These Cities in Eastern France Will Give You a True Taste of France
Champagne, Bourgogne, Provence – if you are a foodie, those names will make your mouth water. Today we will introduce you to some of the tastiest cities in Eastern France: Reims, Dijon, and Avignon.
These three cities are part of the Association of Top French Cities: 29 cities in France that each have something unique and special to offer, from food to heritage and simply the typical French joie de vivre.
Read on to learn about the most iconic dishes and drinks, best restaurants, wineries, and champagne cellars to try in Reims, Dijon, and Avignon. Maybe it will even inspire you to plan a road trip through those Eastern French cities and get a taste of France along the way.
Reims – Champagne
Reims – the capital of the Champagne region is a favorite day trip from Paris, but after reading all about the delicious treats and phenomenal restaurants, you will want to spend more time here to try them all!
What to Eat and Drink in Reims
Champagne of course had to mentioned first. The iconic bubbly is the quintessential French drink and since Reims is the capital of the Champagne region, you will find some of the best right here.
Also try the Ratafia de Champagne, a sweet aperitif that is a by-product of the champagne making process and very tasty.
Yes, the Champagne produces more than just the famous fizzy beverage. Bouzy is the most North-Eastern wine region in France and known for its excellent Pinot Noir. The reds of this region are full-bodied and rich in tannins, but still accessible and versatile enough to enjoy with a variety of foods.
The famous Reims Ham is a local delicacy. Marinated with nutmeg, shallots, and parsley, the pork shoulder is cooked for hours in stock, then breaded and served with potatoes or a simple salad.
Yes, the Champagne is a paradise for fancy food lovers. Truffles that are found along the Marne river are a delicious local treat, especially if you wash them down with a glass of Champagne.
These twice-baked light and crunchy treats are a delight. Locals call them Biscuit rose de Reims and often dip them into – yes, you guessed it – Champagne. They have a lightly sweet vanilla flavor and beautiful rose color.
Bouchons de Champagne
These little chocolate truffles are filled with a creamy Champagne filling and a perfect treat from Reims. They are also a great souvenir, when you visit the city.
Where to Eat and Drink in Reims
Reims not only has one of the most stunning gothic cathedrals in France, but is also heaven for foodies. Here are some of our top recommendations of the best bistros, bars, and restaurants in Reims that will tickle your tastebuds.
Café du Palais
14 Place Myron Herrick, 51100 Reims, France
This quirky restaurant is just around the corner from the Cathédrale de Notre-Dame de Reims and has been around since 1930. The decor is flamboyant and artsy Art Deco style, while the food is classic. A great spot to try the Jambon de Reims.
Le Boulingrin Brasserie
31 Rue de Mars, 51100 Reims, France
Part of the Central Market, the Halles de Boulingrin, this brasserie gives you a quintessential French experience. Before you go, walk through the market halls (open Friday and Saturday) and watch the merchants and sellers. At the brasserie, you will find a very extensive wine and champagne list. They are famous for their seafood, especially their oysters and seafood platters.
40 Avenue Paul Vaillant-Couturier, 51430 Tinqueux, France
3 Michelin stars – do I need to say more. The L’Assiette Champenoise on the outskirts of Reims is one of the top restaurants in France, if not the world. Located in a luxurious 5* Hotel, you can turn your visit into a culinary getaway.
This gem was opened 40 years ago by the parents of Chef Arnaud Lallement and is still a family-run operation. Luxurious, but home-y ambiance, a chef that lets the products speak for themselves, make a visit to this fine dining restaurant an unforgettable experience.
Restaurant Le Park at Domaine Les Crayères
64 Boulevard Henry Vasnier, 51100 Reims, France
Another fine dining option in Reims, Le Park boasts 2 Michelin stars with Chef Phillippe Mille and Pastry Chef Yoann Normand. You can choose between various a la cart options as well as several prix fix menus. Most notable is the black truffle menu with Champagne pairing.
The stunning Château is the perfect background for a special celebration or event. The rooms at the hotel are elegant and offer superb amenities that leave nothing to be desired.
Le Coq Vin Rouge
67 Rue Chanzy, 51100 Reims, France
Small bites, casual atmosphere and wines in every price category make the Coq Vin Rouge a favorite for red wine lovers. As the name (coq vin rouge = red wine rooster) suggests, the wine bar only serves red wine, so keep that in mind.
1 Place Martyrs de la Résistance, 51100 Reims, France
This Wine and Champagne bar not only boasts spectacular views of the Cathédrale de Notre-Dame de Reims, but over 280 Champagne varieties and over 100 wines. Aside from their extensive wine list and great location, they are also famous for their meats, especially the delicious Gascon black pigs.
Dijon – Burgundy
Dijon – world-famous for its mustard, but so much more to offer. The medieval timbered houses give the city a lot of charm and character. And then the wine. Who doesn’t love a wine from Bourgogne?
What to Eat and Drink in Dijon
Dijon mustard is probably the most widely known specialty from the city of Dijon. The most famous mustard maker is the Edmond Fallot Moutarderie, which is now almost like a “Mustard Museum”. You can learn about the mustard making process and even try new mustard recipes.
At the Dijon Tourist Office, you can even learn how to make your own Dijon mustard. Take a look at the website to book your mustard making class.
Gingerbread of Dijon
Gingerbread, also called pain d’épices in Dijon is quite unique. It is simply flavored with anis seeds and does not contain any rye flour, milk, butter, and most notably – no ginger.
A very popular version is the Dijon Nonnette, small round gingerbread cakes with an orange jam filling.
Burgundy, also known as Bourgogne in France, is one of the most famous wine regions in the world. The region is famous for its Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, is home to 33 Grand Cru vineyards.
While this region produces some of the most prestigious and expensive wines in the world, there are many more approachable versions as well. Try a Chardonnay from Chablis or light red from Beaujolais if you want something light. Or you can go all out and treat yourself to a wine from the Côte d’Or region for the best of the best (and most expensive) that Burgundy has to offer.
Crème de Cassis
If you like Kir Royal, you are familiar with the sweet dark red, almost black liqueur made from black currants. Dijon is famous for it crème de cassis production and it makes for a great gift or souvenir.
Where to Eat and Drink in Dijon
Les Halles Market
21000 Dijon, France
The central market is always a good spot to check out for foodies. The traditional covered market halls in France called Les Halles should definitely be on your itinerary. Check out the beautiful produce, meats, fish and food specialties, try some small bites from one of the food vendors and enjoy.
From June to September, a local Dijon chef prepares local dishes and a delicious brunch on Sundays at Les Halles. Join in with the locals and try some exquisite dishes.
La Dame d’Aquitaine
23 Place Bossuet, 21000 Dijon, France
The atmosphere of this restaurant is so unique, you have to add it to your list of places to eat in Dijon. The Gothic arches of the vaulted ceiling give it a warm and romantic flair.
The food is on the pricy side, but exquisite. They charge a base price of 31 Euros. Then, depending on which dish you choose, and additional charge ranging from 3-15 Euros per dish is added.
Loiseau Des Ducs
3 Rue Vauban, 21000 Dijon, France
Chef Louis-Philippe Vigilant at Loiseau Des Ducs will mesmerize your tastebuds. He won his first Michelin star at age 19 and was able to hold this honor until now. This 24 year old super chef from Martinique cooks up a menu full of surprises – traditional recipes with a unique twist and executed with the highest standard.
Chapeau Rouge – Restaurant Willam Frachot
5 Rue Michelet, 21000 Dijon, France
This restaurant by William Frachot is part of the 4* Hotel Chapeau Rouge. The menu is sophisticated yet traditional, staying true to the hearty/medieval cuisine of Provence, while giving you the fine dining experience you expect in a 2 Michelin star restaurant.
Tower of Philip the Good
11 rue des Forges, 21000 Dijon
This Apéritif Bar offers you one of the best views over Dijon in a historic ambiance, but it is only available on Fridays and Saturdays. You need to book your apéritif time in advance and can choose between 6:30 PM and 8 PM. Tip: Check for sunset time during your visit, so you can watch the sunset during that time.
Théâtre Dijon Bourgogne
Place Bossuet, 21000 Dijon, France
This theater wine bar is located in a very unique setting: You will find it inside the church of St Jean, built in the 15th century. Please note that this bar is only open 1 hour before and after a performance of the theater.
5 Rue Musette, 21000 Dijon, France
We all know that wine is medicine, so going to Dr Wine is all about promoting good health, right ;-) This wine bar in the heart of Dijon has an extensive list of remedies, I mean wines, on the menu and I am sure after a glass or two, you feel a lot better.
Avignon – Provence
Avignon is a cute little city in the heart of Provence. It is most famous for its Palais des Papes and the beautiful Pont Saint Bénézet Bridge over the Rhône river.
What to Eat and Drink in Avignon
Pot au Feu
Pot on the Fire – a hearty beef stew will take you back in time. Big chunks of beef and bone marrow served in a flavorful clear broth, with root vegetables, cornichons, and mustard, with a thick slice of crunchy country style bread – its heaven in a bowl.
Pieds et Paquets
This dish is something for the brave: The chef wraps tripe in a “package” and serves the pork feet with a gelatinous, thick brown sauce. This dish is a local favorite originally from Marseille, but now very common in the rest of Provence.
Pheasants & Quails
Many of the dishes in Avignon make you feel like you are attending a (sophisticated) Medieval feast. You will find a lot of wild poultry such as pheasants and quails served with hearty sides, sometimes fruits and dark sauces.
Sausage is a big deal in Provence and you can find it as part of a Charcuterie board or sliced up in stews or pasta dishes.
A favorite is the Gayettes de Provence is a skinless sausage that contains pork liver, pork meat and fat, Swiss chard, garlic, and thyme.
Wines of Northern Provence
The wines of Northern Provence fall under the Rhône banner and are more full-bodied and heavy than their southern neighbors. You will find the world famous Châteauneuf du Pape wines here and the most popular grape varieties are Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre.
Beer has been brewed in Provence since the 5th century B.C.E. and while France is not famous for its beer, this area is an exception. You will find old monastery breweries, large scale breweries like La Bière des Cigales, and new, hip Craft Beer breweries in Provence.
Where to Eat and Drink in Avignon
Carré du Palais
1 Place du Palais, 84000 Avignon, France
This wine bar-bistro-restaurant is also a école des vins – a wine university that offers classes in seminars all around the topic of French wine.
2 Rue de la Petite Fusterie, 84000 Avignon, France
Located inside an old family residence, this restaurant is sophisticated while making you instantly feel at home. The well-priced prix fix menus will take you on a culinary journey around Provence. In the summer time, try to get a spot in their cute little courtyard.
Restaurant Sevin – Former Christian Etienne
10 Rue de Mons, 84000 Avignon, France
This Michelin star restaurant is located next to the Palais des Papes, inside a building dating back to the 12th century, the frescos to the 15th century. The food of Guilhem Sevin on the other hand is modern and innovative, often inspired by molecular cuisine.
It boasts an impressive list of 800 wines, including 150 cuvées by Châteauneuf du Pape, and their experienced sommelier will pair the perfect drop to your meal.
4 Place de l’Amirande, 84000 Avignon, France
La Mirande is a the other Michelin star restaurant in Avignon, located inside the luxurious 23 room 5* Hotel property with the same name. The restaurant recently went through a major update and regained its lost Michelin star, which it previously held from 1993-2012.
19 Rue Des Trois Faucons, 84000 Avignon, France
Fresh, local ingredients and a menu that combines the best of all mediterranean cuisines. The risotto is mentioned over and over in the reviews as is the fois gras. Excellent service is provided by a team that loves their job.
Au Jardin Des Carmes
21 Place des Carmes, 84000 Avignon, France
This cozy and inviting restaurant only seats about 30 people. The ambiance is personal and homey, the decor light and breezy, very similar to the food. Every dish looks bright, colorful, and makes you want to take a picture of it.
Of course, it is hard to find a bad meal in all of France, but Reims, Dijon, and Avignon are top of the top destinations for French foodies. If you love French food as much as I do, I highly recommend you add those three cities to your next trip to France!
A Taste of France: Culinary Road Trip Through Reims, Dijon, and Avignon in Eastern France was sponsored by the Association of Top French Cities of France Tourism