One thing everyone expects in France is good food. There is a reason this country is one of the top holders of Michelin stars but that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to head straight for the high-end restaurants. Instead, visit the wonderful food and wine festivals where you can see first hand the produce that inspires this country’s world-famous gastronomy.
The best time to visit is early autumn, when festivals coincide with the harvest. But there are a few worthy celebrations in spring too. If you arrive in the capital, don’t just dash off to the countryside. You can easily afford to spend a few days exploring the city first because there are plenty of cheap Paris hostels and cheap Paris hotels, both of which you can find on HostelBookers.com.
Marathon du Médoc, September
Some people just can’t face running in the gym. Instead they prefer the great outdoors and a view to spur them on. Well, the Marathon du Médoc not only offers scenic panoramas looking out across the 50 vineyards and pretty chateaux, runners can also indulge in a number of culinary stop-offs en route. Food stalls line the road side offering both participants and spectators oysters, ice-cream and of course, wine. Runners are dressed in equally impractical costumes. In the evening, a Repas des Mille Pâtes, complete with cocktail hour, is held at one of the large houses. The next day the Ballade de Récupération, a 10km walk, gives participants the chance to savour more of the regions wine produce.
Jurade de St Emilion, Bordeaux, September
Bordeaux is a large wine producing region in France and St Emilion, one of the prettiest medieval towns is much coveted for its autumn festival, Jurade de St Emilion. It celebrates a political victory as far back as 1199 when rights to control and modify the quality of wine were awarded to the locals and not King John. The red-robed and appointed members of the Jurade would wander the cobbled streets and announce the official start of the year’s harvest. Wine was uncorked and drunk at a splendid banquet. This year the Jurade headed up a torch-lit procession which culminated in a spectacular firework display. The wineries then fling open the doors to their cellars and estates for two days and bunches of black balloons are released to symbolise the coming grape harvest.
Fête des Legumes Oubliés, Haye-de-Routot, October
Some of our beloved vegetables have fallen by the wayside over time. The Fête des Legumes Oubliés brings new life to such forgotten vegetables with talks about how to grow your own and cooking demonstrations. Stalls are set up throughout the town of Haye-de-Routot close to Rouen and display chervil, squash and parsnips in all shapes and varieties.
Coutances Jazz Festival, Orne, May
You’ll notice that many food festivals are celebrated around harvest time. Orne in Normandy is one such destination that celebrates the annual Foire de la Pomme in the autumn. The area is well known for its tasty cider. But why not return in spring to the village of Coutances. During the month of May they hold a Jazz festival nicely fuelled by bottles of cider and gooey camembert enjoyed under the apple blossom.
About the Author: This is a guest post was written by Madeleine Wilson and contributed by HostelBookers.com which offers amazing cheap hotels with great availability.