Everything you’ve heard about French cuisine is true, and the French are very proud of their culinary diversity. With over 400 kinds of cheese, unique regional wines, and specialties such as Dordogne’ s famous foie gras, you’ll never run out of ideas or choices for your afternoon picnic.
A standard breakfast (le petit déjeuner) usually consists of bread and/or croissants, jam, butter, juice and coffee, tea or chocolate. ExperiencePlus! makes sure you also get more filling choices such as yogurt, cereals, fruits, cold cuts and cheese. If you’d like to shop for additional supplies, you may want to purchase these items the night before; most stores open at 9:00 a.m., (bakeries open as early at 6:30/7:00) It’s also a very French experience to pick up a warm croissant or pain au chocolat at the local boulangerie (bakery) or pâtisserie (pastry shop) in the morning. Next door there’s probably a café for your coffee. A café noir is the regular French coffee. An express is an espresso. Remember, there are no free refills in France. Every café, bar and restaurant is required by law to post its prices by the entrance.
France comes to a halt roughly between noon and 2 p.m. for lunch (le déjeuner). Stop at a small village café, or put together a picnic. Restaurants and cafés run about € 10 for a plat garni (a one-dish meal of meat or fish and vegetables) or € 15 to € 30 for a three-course meal. For a quick lunch, pick up a sandwich at a bar for € 6 to € 8. You may want to get picnic supplies at the local épicerie or charcuterie (the French version of a delicatessen). Épiceries sell most of what you’ll need: cold cuts, cheese, fruit, mineral water and chocolate! Charcuteries cost a little more, but they offer regional handmade specialties: pâtés, saucisson (sausage), salads, cheeses and olives. With a crusty baguette from the local boulangerie (bakery), you’ll be set! Expect to spend € 8- € 12 per person for picnic supplies. Some people just snack all day instead of eating a traditional lunch. La glace (ice cream), water, sodas, coffee, fruit, and pastries are readily available along the way and cost from € 2 to € 5 (status 2017).
We’ll provide dinner (le diner) suggestions the nights you’re on your own. Most restaurants offer a menu à prix fixe which usually comes with an hors d’oeuvre (appetizer), such as a melon, pâté or crudités (raw vegetables); a main course such as poisson (fish), canard (duck), poulet (chicken) or agneau (lamb) and a side of vegetables; and a choice of regional cheeses or a dessert. These menus include gratuity and usually run € 15 – € 35. Some menus also include wine. Try a pizzeria or brasserie for a lighter meal. They’ll offer pizzas (€ 8 – € 15) and fresh salads (€ 8 – € 12): a mixed salad of greens, vegetables, ham, and cheese…
Bon appétit !