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From Michelin stars to routiers

Restaurant rue Mouffetard à Paris.

Restaurant is a French word for ‘something that restores’. It meant a healthy soup back to the 16th century; previously the only places where people could eat out were taverns and inns (auberge, relais or hostellerie), names you will still see for restaurants especially outside of cities. Some have three Michelin stars.

Many cheaper French restaurants buy frozen (surgelé) or ready made food and reheat it, which is why you may see some advertise fait maison—ie the fact that they actually prepare their food (or certain dishes) from scratch.

Types of restaurants

Bar à huîtres: oyster bar. It can be an informal shack by an oyster farm or a fancy spot in town, often with a variety of seafood along with fresh oysters to slurp.

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Eating out in France

Text © Dana Facaros

Images by besopha, Claude TRUONG-NGOC, Frédéric BISSON, MOSSOT, Pierre-Auguste Renoir