10 of the Best Dishes I Ate in France {During July}

It’s safe to say that I eat significantly better when I’m traveling than when I’m left to my own devices. I’ve been known to eat cereal for dinner, tortillas for breakfast, and oatmeal with blueberries at least 32 days in a row simply because I can’t be bothered to think of anything else to eat. Despite the plethora of outstanding Austin and Houston restaurants, I simply don’t take advantage of them. But when I travel, particularly in France, Katie bar the door {that’s Southern saying}. I’m totally making up for lost time.

French Food18 10 of the Best Dishes I Ate in France {During July}

As opinionated and decisive as I am on most subjects, I am probably the most indecisive when it comes to food. Upon sitting down for a meal when I’m traveling, I secretly hope for a tasting menu just because I won’t have to choose. I figure the chef isn’t going to bring me anything he’s not proud of, and frankly, I’d probably pick the same handful of dishes each time: lamb, potatoes, cheese, and cake. That’s not exactly adventurous or well-rounded. I’d totally miss out on sweetbreads, blood sausage, and pork cheek. I’m not a picky eater and will try most anything, with the exception of domesticated pets, at least once.

French Food361 10 of the Best Dishes I Ate in France {During July}

During my July trip to France, I visited Megève, Chamonix, and Paris, all of which are foodie havens. I have to say that I was a complete glutton the entire time. My body could survive an additional month on the excess calories I ingested during these three weeks alone. Alas, I’m never going to miss out on an opportunity to try the next “most delicious meal of my life.” That’s just not an option. So after much thought and anguish, I’ve comprised this list of the best things I ate during July in France.

10. Aveyron Lamb at Le Mont Blanc in Chamonix

In the historic, recently {and beautifully, I might add} renovated Hotel Mont Blanc, is where I dined on Aveyron lamb, sliced baked vegetables, chickpea fries, and thyme jus. Obviously this wasn’t a tasting menu. I unabashedly chose the lamb and certainly wasn’t disappointed. Perhaps I should note that the chickpea fries were a new {to me} and interesting side dish. My hat’s off to chef Fabrice Gouret.

Find it: Le Mont Blanc Restaurant

French Food21 10 of the Best Dishes I Ate in France {During July}

9. Tomato Everything at Le Safran in Paris {tie}

I’m a sucker for tomatoes, especially in the summer when they’re in season. Being from the South, I particularly like fried green tomatoes, though I found none of that on chef Philippe Daigneaux’s tomato-themed starter. My favorite from the trio was the tomato sorbet. Yes, that’s right, SORBET. For something that sounds so wrong it’s actually so right. After all, a tomato is a fruit, right?

Find it: Le Safran in L’Hôtel du Collectionneur

French Food31 10 of the Best Dishes I Ate in France {During July}

9. Salmon at Les Chalets de Philippe in Chamonix {tie}

How often does one get to eat in a 17th century dining room in the shadows of Mont Blanc? I suppose if you’re a regular guest of Les Chalets de Philippe in Chamonix then it’s a common occurrence. During my stay, I was invited to dine with Philippe and a few of his friends in the private dining room adjoining my chalet. I lost count of the number of courses I had, but I could never forget this pretty salmon and avocado bite. It combined my favorite sushi ingredients and left off the rice–simply delicious.

Find it: Les Chalets de Philippe

French Food36 10 of the Best Dishes I Ate in France {During July}

8. Black Truffles & Cheese at La Table de l’Alpaga in Megève

I’ve been considering a change in careers considering my ability to sniff out truffles. If there is a truffle within forty yards, you can bet I can smell it. Newly anointed with a prized Michelin star, chef Christophe Schuffenecker knew exactly how to get my attention when he included this pretty black truffle dish on his tasting menu. And the cheese? Oh my! These are all the same kind {which name escapes me}, but one was made in the summer, one in the winter, and the other with milk from cows at high altitude. To experience the taste difference was quite interesting. And for the record, I preferred the high-altitude cheese.

Find it: La Table de l’Alpaga in Alpaga

French Food131 10 of the Best Dishes I Ate in France {During July}

French Food151 10 of the Best Dishes I Ate in France {During July}

7. Starters at Beef Lodge in Megève

Ironically, this meat-loving Texan had to go all the way to the French Alps to eat at a place called Beef Lodge. This restaurant could easily be transported–decor, menu, and all–to any Texas city and be a hit. My favorite part of dining at Beef Lodge, besides the open kitchen and charming staff, was the selection of starters. Essentially, I wanted to make my meal the entire appetizer menu. Instead of creating my own tapas meal, I selected tomate à l’ancienne with burrata and cœur de faux-filet marinés en fines tranches, vinaigrette douce. In English that translates to tomato with burrata cheese and thinly sliced marinated beef or simply MMMMMM….GOOD.

Find it: Beef Lodge in Lodge Park

French Food41 10 of the Best Dishes I Ate in France {During July}

French Food51 10 of the Best Dishes I Ate in France {During July}

6. Croissants at Les Chalets de Philippe in Chamonix

For as long as I live, I will never forget the croissants from Les Chalets de Philippe. This breakfast spread was delivered to my chalet’s dining room table on my first morning in Chamonix. With so much goodness packed into such a small space, the golden brown croissants nearly got lost. See them between the orange juice and milk? You may think they look like typical French croissants, but you’d be wrong. I’m pretty sure that I’d climb Mont Blanc if I knew these babies were waiting for me on top. Seriously.

Find it: Les Chalets de Philippe

French Food24 10 of the Best Dishes I Ate in France {During July}

 5. Lamb at Le Flocon Village in Megève

You probably guessed that there would be another lamb dish on my top ten list. This simple and rustic plate comes from Le Flocon Village, the bistro of three-star Michelin chef, Emmanuel Renaut. His super-fancy restaurant, Flocons de Sel, is located in the mountains, but chef Renaut offers a more casual option located in the village of Megève. My lunch consisted of a starter and main chosen from his set menu all for the cool price of €27. Given the quality and taste of my lamb, I’d be willing to wager that this just might be the best deal in all of France.

Find it: Le Flocon Village

French Food1 10 of the Best Dishes I Ate in France {During July}

4. Roasted Fish at Le Bistrot in Chamonix

The lunch atmosphere at this one-starred Michelin restaurant in Hôtel Le Morgane is refreshingly casual. After ascending to the top of Aiguille du Midi, I was worried that my Lululemon tights and NorthFace jacket might not be appropriate, which totally wasn’t the case. There were men in shorts and babies in highchairs. That’s not to say that this sophisticated restaurant is akin to Chili’s or anything. I mean, just take a look at this skin-on roasted fish created by chef Mickey Bourdillat. I wasn’t shy about licking my plate either. After all, the twin babies in the highchairs were doing it.

Find it: Le Bistrot in Hôtel Le Morgane

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3. All of this at Albert 1er in Chamonix

After being seated at my corner table at Albert 1er, I took note of the dining room, which felt more like a comfortable Alpine chalet rather than a two-starred Michelin restaurant. I liked it and instantly felt at ease. In spite of the atypical atmosphere, the food and service is exactly what you’d expect from such a highly-regarded restaurant. Located in Le Hameau Albert 1er, the restaurant and hotel are both a family affair. Chef Pierre Maillet took the cooking reins from his father-in-law, Pierre Carrier, and the hotel has been in the Carrier family since 1903. Perhaps that’s why I felt so at home, if my home was a Relais & Châteaux hotel with an acclaimed restaurant, complete with a Willy Wonka-worthy dessert cart and an obscene wine collection.

Find it: Albert 1er in Le Hameau Albert 1er

French Food16 10 of the Best Dishes I Ate in France {During July}

French Food17 10 of the Best Dishes I Ate in France {During July}

French Food37 10 of the Best Dishes I Ate in France {During July}
2. And All of this at Restaurant Le 1920 in Megève

The award for the prettiest food from my most recent trip to France goes to chef Julien Gatillon. This 28-year-old wunderkind was awarded his first Michelin star in 2014 for his work at Restaurant Le 1920, located in the Rothschild-owned Chalet du Mont d’Arbois. I could have easily included every dish from my six-course tasting menu, but these three were my favorites. As delicious as they are beautiful, I can’t wait to return to see what this budding young chef comes up with next.

Find it: Restaurant Le 1920 in Chalet du Mont d’Arbois

French Food8 10 of the Best Dishes I Ate in France {During July}

French Food9 10 of the Best Dishes I Ate in France {During July}

French Food10 10 of the Best Dishes I Ate in France {During July}

1. 114 Faubourg in Paris

Located in Paris’ luxurious Le Bristol, 114 Faubourg is a bright and beautiful brasserie, which is a more casual alternative to the three-starred restaurant, Epicure, also found in the hotel.

That fish. Those capers. Mashed potatoes. It all looks so very simple, but not really. I certainly couldn’t whip this up, but it’s all in a day’s work for chef Eric Desbordes at the one-star Michelin restaurant, 114 Faubourg. Let’s just say that chef Desbordes’ sole has plenty of soul and his mashed potatoes might make chef Joël Robuchon rethink his recipe. Did I just say that? Why, yes I did.

Find it: 114 Faubourg in Le Bristol

French Food28 10 of the Best Dishes I Ate in France {During July}

French Food29 10 of the Best Dishes I Ate in France {During July}

I was a guest of Best of the Alps, who helped organize the meals in Megève and Chamonix. The Paris meals were kindly provided by Le Bristol and L’Hotel du Collectionneur. As always when it comes to food, I’m only influenced by my taste buds.

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