Looking for the best food trips to take in France? Check out our guide to the best places across the country to eat and drink, from hearty ski food in the French Alps to undiscovered corners of Provence.

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For more French inspiration, check out our picks of the best hotels in Paris and foodie guide to Lyon.


13 best French food trips

Bayonne

For a visit to the French capital of chocolate

The tranquil city of Bayonne embodies the gastronomic energy of the Basque region, historically famed for its artisanal hams, and as the French capital of chocolate. The legendary Chocolat Cazenave serves up intense bubble-topped ‘sparkling’ hot chocolates in porcelain cups. Chocolaterie Xokola Etxetera specialises in chocolate spreads infused with spicy Espelette pepper, and L’Atelier du Chocolat Bayonne has its iconic Bayonne chocolate shard bouquets. Eat pintxos including jamon croquettes, truffled croque monsieur and Pyrenees milk-fed lamb kebabs at Les Basses Pyrénées bar. Then, for dinner, head to La Brasserie Basa for fish dishes with daily catch from the local village of Saint-Jean-De-Luz, and sweet creations such as buckwheat almond praline choux to finish.

Bayonne, France - Pont Marengo bridge over Le Nive river with the Cathedral of Sainte-Marie de Bayonne, in background. View from Quai des Corsaires.

Flaine

For a foodie ski trip

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Looking for the best French ski trip? Set in the French Alps, Flaine is the ideal base for a weekend spent skiing and indulging in vin chaud and crepes. Restaurant Le Michet is set at a handy spot where many of the runs converge. It’s a place to wallow inside on a cold evening, protected by timber rafters, thick stone walls and central fireplace. If you’re after Savoyard specialities you’ll find everything from tartiflette to home-smoked trout and salmon on the menu but it’s worth experimenting with some of the more unusual dishes; the subtly spiced lentils with coconut milk and black rice (essentially a creamy dhal) is great post-ski fuel.

Make sure you take a big enough suitcase to squirrel away some gourmet souvenirs from artisan food store Chez Bolzi on your way home. In the centre of Flaine Forum, close to the tourist office, almost everything it sells comes from within a 50km radius of Flaine; take your pick from reblochon and tome cheeses, Savoie salamis, beer from Brasserie Mont Blanc and Savoie-produced Pinot Noir and Cremant.

Where to stay: Make Terminal Neige Totem your base, with its views out on the slopes and outdoor hot tub. The buffet food they offer is much more than your average spread, think plates of charcuterie and cheese, pan-fried seabass as well as fondue. Don’t miss out on the dessert bar – a place to indulge in Nutella mug cakes, made-to-order waffles and homemade bluberry marshmallows. If you need a break from all the skiing, head to one of the street food stalls in Flaine Forum and warm yourself up with hot crepes.

Read our full guide to Flaine, here.

crepe and dubuffet sculpture in Flaine

Uzes

For chocolat-style villages

Pungent truffles and gummy bears? Just two of the more unusual ingredients on the menu in Uzès, one of those achingly pretty French towns whose Chocolat-style looks make it seem like a Hollywood film set. Indeed, its plane-tree-pricked Place aux Herbes once starred in the Gérard Depardieu movie Cyrano de Bergerac. Uzès is surrounded by truffle plantations and hosts a truffle festival every January, while confectionary giant Haribo opened Le Musée du Bonbon here in 1996. The company is synonymous with the gummy bears invented by German founder Hans Riegel in 1920. Your ticket comes with a bag of sweets to suck as you wander from room to room learning about the history of sugar and the candy-making process before ‘nosing’ some of the ingredients. Pressing a button releases a puff of vanilla, cacao or liquorice into the air.

This less well-known corner of France is just 40 minutes from Avignon, where you can jump off the Eurostar as it hurtles on to Marseilles. Once here the pace is far more leisurely. Uzès has its share of sites to tick off including the cathedral of Saint Théodorit with its ornate Romanesque bell tower, the Fenestrelle, the Duke’s palace and the Medieval Garden in the grounds of a ruined château which has around 450 plants, many medicinal, and is a lovely spot to unwind with a liquorice tisane after clambering up the tower’s 100 steps for a sweeping panorama. Be sure to visit Uzès on a Wednesday or Saturday when you’ll find a food market in full swing. And don't miss a visit to Boulangerie Fougasse d’Uzès where you can buy fougasse filled with anchovies and olives.

Where to stay: spend the night at boutique hotel La Maison d'Uzes set in a listed building the heart of the old town. The hotel restaurant, all parquet floors and vibrant velvet chairs, serves modern French dishes and local specialities, and the hotel has a spa, Roman baths and hammam.

Doubles from £255, check availability at booking.com

Read our full guide to Uzes, here.

Uzes, Provence, France

Biarritz

For a foodie French seaside trip

If you’re looking for a French spring getaway, head to Biarritz – a glitzy seaside resort which is the perfect place for cheese lovers. Start off with a visit to Crampotte 30, an old fisherman's hut turned restaurant serving a selection of pintxos. Head to halles-biarritz for a selection of regional produce including dry-cured bayonne ham. Don’t leave before visiting Patisserie Miremont, a confectionary shop that dates back to the 19th century. Order the speciality which is a chocolate mousse cake called Le Beret Basque.

Read our full guide to Biarritz, here

Biarritz confectionary shop

Europcamp Domaine de Massereau

For a foodie family camping trip

Eurocamping is an affordable way to have a family holiday, but Domaine de Massereau promises so much more than just a campsite. The on-site vineyard produces 30,000 bottles a year, and you can sample of few of them on the free one hour-tour and tasting each evening. If you find one you like, stock up as they’re rarely exported. If you want to eat on-site, you can order pizzas fresh from the wood-fired oven or seafood platters piled high with crabs, razor clams and langoustines. Should you wish to explore the local area, head into Sommières – a beautiful French town with shuttered buildings and market squares.

Read our full guide to Eurocamp Domaine de Massereau, here.

Glass of rose wine at Eurocamp

South Pigalle, Paris

For Parisian patisserie

The once overlooked SoPi neighbourhood is now a must-visit for its artisan patisseries, hip bistros and stellar cheese shops. If you're travelling to Paris for the patisserie alone, check out Sébastien Gaudard’s Rue des Martyrs boutique. Whether you want a choux bun, or a jar of crème de marrons (chestnut cream), you'll feel like a child in a sweet shop. They look almost too good to eat, but don't let that stop you. After all those cakes, a coffee might be in order, so stop off at KB Café Shop. After spending time in Sydney, the French owner wanted to bring some Australian influence back to France. It's got a relaxed vibe and the beans are roasted on site so they're as fresh as can be.

Read more about our stops on the foodie tour of South Pigalle, Paris, here

French pâtisserie from South Pigalle, Paris

Provence

For luxury relaxation

Head to Provence to explore pretty villages, ancient vineyards and historical cities. Hike up Mount Ventoux, head to a wine-tasting at Cheateau Pesquie (and enjoy picnic in the pretty garden) or visit the idyllic village of L'Isle Sur-La-Sorgue on market day for antiques, bountiful fresh produce and lavender souvenirs to take home. The pretty walled city of Avignon is perfect for soaking up some history.

Where to stay: Hilltop village Crillon Le Brave is a vision of Provençal style; a clutch of honey-hued, pastel-shuttered houses surrounded by slopes carpeted with olive groves and vineyards. The top of the village is now the effortlessly elegant five-star Hotel Crillon Le Brave. The highlight has to be the 180-degree views of unspoilt rolling countryside, vineyards, olive groves and Mount Ventoux. Made of nine houses linked together by the village streets, the 34 rooms are stylishly decorated in soothing neutral tones with Diptyque products in every bathroom. After a day of exploring, return to the hotel for dinner on the terrace at La Table du Ventoux. Admire the panoramic views whilst dining on seasonal French cuisine – expect local asparagus in spring and strawberries in summer.

Spend your time playing boules in the terraced garden, relaxing by the pool the or having a massage in the tiny spa set in atmospheric ancient vaulted stables. Should you be able to tear yourself away from the hotel, borrow e-bikes to explore through fields and tiny villages.

Doubles from £408, check availability at booking.com or mrandmrssmith.com

Hotel Crillon Le Brave

Normandy

For local produce

Calvados, cream, butter, cheese, apples, cider: like many places in France, Normandy is not easy on the arteries. It is, however, a superb place to sample AOC-status booze and food made by small, unfussy family producers, many of whom have been perfecting their produce since William the Conqueror started peppering the landscape with castles.

Normandy boasts no fewer than 30 Michelin-starred restaurants and a packed calendar of food festivals throughout the year celebrating its natural larder, from the Fête du Camembert in Orbec in June, July’s oyster festival in Denneville, the Foire aux Fromages in Livarot in August, the scallop festival in Ouistreham in October and an annual cider festival in picturesque Beuvron-en-Auge.

With 370 miles of coastline, menus are brimming with seafood. The region’s oysters have their own AOC (appellation d’origine contrôlée) and Port-en-Bessin’s scallops are justifiably famous – this is the home of coquilles St Jacques. The countryside is lush and green, grazed by native dairy herds, the region’s cheeseboard showcases the big four: livarot, neufchâtel, pont l’évêque and camembert de Normandie. The rolling hills are also blanketed with orchards of apples and pears, used to produce cider, calvados and poiré.

Where to stay: soak up the impressive surroundings of the Château de la Puisaye, a rambling 18th-century property in Verneuil-sur-Avre, now an elegant b&b. British owners, Diana and Bruno Costes, have spent years renovating the Napolean III château, and now offer a handful of rooms in the main house, a studio over the stables and a holiday cottage: the old hunting lodge. Breakfast in the wood-panelled dining room is a delicious spread of home-baked bread and jams, fruit from their orchards, and local cheeses.
Doubles from £115, check availability at booking.com

normandy

Brittany

For the home of crêpes

You’re never more than a frisbee’s throw from a crêperie in Brittany. The northwest corner of France is famous for its pancakes – sweet, wafer-thin crêpes smeared with salted caramel or buckwheat galettes stuffed with artisan sausage. It’s also a popular bucket-and-spade destination. But there’s more to Brittany than beaches and pancakes. Its larder is bulging with cider, oysters and onions; that French stereotype, the beret-clad man on a bike with a string of onions round his neck, was an ‘onion Johnny,’ hopping from Brittany to Britain to sell sweet, pink onions from Roscoff. Butter is also big in Brittany – rich, creamy and seasoned with fleur de sel from the Guérande.

Where to stay: Right by the water’s edge in Dinard, an elegant resort town in Brittany whose belle époque villas and grand hotels still hint at the grandeur of days gone by, Hotel Castelbrac holds its own among the surroundings. This fortress-like jumble of manicured stonework, originally built in the 1930s as a marine research station, sits on the town’s eastern shoreline overlooking St Malo across the water.

Inside there’s a sophisticated, modern vibe (think art deco-inspired headboards and bathroom fittings, columns intricately tiled with mosaics and porthole-like windows illuminating velvet banquettes in the bar) while panoramic seaside views reflect the hotel’s restive, peaceful atmosphere. Splash out on one of the prestige rooms and you can enjoy panoramic windows stretching across the entire front of the room. Walk-in rain showers come as standard but some rooms also have elegant bathtubs at the foot of the beds

Pampering is very much the order of the day here. Guests have access to private boat trips, bespoke treatments by Parisian spa brand Thémaéand a stunning sliver of a pool – a heated outdoor lap pool that lies just above the shore (bob your head up between strokes and you can look out at the sea below).

Doubles from £349, check availability at booking.com or mrandmrssmith.com

A beautiful dining room at Castelbrac, Brittany with expansive French windows that look out onto a body of water peppered with boats

The Dordogne

For rural idyll

There’s a reason why the Dordogne river has long been a magnet for those of us in search of classic beauty: it undulates through some of the loveliest parts of France, curling round towns and villages of gasp-inducing gorgeousness and, despite the odd sighting of jet-skis, gives the impression that nothing much ever changes.

Head to Souillac (not for food, but for the slightly creepy Automaton museum; unmissable if you love the bizarre). And Sarlat, whose Saturday market is almost impossibly over-subscribed at the height of the summer season. As with many tourist destinations, the restaurants haven’t the greatest reputation, buy fat, vac-packed sausages and figs from the covered market in the Église Sainte Marie. For a blissful bout of people-watching at the heart of the market square, visit hilarious Jimmy’s Bar, a rockabilly French fantasy of a US diner, to eat oysters from one of the nearby market stalls and quantities of chilled Bergerac rosé.

Where to stay: Chateau de la Treyne, clinging to the steep banks of the river, has baronial, wood-panelled rooms, vast open fireplaces and sense of serenity. Breakfast includes tiny, freshly made omelettes, cured ham, just-baked baguette and pastries, homemade jams and butter so luscious you could eat it by the spoonful. Dinner at the Chateau's Michelin-starred restaurant is quite the event, course after course of inventive cuisine making full use of the area’s native bounty – Quércy lamb, Aubrac beef and truffles (of course), in a tapestried room breathing stories of the past.

Check rates and availability at chateaudelatreyne.com

Read more about edible delights of the Dordogne here

dordogne

Bordeaux

For a winter getaway

This city’s robust signature dishes, rib-sticking entrecôte cooked in red wine, butter, shallots, herbs and bone marrow sauce, confit duck and lamprey, come into their own in winter, and it’s an excellent place to shop for foodie stocking fillers. Each year, Bordeaux’s Allées de Tourny is transformed into a Christmas market with wooden huts and stalls selling local gifts, many of them food-related. Stock up on canelés from Baillardran and don’t miss Maison Darricau for handmade chocolates peppered with honey and spices.

Where to stay: Twenty minutes’ drive from Bordeaux, Les Sources de Caudalie is the epitome of French country chic. There’s a stone manor house at its heart, a small lake, and a hard-working kitchen garden, plus a hamlet-like extension of suites. Great food and wine are the focus at this gastronomic getaway, but even the finest dining (the hotel’s main restaurant, La Grand’Vigne, holds two Michelin stars) is done without fuss.

The newer, cabin-like suites (designed to reflect the oyster fishermen’s huts of Cap Ferret, in the nearby Arcachon Basin), with their whitewashed timber walls, retro-influenced furniture and spa-like bathrooms, are the ones to splash out on; in the evenings you’ll be serenaded by frogs as you return to your room along flower- and water-lined pathways. In the mornings, step onto your private terrace and watch carthorses ploughing the vines just outside.

The three restaurants at Les Sources have most tastes covered. Celebrate a special occasion with dinner in La Grand’Vigne and enjoy a meal where even the table salts stick in the memory (one of ours, blended with Bordeaux pimento, was the colour of roast peppers). The cheeseboard comes with fresh cottage cheese, from a local dairy, served with a dot of cherry jam.

Doubles from £272, check availability at booking.com, mrandmrssmith.com or expedia.co.uk


Sète

For seaside fun

Sète’s sandy beaches are thronged with visitors during summer, but the peninsula has bigger fish to fry than tourism – it’s the largest fishing port on the French Mediterranean coast, and behind it is the oyster-filled Thau lagoon. It’s picturesque, too – from the hillside ‘Little Naples’ district to its boat-lined canals, the 19th-century facades are an attractive reminder of the town’s prosperous wine-trading heritage.

Local recipes – such as octopus-stuffed tielle pie – have stood the test of time, many brought by the Italian immigrants that settled here in the last century. The best seafood restaurants are along Quai Maximin Lucciardi near the harbour, where you’re likely to spot fishermen unloading still-writhing stock.

Where to stay: Le Grand Hotel retains much of its belle époque charm. Velvet curtains and chandeliers set the scene for market-fresh ingredients at Quai 17, the hotel’s opulent restaurant; try the signature lobster risotto with bisque sauce, or local speciality bourride, a monkfish stew with aïoli. The bright bedrooms are spread across three elegant floors – go for one that overlooks the canal and gaze at the shimmering image of buildings and boats reflected in the water.

Doubles from £149, check availability at booking.com

sete

Languedoc Roussillon

For less crowded South of France

West of the glitz and glamour of the Côte d’Azur is a quieter, less crowded corner of the South of France: the Languedoc Roussillon. Sweeping from Provence to the Pyrénées via a scenic string of historic towns and villages, shimmering coastline and wild, untamed countryside, the region is also one of the oldest and largest wine growing areas of the world. Inland you can take to the lazy waters of the Canal du Midi or the rugged surroundings of the Cévennes National Park or visit one of the many vineyards of the region.

Historic local towns with their bustling produce markets like Pézanas, Béziers and Narbonne provide plenty of scope for picking up ingredients if you want to self-cater.

Where to stay: wine forms the central theme of Château St. Pierre de Serjac, a 200-acre hotel-cum-vineyard outside Puissalicon. At its heart is a turreted, 19th century chateau surrounded by fragrant gardens, olive trees and palms. From its windows guests can gaze out over a huge, heated infinity pool onto regimented rows of vines and, beyond it, the fertile Langeudocienne landscape. The ground floor is home to the reception area, bar and a fine dining restaurant, and is decorated in a sophisticated palette of peacock and teal with Art Deco-style chandeliers picked up in the antiques market in nearby Béziers. A Cinq Mondes spa, with tranquil indoor pool, completes the picture.

Upstairs in the château are eight, luxurious suites, fittingly decked out with chandeliers, antiques, roll-top baths and singular touches such as (in an eaves room) the hand-painted walls of a former chapel. An extensive renovation has also seen the repurposing of the estates’ many outbuildings, resulting in 36-self catering apartments and houses. These are the real appeal for families. Sleeping two to eight, each one has been tastefully decorated in 50 shades of Elephant’s Breath with lots of linen, oak and wrought iron. They also come with high spec kitchens and all the latest tech – some of the larger properties also have fenced off pools. Amble over to the château for breakfast in the main restaurant – a spread of freshly baked croissants and pastries, fruit, yoghurt, cereals and hot dishes cooked to order.

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Doubles from £238, check availability at booking.com or mrandmrsssmith.com

chateau st pierre de serjac

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