France has 22 regions, and each has distinct regional cuisines. Oftentimes, cuisines not only vary by region, but from city to city as well. We’ve put together a list of cities with distinct regional cuisines so that the next time you’re in France, you can let your stomach inform your decisions.
Provence has terrain that lends well to great agricultural bounty, so it’s no surprise that ratatouille is one of the most iconic dishes from the region. For a truly Aix specialty, wake up your sweet taste buds for calissons: candied melon and orange peel on a wafer, topped with icing.
Besides drinking lots of fantastic Bordeaux in Bordeaux, make sure you try local specialties like escargots à la caudéranaise (snails in a white wine broth) and fois gras, with which many restaurants in Bordeaux top steaks. Of course, don’t leave without eating canelés — moist caramel cakes that are shaped like flowers and flavored with rum and vanilla.
Lyon is considered France’s gastronomic capital, and not just for fine dining. It is home of the bouchon, a Lyonnaise restaurant that serves meat-heavy dishes and charcuterie that the region is famous for, such as rosette de Lyon and andouillette sausages. Another Lyonnaise specialty is cervelle de canut (“silk worker’s brain”): a dip of fromage blanc (French white cheese) with herbs and shallots.
This beautiful coastal town in Brittany is where you must eat crêpes, both sweet and savory. You’ll find that real, Brittany crêpes are buckwheat, paper-thin, and delicious. You can be sure that the seafood you eat here will be fresh and tasty, as is the case with moules à la crème (mussels tossed in cream).
The food in Strasbourg, in the Alsace region, has a lot of German influences, which can be seen in regional specialties like choucroute garnie — dressed sauerkraut with cured meats — and tarte flambée, a flatbread with cheese, onions, and lardons.