Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

A Good Book on France?


eternal
 Share

Recommended Posts

Is there a good book I can get on the different regions of France, what they are known for in regards to food and wine and that is more culinary based than just a Fodors or Lonely Planet? I'm going to be in France for about 4 weeks in August and while I'm traveling with a local Lyonaise who is pretty knowledgeable in such things, I feel overwhelmed right now trying to at least get a grasp on such a broad topic. I'm not that interested in the really fancy places as my budget won't allow for it (traveling for 10 months :)) unless they have a good budget set menu for lunch.

On that note, I have a 15 hour layover in Paris a few weeks before I start traveling there and plan on taking the train into Les Halles. Any recommendations on a bistro near there? I've been to the Fallafel place before. Looking for a 20 euro set menu or a good steak au poivre and frites..

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Maybe out of Print? not sure but each book in the series that mentioned where to stay and eat were right on. Recipes very simple.

The Gastronomique series is published by Abbyville.

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly....MFK Fisher

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's a sad fact that good eating and sleeping places in provincial France are, to put it euphemistically, in a state of flux. I'd get hold of a copy of the Logis hotel guide; it won't lead you to any gastronomic epiphanies, but it's very useful in out-of-the-way places.

For a general overview of French history and cuisine, Waverly Root's "France" is a wonderful read, but it has both the strengths and the weaknesses of having been written half a century ago.

John Whiting, London

Whitings Writings

Top Google/MSN hit for Paris Bistros

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On that note, I have a 15 hour layover in Paris a few weeks before I start traveling there and plan on taking the train into Les Halles. Any recommendations on a bistro near there? I've been to the Fallafel place before. Looking for a 20 euro set menu or a good steak au poivre and frites..

Not exactly "near" Les Halles (a 15 - 20 minute walk east, closer to Place des Vosges), but I had the best budget meal of my last trip to Paris at Café des Musées. It gets a pretty good review here, and I would agree that the frites are some of the best I've ever had. Particularly memorable was a terrine of blood sausage with green chartreuse. The set menu for lunch was certainly less than 20 euro.

True rye and true bourbon wake delight like any great wine...dignify man as possessing a palate that responds to them and ennoble his soul as shimmering with the response.

DeVoto, The Hour

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Following up on John's recommendation you might also want to look at:

Relais du Silence.

This is an association of independent hotels around France. They're normally a bit up market from the Logis (which we use all the time by the way) and the food can be pretty good.

We've been using them for many years and have never had a bad experience.

These, Logis and Michelin plus some research should get you what you want.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I went down to the local bookstore and they didn't have much. Nor is there much in the Kindle store and it is too late for me to order them online (leaving on Sunday!) picked up the Michelin guide to wine regions in France. I figure it would be good primer on the regions and it mentions a few dining options in all the regions. I will take a look at the Relais du Silence. Thanks!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Although written 40 years ago, nothing comes close to what you want than "Guide Gourmand de la France" written by Henri Gault and Christian Millau. It's laid out like the Blue Guides and covers every bit of France in terms of its culinary landscape. It's in French. To get it, try the big antiquarian book sites like ABE Books or Alibris. Maybe Amazon has a used copy. It's unbelieveable.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Although written 40 years ago, nothing comes close to what you want than "Guide Gourmand de la France" written by Henri Gault and Christian Millau. It's laid out like the Blue Guides and covers every bit of France in terms of its culinary landscape. It's in French. To get it, try the big antiquarian book sites like ABE Books or Alibris. Maybe Amazon has a used copy. It's unbelieveable.

Their guide is still going strong. You should be able to buy the latest version at Amazon.

Unfortunately, their website seems to be "under construction"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dave, I'm not talking about the annual Guide Gault-Millau. The work I am recommending pre-dates their first restaurant guide (Guide Julien, I think) and the first one, soon after, under their names. This one-time-only book covers gastronomic France town-by-town and road-by-road exactly like the Guide Bleu. It was never to be replicated or updated again: an amazing piece of work. I don't think it has even been made into a reprint, which it so obviously calls out for.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dave, I'm not talking about the annual Guide Gault-Millau. The work I am recommending pre-dates their first restaurant guide (Guide Julien, I think) and the first one, soon after, under their names. This one-time-only book covers gastronomic France town-by-town and road-by-road exactly like the Guide Bleu. It was never to be replicated or updated again: an amazing piece of work. I don't think it has even been made into a reprint, which it so obviously calls out for.

Robert, My apologies for getting it wrong. Are the names a coincidence? Or does the modern guide take its name from the original?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I always enjoy reading Elizabeth David's French Provincial Cooking this link allows you to read pages 18 to 52 that run through the food of each of the regions.

It was written in 1960 by an English cookery writer who is regarded as one of the best ever British cookery writers. The rest of the book has some very good recipes with lots of background about the history of dishes and the regional variation. It is both a cook book as well as a book to simply read for pleasure.

Edited by PhilD (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dave, if the names are the same (Guide Gourmand de la France), then Gault and Millau used the name of 1970 book for its annual guides. The book is 1112 pages long, had six collaborators besides the two men, and 128 itinerairies with many sub-itineraries, long essays about each region an, d major towns and cities, an index of regional dishes, a restaurant list, and on and on. It even dwarfs the Slow Food publications in its scope and detail. I see that it is published as one of the books in the "Bibliotheque des Guides Bleus". No doubt much of what it describes and documents no longer exists.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is exactly the book you're looking for - and you can find it online:

"A Traveller's Guide to the Food of France"

(Region by Region Guide to Food and Wines)

(Paperback, 1986)

Author: Glynn Christian

Overheard at the Zabar’s prepared food counter in the 1970’s:

Woman (noticing a large bowl of cut fruit): “How much is the fruit salad?”

Counterman: “Three-ninety-eight a pound.”

Woman (incredulous, and loud): “THREE-NINETY EIGHT A POUND ????”

Counterman: “Who’s going to sit and cut fruit all day, lady… YOU?”

Newly updated: my online food photo extravaganza; cook-in/eat-out and photos from the 70's

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is exactly the book you're looking for - and you can find it online:

"A Traveller's Guide to the Food of France"

(Region by Region Guide to Food and Wines)

(Paperback, 1986)

Author: Glynn Christian

I found a copy on eBay for $2.00.

Looks interesting, but it was published in 1986 and I don't know if it has been revised or updated since. Still, it should be an interesting read in any case.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...