Les Routiers – dining concept that is uniquely French

The point of a themed restaurant is that its concept is transferable and marketable.

But in France there is one kind of dining experience that just wouldn’t travel – those small, independent roadside eateries, les routiers.

Leave the autoroute and head into rural France and from 12 until 2pm you’ll find arrays of white vans, trucks and tractors parked up outside inauspicious restaurants.

We’re in south Normandy – a largely agricultural area with small towns between fields of maize and grass pastures.

Halfway between two towns, along a main road, there is an unbranded, two-pump service station with a couple of traditional stone houses either side.

Across the forecourt, a building with a large window and glass door bears the sign Bar – Tabac – Restaurant.

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