How to find good local restaurants when travelling in France

From dedicated apps to using your own network, we look at tips on how to seek out the best local eateries

One tip on finding good restaurants is to ask whoever you are staying with - they will likely know the local area
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When travelling to a new part of France, you will likely want to sample life as a local and food plays a major role in this.

However, when there is so much choice it can be hard to distinguish between the places aimed at tourists and those that are more authentic.

Saying that there are some good tips to ensure you find exactly what you are looking for while in a new part of the country.

1. Use your accommodation

Whether you are staying in an Airbnb, hotel, campsite or B&B, you are bound to be surrounded by locals working at the venue.

These are usually the best people to ask for recommendations, as not only do the work in the holiday industry, but they will know the local area like the back of their hand.

Sometimes Airbnb hosts leave books or notes with a list of tips, but if not there is no harm in sending them a message asking for ideas of where to go.

From both my - and my friends' experiences - restaurants recommended by hosts have always been the most memorable dinners of the trip.

Read also: The wine industry is in constant evolution in France and beyond

2. Use Le Fooding website or app

Le Fooding is a website and app that helps you discover new restaurants all over France.

If you go to the ‘Restaurants’ section of the website, you can search eateries either by name or by place - meaning you can enter the postcode of the place you are staying and see what comes up.

Each year it gives out numerous awards which are listed on the site and there is an extensive list of recommendations for eateries all over France.

And it is not only restaurants - the site also provides information on rooms, bars, shops, wine cellars and recipes, meaning you can almost plan an entire trip on just one website!

3. Avoid English online reviews

Disclaimer: This does not include English newspaper articles which are actually often a great source of finding exciting places to eat.

This refers to reviews left in English online by holidaymakers. Often, if the reviews are only in English it means that the restaurant is likely to be aimed at tourists. While that is no bad thing, it might not quite be what you are looking for if you are hoping to try some delicacies of the region.

Instead, look for reviews in French written by French people - this will give you a good indication of whether locals are interested in the restaurant.

4. Ask people who have previously visited the location

The likelihood is that if you know someone (or even a few people) who have already visited the location, they will have tried and tested recommendations that they will be delighted to share.

If you already live in France, this is a great opportunity to practise your French and ask around to see if anyone has any tips for the place you are going.

Through a line of people, you will usually be able to find someone and even if they just give you one solid recommendation, it will help save you time wandering around wondering where to go.

Along the same line, if you then find somewhere that is really good, it is worth noting down the name so you can tell the next person to visit to go there.

Read also: Centre yourself in the wine-making, historical heart of France

5. Look up local newspapers

Looking up the local newspaper of where you are going is another solid way of finding hidden gems.

They are likely to have a food or culture section, and in there, reviews of local eateries that are not to be missed.

The bonus is it is a good opportunity to get in some more French reading practice!

6. La Fourchette app

La Fourchette is also another source of knowledge on local restaurants. As well as identifying them, you can also often book the restaurant through this app and sometimes even get discounts.

It can also help you see the real-time availability of a place, which could save you time if you have not booked and are unsure if there will be space.

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