behind the all-but-inaccessible nightclub Le Baron, this hotel’s restaurant, bar, and lush terrace serve as the Paris headquarters for many of the hottest names on the fashion and art scenes.

Located on a narrow lane off Rue du Dragon, this tiny, egg-centric café is housed in a centuries-old stone building, up a flight of creaky stairs.

One of the city’s most celebrated restaurants, Spring is owned and operated by Chicago-born, French-trained chef Daniel Rose. In 2010, the already-renowned restaurant reopened in a 17th-century building in the First Arrondissement, just one block from the Louvre.