France, with its long culinary tradition, is a particularly popular destination for travellers seeking new gastronomic experiences.
Belonging to the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO, French food is part of the country's national identity.
The Vallée de la Gastronomie - France® takes you on a tour of France's food specialities in its colourful and flavourful territory in search of an unforgettable gastronomic experience.
Bourgogne-Franche-Comté: tradition and refinement
With its cities of rich cultural heritage, Dijon, Dôle, Beaune, etc., Bourgogne-Franche-Comté is a destination of choice for culinary tourism in France.
Start with a staple, the famous Dijon mustard, an internationally renowned condiment. Made from brown mustard seeds, vinegar, salt, citric acid, and water, it is a companion to many regional dishes and enhances the classic mayonnaise when used to prepare it.
On the menu, two must-tries for a true gastronomic experience: Burgundy snails cooked with butter, garlic, parsley and shallots and beef bourguignon. This dish of beef simmered in red wine (Burgundy of course!) and an aromatic garnish is served with your choice of garlic bread croutons, potatoes, green beans, pasta, or pan-fried mushrooms.
Those who prefer dishes with less meat should not miss the eggs meurette. These poached eggs with a red wine sauce are traditionally served with garlic toasted bread.
For a perfect match, partner your dishes with the local fine wines of worldwide renown: Côtes de Nuits, Côtes de Beaune, Nuits-Saint-Georges, Beaune, Hospices de Beaune, or Meursault.
Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes: varied gastronomic experiences
With its eclectic gastronomy, the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region gives pride of place to fresh and local products. And for the wine, look no further than its famous regional wine estates.
The capital Lyon is renowned in many ways and is one of the essential waypoints for a true tourism and cuisine experience. Pork meat plays an important part in the local cuisine: Lyon’s sausage, truffled or pistachio saveloy or pâté en croute are served in all the famous typical restaurants known as the bouchons Lyonnais. Don't miss the quenelles, sort of dumplings of wheat semolina, butter, eggs, and milk. Plain or made with pike, a freshwater fish found in the surrounding lakes or rivers, they are baked au gratin and served with a tomato or béchamel sauce.
Escape to other cities of the region such as Vienne or Villefranche-sur-Saône to further your gastronomic experiences. Your path of discovery continues with sweets such as the pink pralines, prepared with almonds or hazelnuts and coated in cooked sugar. They can be enjoyed on their own, in a brioche or a pie.
Impossible to speak of local gastronomy without mentioning the wines. The region is full of prestigious estates and appellations: AOC Beaujolais, Juliénas, Brouilly, Côte de Brouilly or Saint-Amour.
Bouches-du-Rhône: the sun in your plate
Marseille, Cassis or Montélimar, so many essential stops that will make your stay in the Bouches-du-Rhône unforgettable.
On the specialty menu, the famous bouillabaisse still holds pride of place. Originally a simple and family dish, this fish broth has become more sophisticated over the years. Michelin-starred chefs have revisited it and you will even find versions with shellfish!
A little hungry after a hike in the garrigue, the local scrubland? Come and taste the fougasse, a flat Provençal bread with a soft crust surrounding a thick and moist crumb. You will find it plain or dotted with olives, onions, anchovies, bacon bits, cheese, tomatoes, mushrooms, or Provencal herbs. It is eaten alone or with the delicious local products such as sardines, anchoïade (specialty made from anchovies, capers, olive oil and garlic) or sprinkled with the famous olive oil.
Another gastronomic experience typical of the region, the daube Provençale is prepared with beef marinated in red wine, carrots, and herbs. It can be served with potatoes, rice, or fresh pasta.
To accompany all these delicious dishes, let yourself be tempted by the local wines well worth the detour: Côtes de Provence, Coteaux d'Aix, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Côtes du Rhône, Tavel, Vacqueyras or Crozes-Hermitage.
Gard: a generous cuisine
A land of contrasts, the Gard offers both an unspoiled nature and the beautiful Mediterranean coastline.
You will discover typical and original recipes based on fresh products straight from the farmers market in the restaurants of Uzès, Nîmes, Arles, etc.
The region will delight both meat and seafood lovers, all the while paired with local wines from Camargue, Cévennes or Costières-de-Nîmes.
For a typical Camargue gastronomic experience, try the bull gardiane. This dish in sauce is made from bull meat simmered in red wine. It leads to authentic and intense flavours and is served with traditional Camargue rice.
A small detour to Nîmes allows you to taste the famous cod brandade, a fish, milk, and olive oil emulsion. End your meal with the unique and sweet flavours of gariguette strawberries, protected by a national and European union label they are harvested between March and May.
While passing through the Cévennes, take a walk in the farmers markets to discover, among all the local treasures, the famous Cévennes sweet onions, eaten stuffed or in pies.
Another local sweetness, the croquignole d'Uzès is a round biscuit filled with a hazelnut or an almond that can be eaten on its own or with your coffee.
La Vallée de la Gastronomie - France®, specialist in culinary tourism in France
This little taste of the delicious specialties of French food have you wanting for more? To discover them and more, you have several options.
Have you fallen for the eggs meurette from Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, the quenelles from Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, the bouillabaisse from Bouches-du-Rhône or the gariguette strawberries from Gard? Staying in a one region allows you to discover the territory in depth.
You can also combine the visit of several regions or territories for a tour of France of food specialties. Whatever your desires, La Vallée de la Gastronomie - France® proposes exceptional accommodation in wine estates or chateaux and the discovery of the exceptional wines of its terroir