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When it comes to eating like a local, the key is to shop at the open-air markets. The French take pride in the quality of their produce, with customers visiting farmers markets for their daily bag full of fruit and veg. You'll find everything is labelled artisanale – but it's not just marketing hype.
And while the supermarket can't be beaten for sheer convenience, the continuing existence of specialist shops – the boulangerie for bread, the épicerie for groceries, the charcuterie for deli meats, and so on – is proof, if it were needed, that when it comes to food, the French do not mess about.
It’s that reverent attitude that makes eating out both a pleasure and occasionally, a pain.
Grabbing food on the go is hard to do in a country where food is to be savoured, not wolfed down as fuel. However, if long and leisurely is exactly what you desire, you're in no better place.
From small bistros to grand brasseries, eating out in France is a pleasure.
Those on a budget should go for the formules – the fixed-price specials of the day. Most restaurants will have two or three choices.
If you’re feeling a little more flash with your cash, then dining à la carte is the way to go.
Fancy a big blowout? Look to the cities, where Michelin stars abound. Paris alone has more than 100; Lyon more than 15.
One perennial Parisian favourite, two-starred Spring (Rue Bailleul), has a stellar reputation – but you'll need to book well in advance to see what in-demand chef Daniel Rose has got cooking.
In Lyon, push the boat out for Paul Bocuse’s L’Auberge du Pont de Collonges (Rue de la Plage). Having earned – and kept – three stars since 1965, you’re guaranteed an exceptional meal. Don’t miss the signature truffle soup.
Looking for a great bar or a happening club as an after-dinner treat? Visit our France nightlife page for the after-hours lowdown.