New survey ranks France's best cities for restaurants (and Paris is not top)

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New survey ranks France's best cities for restaurants (and Paris is not top)
Photo: Marko Kudjerski/Flickr

A food website has revealed a league table of the best cities for restaurants in France and the rankings may surprise a few people.


Bordeaux has been crowned the best place to eat in France ahead of cities generally considered to be the gastronomic hubs of French cuisine, Paris and Lyon. 
The list, published by food site, Atabula ranks the 30 most populated towns and cities in France according to where people can expect to find the best restaurant cuisine.
French political heavyweight and mayor of Bordeaux Alain Juppé responded to the good news with barely contained excitement in a tweet saying, "Ouaaaah!"

Bordeaux is home to an impressive selection of restaurants, including three two-star Michelin restaurants, three one-star restaurants and three restaurants awarded the guide's BIB Gourmand, indicating restaurants that offer exceptionally good food at moderate prices.

Even star chef Gordon Ramsey couldn't resist the allure of the city's gastronomic scene, opening Le Pressoir d’Argent Gordon Ramsay located on the first floor of the stunning Le Grand Hôtel.

This isn't the first time Bordeaux's appeal has grabbed headlines. In 2016 a survey showed that it is the city Parisians most want to move to and in August 2014 Bordeaux and it surrounding region was voted as the "best place to work" by the French.

And remember from July Bordeaux is only two hours away from Paris by TGV, thanks to an improved high-speed line.

Paris made it to second place despite being considered a must-visit culinary hotspot by people the world over, something which is likely to disappoint the owners and perhaps even loyal patrons of the city's whopping 97 Michelin-starred restaurants. 
And Lyon, known as France's "gastronomic capital" with its much-loved "bouchons", famed for serving up plates of Lyonnaise specialties with a glass of the region's renowned Beaujolais wine, came in third place on the new list.  

La Grande Maison de Bernard Magrez, one of Bordeaux's Michelin-starred restaurants. Photo: La Grande Maison de Bernard Magrez website

In order to create the list, food site Atabula took into account 13 categories in its decision-making process, including the number of restaurants located in the city, total number of Michelin stars and the number of restaurants listed in the prestigious Michelin Guide food guide.

It also looked at the number of restaurants included in the influential French restaurant guide, Gault & Millau and other respected food guides, including Le Fooding.
These were then weighed against the number of people living there. 
Lille, capital of the Hauts-de-France region in northern France and Nice, the capital of the Alpes-Maritimes department on the French Riviera in the south came 4th and 5th, respectively.
These were closely followed by Strasbourg, capital city of the Grand Est region in 6th place, Montpellier in the Hérault department in the south was 7th and Nantes in western France came in at 8th. 
The university city of Aix-en-Provence, in the south of France and Toulouse in the south west completed the top ten.
Photo: Zdenko Zivkovic/Flickr
But the news wasn't so good for Villeurbanne located to the north east of Lyon, coming last with just 1.376 points compared to Bordeaux's 14.147.
Atabula also published some useful restaurants statistics to guide diners. Nine out of the 30 ranked cities are completely devoid of Michelin-starred restaurants.
These are Nantes, Saint-Etienne in eastern central France, Toulon on the country's Mediterranean coast in the south, Grenoble, in southeastern France, Villeurbanne and Limoges in central France.
The university town of Tours in the centre of the country, Amiens, a city divided by the Somme river in the north of the country and Besançon, a city in eastern France, near the border with Switzerland are also still waiting for their first Michelin star.


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