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Your Gourmet Guide to French Regional Specialties

Partake in a culinary journey throughout the regions of France, where each region boasts distinctive flavors and gastronomic delicacies. With 13 administrative regions nestled within metropolitan France, this country is your playground for epicurean delights.

We’re taking you from the snow-capped Alps to the sun-kissed shores of the Mediterranean, displaying each corner of France that offers a tantalizing array of specialty dishes and foods to ignite your senses. Join us as we explore these French regional specialties, inviting you on this luxurious gastronomic adventure.


Many know this region in eastern France for its stunning Alpine landscapes, including the majestic Mont Blanc, and for its ski resorts. However, there are many fine wines and culinary delights such as the city of Lyon’s gastronomic scene for you to explore as well.

Indulge in an unforgettable week experiencing the best of Lyon’s unique gastronomy: Luxury Gourmet Week in Lyon

Fondue Savoyarde, French Alps
Credit: Yann Allegre

Regional Specialty: Fondue Savoyarde 

The locals serve this decadent melted cheese dish with bread and cured meats. It is perfect for an après-ski in mountain dining experience in this region. 

Fondue has both Swiss and French backgrounds, dating back to the 17th century. It uses a mixture of cheeses from both countries. Today, a typical recipe requires equal parts of Comté and Beaufort, two of France’s top mountain cheeses, along with an equal portion of Swiss Gruyère.

Ready to hit the slopes? Check out: Ski Vacation in Chamonix


This region in eastern France boasts picturesque vineyards and charming medieval towns. It’s famous for its prestigious Burgundy wines, exquisite cuisine, and scenic countryside. Check out: Wine Tours in Lyon, Dijon & Champagne

Coq au vin, Burgundy

Regional Specialty: Coq au Vin

This classic French dish embodies the rich flavors of Burgundian cuisine. Coq au vin contains chicken braised in red wine, lardons, and mushrooms. The key ingredient is local Burgundy red wine that chefs use to marinate and cook the chicken and to create the flavorful sauce that completes this artisanal dish. 


Located in northwest France, Brittany is famed for its rugged coast, ancient Celtic heritage, and delicious seafood. Picturesque villages, historic sites, and vibrant cultural festivals draw visitors to the region.

Regional Specialty: Breton Crêpes

You cannot visit France without having tasted an artisanal classic, crêpes. This specialty, which originated in 13th-century Brittany, is described as thin pancakes, which can be sweet or savory. Crêpes, not to be confused with galettes, are typically made with wheat flour. Top your crêpes with sweet flavors such as Nutella, caramel, fruits, or the French favorite, crème de marron. While galettes, made with buckwheat flour, are typically accompanied by more savory flavors such as ham, cheese, and eggs.

Hungry for more? Check out: Beginner’s Guide to French Crêpes

Centre-Val de Loire

Locals and visitors alike celebrate this region in central France for its majestic châteaux, picturesque countryside, and the iconic Loire Valley, often referred to as the “Garden of France.” It’s a paradise for wine enthusiasts and history buffs alike.

Tart Tatin, Loire Valley

Specialty Dish: Tarte Tatin

Those who have a sweet tooth will want to indulge in this classic French dessert created back in the 1880s by the Tatin sisters. Described as an upside-down caramelized apple tart, this delectable dessert embodies the elegance and refinement of the Loire Valley. It includes all the elements in a perfect treat with a crunchy base, a fruity interior (typically apples, and some sweet caramel glaze. 

Entice your taste buds and discover the true flavor of the Loire Valley: Flavors of the Loire Valley


Known for its pristine beaches, rugged mountains, and vibrant Mediterranean culture, Corsica offers opportunities for luxury seaside retreats, outdoor adventures, and indulgent cuisine featuring fresh seafood and local specialties.

Corsica, Fiadone

Specialty Foods: Fiadone & Brocciu cheese

Fiadone, a traditional Corsican cheesecake made with brocciu cheese, showcases the island’s unique culinary heritage and local ingredients. Eggs, lemon zest and sugar are also included in this dish. This regional delight is creamy on the inside and golden brown on the outside.

Brocciu is prepared with goat’s or sheep’s milk and is described as soft, creamy, and sometimes foamy. Nineteenth-century Emile Bergerat French poet once said, “Those who haven’t tasted it don’t know the island”. This cheese has its seasons for the best time to taste it, which is in the winter between December and April. 

Check out: Luxury Stay in Southern Corsica

Grand Est

Rich history, diverse landscapes, and charming towns characterize this region in northeastern France. Grand Est is home to picturesque vineyards, scenic countryside, and the historic city of Strasbourg, home to the European Parliament.

Alsace, Choucroute Garnie

Specialty Dish: Choucroute Garnie

Choucroute Garnie, French for dressed sauerkraut, is a hearty dish symbolizing the France-German culinary influences of this region. The name also hints at its lavishness. This dish consists of sauerkraut expertly cooked with the subtle essence of Alsatian wine, enriched with decadent goose fat, and infused with aromatic juniper. Delight in a lavish array of charcuterie, featuring succulent slabs of pork and a variety of exquisite sausages, all served atop a bed of tender potatoes, ensuring a truly unforgettable culinary experience of this region.

Discover: Gourmet Delights in the Heart of Alsace


Located in northern France, this region is famous for its iconic landmarks such as the white cliffs of the Opal Coast and the historic city of Lille. It offers a blend of cultural heritage, culinary delights, and opportunities for luxury shopping and leisure.

Carbonnade Flamande, Northern France, hauts-de-France

Specialty Dish: Carbonnade Flamande 

Also known as Flemish beef stew, it represents the comforting and robust flavors of northern French cuisine. Carbonnade flamande champions hearty beef cooked with beer and caramelized onions. The sumptuous, glossy gravy and melt-in-your-mouth beef offer a comforting embrace, making it an ideal dish to savor during the chillier months.

Most “Estaminet” restaurants, a traditional type of eatery found in this region of northern France, have this specialty on the menu. They serve hearty, traditional French cuisine with an emphasis on using local ingredients and having an old-world ambiance.


We love Normandy for its picturesque coastline, historic sites, and rich culinary traditions. Here you can explore charming seaside towns, sample gourmet cheeses, and ciders, and discover the region’s pivotal role in world history.

Moules Marinères, Mussels, Moules Frites, Normandy

Specialty Dish: Moules Marinières 

An ideal choice for seafood lovers and an essential culinary experience if you wish to immerse yourself in traditional French cuisine. This beloved classical dish involves fresh mussels cooked within a savory broth of white wine, garlic, and herbs. It brings together this coastal region’s delicate flavors of seafood and dairy products. The origin of the Moules Marinières recipe stems from an efficient approach to preparing mussels, highlighting the innate flavors of the seafood to shine through.

Ready to embark on a culinary journey? A Road Trip Through Normandy for Foodies

Nouvelle Aquitaine

Situated in southwestern France, this region is famed for its diverse landscapes, from the sandy beaches of the Atlantic coast to the lush vineyards of Bordeaux. It offers opportunities for luxury wine tours, gourmet dining experiences, and outdoor adventures in the Pyrenees mountains.

Foie Gras, Nouvelle Aquitaine, Bordeaux,

Specialty Food: Foie Gras

Not only is this region famed for wine and amazing landscapes, but also its world-renowned cuisine. There are a few specialties from this region to include the most famous foie gras. This culinary specialty is a popular holiday delicacy in France renowned for its exquisite flavor and velvety texture. Foie gras comes from the specially fattened liver of ducks or geese. According to French law, “foie gras is part of the cultural and gastronomic heritage protected in France.” 

Unique Experience: Gourmet Walking Tour of Bordeaux

You can have the opportunity to embark on a gourmet journey through Bordeaux with our private walking tour. Led by a knowledgeable foodie guide, you can explore the city’s culinary treasures, from artisanal coffee and chocolate to local pastries and iconic specialties. Indulge in 10 tastings, including cheese and wine at the historic Covered Market, culminating in a delightful meal at a renowned bistronomic restaurant, accompanied by Bordeaux’s finest wines:


Occitanie known for its Mediterranean climate, picturesque countryside, and historic cities such as Toulouse and Montpellier is a paradise for wine enthusiasts, offering access to renowned vineyards in regions like Languedoc and Roussillon.

Cassoulet, Occitanie, French Regional Specialties

Specialty Dish: Cassoulet

Cassoulet is named for the dish it is traditionally baked in – a cassole. This hearty stew contains white beans, duck, sausage, and pork, representing the rustic and flavorsome cuisine of the Languedoc region. The cassoulet from Toulouse uses duck confit and French garlic sauces, a delicacy of that area. 

Pays de la Loire

Positioned in western France, this region is renowned for its fairy-tale châteaux, scenic rivers, and charming towns. It’s an ideal destination for luxury river cruises, cultural excursions, and gourmet dining experiences along the Loire River.

French Regional Specialties, Rillettes de Porc
Courtesy of Sarthe Tourism

Specialty Food: Rillettes de Porc

This dish showcases the region’s dedication to artisanal craftsmanship and gastronomic tradition. Pork rillettes, a beloved French lunch or snack, pairs beautifully with crusty bread and creamy French butter, garnished with tender pork and served alongside cornichons. Additionally, rillettes consist of slow-cooked pork or poultry in its own fat, resulting in a flavorful and indulgent dish, much like duck confit, but it is served shredded.

Provence-Alpes-Côtes d’Azur

Situated in southeastern France, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur is famed for its stunning Mediterranean coastline, picturesque villages, and vibrant cultural scene. It offers opportunities for luxury villa rentals, wine tasting in Provence, and indulgent seaside escapes on the French Riviera.

Bouillabaisse, Provence, South of France, Gourmet Guide, French Regional Specialties

Specialty Dish: Bouillabaisse

Bouillabaisse stands as a quintessential culinary treasure traditionally from the Mediterranean region of Provence. Originating in Marseille, where it holds a very symbolic status, this dish comprises a rich fish soup served with garlic-infused bread croutons slathered with rouille, accompanied by fish pieces and potatoes.

Contemporary Provençal bouillabaisse showcases locally sourced rockfish simmered in a flavorful court-bouillon made with water or white wine, infused with garlic, olive oil, and sometimes saffron. The preparation of today’s bouillabaisse soup follows a specific charter, which mandates that they must cut the fish in front of you. At the Miramar, one of the founding members of the charter, bouillabaisse must be crafted with at least six varieties of rockfish. 

Ready to tantalize your taste buds and embark on a culinary adventure through France? Speak with our experts today to dive deeper into these regional specialties!

Unveiling the French Side of the Basque Country

Escape the ordinary and hop over to the French Side of the Basque Country. This vibrant region offers an unequaled blend of unforgettable experiences, rich history, and stunning landscapes. Immerse yourself in a land steeped in tradition. Explore charming villages adorned with distinctive architecture, dating back to pre-Roman times. Witness the enduring spirit of the Basque people, evident in their rare language (Euskara) and vibrant culture. Embark on a culinary adventure unlike any other. From the fresh seafood of the Atlantic coast to the delicious wines from the interior, the French Basque Country offers a feast for the senses.

French Side Travel invites you to discover this captivating region.

Welcome to the Basque Country

Map of the Basque Country Courtesy of the Basque Cultural Institute

Beyond the familiar shores of Spain lies a hidden gem: the French Basque Country. Often overshadowed by its larger southern neighbor, this captivating region offers a unique blend of unforgettable experiences, rich history, and vibrant culture.

Straddling the border between France and Spain, Euskal Herria, the heart-shaped land of the Basque people, is a tapestry of lush landscapes, dramatic coastlines, and picturesque villages. While the Spanish Basque Country may be renowned for its vibrant festivals and Michelin-starred restaurants, the French Basque Country, known as Iparralde (“the north country” in Euskara), boasts its distinct charm.

Immerse yourself in a land steeped in history. Dating back to pre-Roman times, the Basque Country boasts a striking cultural identity and a strong sense of community. Explore historic towns adorned with distinctive architectural styles, and witness the enduring spirit of the Basque people, evident in their traditions and warm hospitality.

French Side Travel invites you to discover the untamed beauty of the French Basque Country. With our curated experiences and expert guidance, we’ll help you create unforgettable memories in this captivating region. Beyond the shops and souvenirs, discover the true essence of Iparralde.

Cities in the Basque Country

Biarritz (Miarritze)

Biarritz boasts a captivating blend of historical appeal and vibrant energy. In the mid-19th century, Empress Eugénie’s presence transformed this Basque town into a fashionable seaside resort for European royalty. Today, Biarritz continues to captivate visitors with its sophisticated elegance, oceanside wellness, and thriving surf scene.

Beyond its glamorous facade lies a rich past. Biarritz’s slate-roofed villas whisper tales of its whaling heritage, dating back to the 17th century. The town’s southern coast, Côte des Basques, holds an even more memorable distinction: the cradle of French surfing. In the 1950s, American influence ignited a passion for riding the waves, forever changing Biarritz’s cultural landscape.

Biarritz’s allure extends beyond its shores. The Atlantic coastline boasts exceptional surfing conditions, making it a European surfing haven. Whether you’re seeking a luxurious escape or an adrenaline-pumping adventure, Biarritz offers an unforgettable experience for every traveler.

Bayonne (Baiona)

Courtesy of Guide du Pays Basque

Step into a world of tantalizing flavors in Bayonne, the heart of authentic Basque cuisine. Wander idyllic alleys lined with shops and bakeries overflowing with regional specialties. Savor mouthwatering dishes like axoa, a savory veal or duck ragout infused with Espelette peppers, and chipirons à l’encre, tender squid cooked in their rich ink. Uncover Bayonne’s legacy as France’s chocolate capital, where centuries-old traditions meet exquisite craftsmanship. Treat yourself to a hand-whisked chocolat mousseux at the iconic Cazenave tearoom, and delight in exceptional Basque treats like biskotx, a black cherry jam-filled cake, and the city’s renowned cured ham.

Saint-Jean-de-Luz (Donibane Lohizune)

Courtesy of En Pays Basque

Between Biarritz and Hendaye along the Côte des Basques lies the tranquil coastal town of Saint-Jean-de-Luz. Immerse yourself in its rich maritime history, evident in the enchanting harbor and fortified walls. Explore pedestrian streets lined with elegant boutiques, savor exquisite Basque cuisine, and relax on the sun-drenched beaches.

Hendaye (Hendaia)

Courtesy of En Pays Basque

Bask in the natural beauty of France’s most southwesterly town. Its landscape paints a captivating picture of the Basque Country’s past, before the arrival of summer homes and surf shacks. Walk the Basque Corniche, a path winding over breathtaking sea cliffs, and see the region as it existed centuries ago. Basseri, adorned with sloping rooftops and oxblood-red timbers, dot the prairies. These traditional farmhouses stand as testaments to the enduring Basque culture, preserving its legacy amidst adversity.

Sunset Sail along the Basque Coast

Escape the ordinary and embark on a magical sunset sail along the Basque Coast, departing from Hendaye. Leave the landmarks behind and lose yourself in a breathtaking display of ever-changing colors, both in the sky and reflected on the shimmering sea. This unforgettable experience offers a moment of pure relaxation as you share the beauty of the setting sun with family and friends. Guided by a state-qualified instructor, you can simply sit back, soak in the breathtaking scenery, and create lasting memories under the Basque sky. This elevated escape from the every day is the perfect way to end your day, leaving you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

Things to Do in the Basque Country

Explore the Basque Coast

Courtesy of Bidart Tourisme

Unwind on a captivating coastal journey through the French Basque Country, a colorful tapestry of seafront villas, surf lodges, and rustic Basque farmhouses. Witness the birthplace of French surfing on Biarritz’s Côte des Basques and delve into Bidart (Bidarte), a quintessential Basque village. Experience the magic of the Sentier du Littoral, a 15-mile coastal trail offering breathtaking panoramas. Beginning in Bidart, the path weaves through the fishing villages of Guéthary, Saint-Jean-de-Luz, and Ciboure, culminating in a spectacular corniche and ending in enchanting Hendaye by the Franco-Spanish border. Immerse yourself in the landscape’s beauty and discover the hidden cultural secrets of this captivating region. This journey promises breathtaking views, rich history, and the captivating spirit of the Basque Country.

Surfing Initiation Class

Courtesy of Caroline Hernandez

Unleash your inner surfer in Hendaye, the French Basque Country’s year-round surfing haven. Ideal for beginners, Hendaye’s sheltered location offers calm summer waves perfect for learning, while its winter swells provide a challenge when other spots get rough. Experience consistent surf and discover the ideal learning environment, no matter the season.

Visit the Villages of the Basque Interior

Courtesy of Biarritz Pays Basque

Immerse yourself in the picturesque villages of Ainhoa and Espelette, where Basque heritage shines bright. Ainhoa, listed amongst France’s most beautiful villages, invites you to explore its traditional architecture, vibrant culture, and historical significance as a stopover for pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago. Delve into the rich social fabric of the Basque people with your local guide.

Continue to Espelette (Ezpeleta), a quaint village where Basque houses are decorated with the iconic red peppers. Traditionally, the piments d’Espelette dangle on strings to dry, practically forming curtains, and frame windows and doorways. Discover the inimitable production process that gives these peppers their distinct flavor, a staple in Basque cuisine worldwide.

Your Basque adventure doesn’t end there! Explore further and uncover hidden gems nestled within this captivating landscape. Each village offers a unique tapestry of cultural experiences, breathtaking views, and culinary delights waiting to be unveiled.

Try Sagardoa (Basque Apple Cider) & Txakoli (Basque White Wine)

This traditional cider is made from fermented apples. It is a dry, slightly sparkling cider that is typically served in large glasses. Traditional production involves storing the cider in large oak barrels called kupela. These barrels impart subtle woody and earthy flavors to the cider. Txakoli is an AOC wine produced in the Basque Country, along the Atlantic coast. It is a dry, white wine that is made from the Ondarrabi Zuri grape variety. Learn more about AOC wine here.

Courtesy of Visit French Wines

Private Guided Tour of Basque Vineyards

Discover the rich flavors and history of the French Basque Country on this captivating tour. In the village of Espelette, taste its renowned peppers, and delve into the secrets of Basque cider making. Visit the picturesque town of Saint Jean Pied de Port, a pilgrimage landmark, and immerse yourself in the vineyards of Irouléguy, known for its distinct wines. Uncover the fascinating history of Navarre and learn about the region’s traditions on this unforgettable journey for history buffs and food lovers alike.

Tasting of Underwater-Aged Wine

Dive into an uncommon wine experience in the French Basque Country. Discover a historic winery overlooking Socoa Beach, where exceptional wines are matured and bottled. Explore the innovative process of underwater aging, where the ocean’s natural elements like swell and tides infuse the wines with distinctive aromas. Embark on this luxurious French adventure and taste the extraordinary results of this patented technique.

Where to Stay in the Basque Country

Hôtel du Palais

Courtesy of Hotel du Palais

Step back in time at the Hôtel du Palais, a historic gem overlooking the Atlantic. Built for Empress Eugénie, this luxurious hotel has hosted royalty, including King Edward VII, who famously visited annually, and celebrities like Coco Chanel, who opened a boutique in Biarritz during the First World War. Experience impeccable interiors reminiscent of the Napoleon III era and breathtaking ocean views. French Side Travel invites you to discover this iconic landmark.

Brindos, Lac & Château

©Mathilde Ranchon

Nestled on the shores of a legendary lake, Brindos, Lac & Château offers an unforgettable escape in the Basque Country. Luxuriate in nature with lake-view rooms or distinct floating lodges named after local fairytales. Embrace Basque culture through the hotel’s elegant décor and peaceful setting. Step into a haven of timeless elegance at Brindos Lac & Château

Les Hortensias du Lac

Courtesy of Les Hortensias du Lac

Just north of the Basque Country, in the stunning Landes region, lies Les Hortensias du Lac. This luxurious surf lodge hotel offers a laid-back atmosphere reminiscent of the Hamptons, with most rooms boasting stunning lake views. Indulge in fresh seafood and plancha cuisine at the panoramic restaurant, or unwind at the spa designed to echo the surrounding landscape. For a beachfront escape, head to La Cabane des Estagnots just minutes away. French Side Travel invites you to experience Les Hortensias du Lac, just a 30-minute drive from Bayonne along the breathtaking Landes coastline.

Ready to discover the untamed beauty of the French Basque Country? Let our travel experts craft a tailor-made itinerary that perfectly captures your interests and desires. Contact French Side Travel today and embark on an unforgettable adventure!

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