French cuisine is synonymous with fine dining or fussy haute cuisine, yet in reality, French food ranges from warming comfort dishes to creamy desserts. Here’s our guide to the best meals to sample and where to try them. Bon appétit!
Slow-cooked beef in a rich red-wine gravy makes beef bourguignon one of the most famous French dishes around the world. Hailing from Burgundy (Bourgogne), it combines the revered Charolais cattle meat and pinot noir from the region with mushrooms and carrots. Paired with creamy mashed potatoes, it’s elegant comfort food you could serve at a dinner party.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Tuck in: Caves Madeleine in the centre of Beaune, the capital of Burgundy, is a cosy spot famed for its fork-tender version brimming with locally sourced produce.
The best dishes are those that use simple and accessible ingredients to create a lot of flavour – what we call peasant dishes. Cassoulet is one such dish, a rustic meat-and-bean casserole named after the dish it’s cooked in, the cassole. Rooted in the south, the dish has many variants, but its main ingredients are pork, lamb or duck simmered with white haricot beans. In Toulouse, for example, recipes add local sausage and duck or goose confit.
Tuck in: Chez Emile in Toulouse is known for its warming cassoulet and dining terrace, perfect on fine weather days.
Snails are a super traditional French dish. A little like British Marmite, you either love these chewy gastropods, or you hate them. Often served in their shells as an hors d’oeuvre, escargots, as the French call the beloved delicacy, come slathered in garlic butter. In addition, you’ll get special utensils – a pair of tongs and a snail fork to separate the meat from the shell.
Tuck in: Burgundy is well known for its snails. Go to Hélice, L’Escargotier Beaunois, a specialist snail-selling shop in Beaune where you can also dig into 12 Burgundy snails and a glass of white wine for less than the cost of a hardback travel book.
Tiny, delicate and delicious – who doesn’t love a macaron? Almond flour adds a fragrant touch, and buttercream is the perfect filling. These meringue-based morsels become even lovelier due to the rainbow of colours they come in, from pastel pinks to light greens.
Tuck in: The flagship Ladurée cafe on the Champs-Élysées (where else?) will even deliver – 90 minutes within Paris or 48 hours within France and the rest of Europe.
A side dish worthy of main course status, gratin dauphinois is a traditional French staple from the Dauphiné region of France. This ultimate, decadent comfort food is made with thinly sliced potatoes slow-cooked in cream and milk, flavoured with garlic.
Tuck in: The clue is in the name – traditional Restaurant Le Gratin Dauphinois in Grenoble serves a mean version of the regional speciality. Don’t like skiing? Spend the afternoon tucking into this dish instead.
This fuss-free Provençal stew originated in Nice as a cheap and easy way to eat well on sun-ripened vegetables. The summery dish sees aubergines, courgettes, peppers, tomatoes and onions cooked with olive oil and garlic.
Tuck in: In the narrow streets of Old Nice, the family-run Restaurant Acchiardo, adorned with red-clothed tables, specialises in classics such as ratatouille.
There’s some disagreement in the culinary world over whether this smooth, scorched creamy custard dish infused with vanilla originates from France, Spain (crema catalana) or Cambridge (burnt cream). Regardless, crème brûlée has been a dessert in France for centuries, and it’s a fixture on most menus.
Tuck in: Brasserie Le Sud in Lyon, one of four brasseries created by legendary chef Paul Bocuse, serves a classic version topped with crispy, caramelised sugar.
It’s just a toasted sandwich, right? This French classic made with ham and cheese first appeared on the menu of a Parisian bistro in 1910. It’s simple – a béchamel sauce rich with gruyère, layered with a slice of good ham, then baked until it’s melted and bubbling.
Tuck in: Many French would say the best place to eat them is at home, but Vins des Pyrénées, close to the Place des Vosges in Paris, elevates its croque monsieur with truffle gouda.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.