With so many restaurant choices in France, how does one know where to go and what will be served? Here’s a breakdown of what you will find:
On the Run:
You have only minutes until you catch your ride and you’re starved. Stop by a snack bar, buffet, buvette, cafeteria, or libre-service for quick, self-serve food. It definitely lacks classic French ambiance, but food is food when you’re hungry.
Are you hungry, but have no patience to sit down for a proper meal? Try going to a bistro or café. A quick sandwich and drink may be ordered, but seating is not always available. Meeting places may be relegated to standing room only or along a counter space. Crowding and lack of privacy are a problem.
Visit a salon de the or a brasserie for a full meal in a less formal atmosphere. Salon de thes usually adjoin patisseries, so they have pleasant, clean environments and scrumptious, fresh desserts. Brasseries welcome guest with full meals, coffee, and tea all day long.
For a rustic, rural style of dining, go to a tavern, hostellerie, ferme-auberge, or auberge du terroir. These eateries are attached to country inns or working farms and often serve local specialties with homegrown ingredients. Auberge du terroirs certify that all food served is produced locally.
Restaurants and rotisseries are where to find traditional, multi-course meals. They serve a wide cross-section of food and will accommodate just about any culinary desires.
If you have no interest in meals, go to an estaminet. The small bars don’t serve food, but will provide a glimpse of local culture. A word of warning: Estaminets are sometimes a bit seamy.
For The Tourist:
Creperies prove to be an irresistible draw for visitors. As the name makes clear, they sell sweet and savory crepes of every kind.