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The French have been chewing over a new gastronomic ranking this weekend, one in which neither Paris, whose legendary bistros are worshiped by millions of foodie pilgrims, nor Lyon, the so-called stomach of France, claimed the top spot. Instead, Bordeaux is the first winner of the not-so-snappily titled Atabula-METRO des villes françaises où l’on mange le mieux au restaurant.
In judging which of France’s 30 largest cities and towns were the best to eat out in, the food website awarded them a score based on 13 criteria. The first and most obvious of these being the number of restaurants that diners have to choose from.
The next nine looked at various assessments made by well-respected French dining guides, including the Michelin Guide, Gault et Mallau, and Le Fooding. It also took into account the number of restaurants with a rating of between 9 and 10 on the online reservation site La Fourchette.
The final three criteria referred to the number of members of the Maîtres Restaurateurs and Collège Culinaire de France associations working in each city, and their headcounts for Meilleurs Ouvriers de France Cuisine.
All of these were then weighted against the number of people living in each place.
With a population of just 243,000 and 26 restaurants featured in the Michelin Guide – three with two stars, including La Grande Maison Bernard Magrez, and three with one star – Bordeaux was always going to do well. The inclusion of 42 addresses in the Gault et Millau guide and 12 resident Maîtres Restaurateurs sealed the deal for France’s ninth-largest city, which earned 14,147 points.
Among the many exuberant Bordelais were the city’s mayor and the country’s former Prime Minister, Alain Juppé, who posted an enthusiastic if uncharacteristically ineloquent ‘Ouaaaah!’ on Twitter. Local restaurant owner and international potty mouth Gordon Ramsey, who opened Le Pressoir d’Argent on the first floor of Le Grand Hôtel in the city last year, will also be pleased by the news.
In addition to Paris (which has an incredible 967 Michelin-starred restaurants) and Lyon, which got 13,774 and 11,089 points respectively, the top five was rounded out by Lille with 9653 and Nice with 8563 points.
Villeurbanne, a satellite town of Lyon, found itself at the bottom of the list, with just 1376 points. It and eight other cities on the list (Nantes, Saint-Etienne, Toulon, Grenoble, Limoges, Tours, Amiens, and Besançon) have all yet to earn their first Michelin star.