France and Fruits de Mer

France is world renowned for its cuisine, its varied cuisine from north to south, west to east. It is, therefore, only right that I share some aspects of France’s culinary traditions.

Western France, particularly Normandy, Brittany and the other regions along the Atlantic seaboard, have numerous fishing villages that provide the nation with daily fresh fish. A popular choice amongst the French and tourists alike is a plateaux de fruits de mer, a seafood platter (one is photographed above). These range from simple but no less enjoyable platters of a range of shellfish and crustaceans to quite elaborate dishes that come in two tiers of iced trays with something of almost everything.

Most seafood platters contain a variety of the following, which obviously varies according to availability and season: oysters (l’huîtres), mussles (la moule), shrimps (la crevette), prawns (la gambas), crab (le crabe), crayfish (la langoustine), lobster (le homard), periwinkles (le bigorneau) and welks (le bulot). Platters also vary in composition and then price: a cheaper platter will contain most of the above but without a crab or lobster, these are included on more expensive platters. The seafood is pre-cooked and served cold, so they more often than not come on a bed of ice.

Suzyesue enjoying a seafood platter on the Ile de Ré.

So, if you fancy relaxing in a small and quiet seaside fishing village enjoying seafood served straight from the local fishermen, you really should be thinking about a visit to western France. France is certainly one of the best places to visit in Europe for fresh seafood in tranquil coastal villages.

The fishing village of Etretat, on the Upper Normandy Coast.

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About Thomas Dowson

Hello, I am Thomas Dowson - a freelance writer and archaeologist living in Normandy, France. My field of expertise is prehistoric art - such as the cave paintings in the Dordogne and South Africa. But I am becoming passionately interested in France more generally, and Normandy in particular, and what this country and one of its very well known regions has to offer people with all sorts of tastes and desires. In 2005 I exchanged a university archaeology lecture room for a Bed & Breakfast in Normandy. More recently I started the Archaeology Travel website; sharing my expertise and love of archaeology and travel with others who also want to explore the many different pasts around the World.