21 incredible restaurants everyone should eat at in France

In France, wine is acceptable pretty much any time of day, everything is made with butter, and food is an important part of the culture.

So it’s only natural that the country has long been a gastronomic powerhouse. France is home to five restaurants topping the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list and a whopping 609 Michelin-starred restaurants.

We decided to see what other culinary delights France has to offer by putting together our own catalogue of the country’s crème de la crème.

Here are 21 restaurants everyone should eat at in France.

Mirazur features Mediterranean-inspired food with an Argentine twist, thanks to its Argentine-born chef, Mauro Colagreco. Located in Menton, on the French Riviera, the restaurant boasts views as revelatory as its dishes, and was awarded two Michelin stars as well as the No. 11 spot on the World's 50 Best Restaurants list.

Courtesy of Tripadvisor

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Chef Alain Passard was ahead of his time when he opened a biodynamic farm outside of Paris to supply his restaurant years ago (veggies are picked fresh daily, transported to the city by high speed train), shocking diners when he wrote off red meat and seafood in favour of vegetables in 2001. Today, Paris' L'Arpège is rated number 12 in the world by World's 50 Best Restaurants, with simple dishes like an egg becoming world famous, and emulated globally.

Courtesy of l'Arpege/S.Delpech

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La Bouitte, meaning 'little house' in the local dialect, was once just that, in the middle of a potato field in Saint-Martin-de-Belleville, purchased by a French couple in 1976. Over the years, remaining in the family, it has turned into a luxury chalet, surrounded by the Saint-Marcel ski slopes and boasting a restaurant with three Michelin stars, helmed by a father and son duo. The food, like the chalet, manages to be both modern and rustic -- think haute comfort food -- and is inspired by the surrounding mountains and lakes, with ingredients like lake trout and chanterelles from the forest.

Maison Lameloise in Chagny made 3rd place on TripAdvisor's list of the world's best restaurants. The restaurant was family-run for three generations, but is now headed by Eric Pras, who has maintained its three Michelin stars thanks to his signature French dishes made with seasonal and regional ingredients, and innovative take on classics, like gingerbread topped foie gras.

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The elegant Epicure at the Hôtel Bristol in Paris ranked No. 7 on TripAdvisor's top 10 restaurants in the world. A self-proclaimed 'temple of gastronomy' and 'defender of French cuisine,' the three Michelin-starred restaurant is helmed by chef Eric Frechon, whose signature style is all about 'terroir,' or evoking a sense of place. This place is none other than France, as dishes from foie gras to smoked oysters in a duck bullion are about as French as it gets. That and and the dress code, which requires men to wear a jacket.

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The French might not always warm up to Americans, but when it comes to good food they will put any qualms aside. Chicago chefs Anthony and Caroline Keravec won Michelin's prestigious bib gourmand award for their market-inspired restaurant Jour de Marché in Lyon, where, aptly named, the menu changes daily, and in accordance to whatever produce is available at the market.

Auberge de L'Ill in Illhaeusern, Alsace, got its first Michelin star in 1952 and its third in 1967, and has maintained all three since, even as the restaurant was passed down through decades of the Haeberlin family. Rustic farmhouse on the outside, super swank glass palace on the inside, the menu here is Alsatian with Asian influences.

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Alain Ducasse is one of the most famous chefs in the world, and his flagship restaurant in Paris' ritzy Plaza Athénée hotel is a must. And it's not just the food -- classic French fare with a focus on organic produce -- that stuns: The super stylish décor drops mouths in equal measure.

Formerly a gardener, self-taught chef Inaki Aizpitarte revolutionised Parisian gastronomie by casualizing the once-formal bistro business with Le Chateaubriand, which ranks No. 21 on the World's 50 Best Restaurants. The casual but uber-hip Michelin-starred restaurant features a prix fixe menu that combines French, Asian and Latin American influences, and changes daily.

A former navy chef redefined fine dining in France. Chef Pascal Barbot's L'Astrance restaurant in Paris is widely credited with heightening the already haute French cuisine, but with a far east twist he picked up during his navy days, with ingredients like lemongrass and daikon commonplace on the menu. There is no menu: you say how many dishes you want and Barbot takes care of the rest.

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The seafood heavy menu of this three Michelin starred restaurant, Le Petit Nice Passedat, reflects its Mediterranean location in Marseille. The restaurant is famous for its Bouille-Abaisse, three tiers of bouillabaises.

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Once a prison, then a monastery (and burial place of Richard the Lionheart and Eleanor of Aquitaine), now a hotel and restaurant, this new addition to France's culinary scene is highly buzzed about. The 12th-century abbey in Loire Valley was completely restored, and is now a super designy and minimalist hotel. Inside of the former cloister, Le Restaurant focuses on local ingredients: It uses honey from its own bees, herbs from its own garden, and mushrooms that grow in on-site limestone caves.

Courtesy of Tripadvisor

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Guy Savoy's three-Michelin starred restaurant in Paris dishes out haute cuisine full of foie gras and truffles. Recently, he moved his signature restaurant into a 4,300-square-foot space in the site of France's oldest institution: the French mint.

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In a country often focused on legacy and tradition, this relative newcomer has quickly become a local favourite. Mandoobar in Paris is minimalist and stylish, and famous for its Korean dumplings, which are known as mandoo. Try the house specialty, Gogi Mandoo, dumplings filled with marinated beef and pork, tofu, onions and garlic.

Nestled high up in the French Alps, the three Michelin-starred Flocons de Sel (flakes of salt) has brought haute cuisine to new heights -- literally and metaphorically. The hotel and restaurant in the ski town of Megève is a rustic Alpine hideaway, which juxtaposes the delicate 10 course tasting menu it features, helmed by local celebrity chef Emmanuel Renaut.

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Chef Michel Troisgros, part of a powerhouse family of French restauranteurs and chefs, proves that he can fill his father's shoes with his super minimalist, three starred French restaurant La Maison Troisgros in Roanne, which was inspired by his grandmother's cooking, and has been in the family since the 1930s.

Despite the name and the circus scenes painted on the walls, this relative newcomer is not clowning around. Chef Sota Atsumi 
(who has worked with Joël Robuchon) wows Parisians with his modern take on casual Parisian cuisine at Clown Bar, serving up meals like langoustine beignets, veal tartare and duck breast brioche on a seasonal menu.

Septime in Paris is all about minimalism and molecular gastronomy. Its carte blanche tasting menu is so famous, as well as so surprisingly affordable, that you'll have to book months in advance.

Fine dining in a casual environment, L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon in Paris centres around an open plan kitchen, so you can watch the master at work while he concocts two Michelin starred meals like a sea bream carpaccio or caramelised quail with foie gras.

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