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Culinary South of France

21.02.2020

Bouillabaisse, cassoulet, truffle omelette: the names of the French dishes alone make your mouth water. What sounds wonderful, also tastes delicious. The best way to see for yourself is to be there yourself – a culinary voyage of discovery through southern France. The three enchanting French cities of Marseille, Montpellier and Toulouse, as well as their culinary delicacies, can be easily discovered from Berlin by plane and train. Because where the warm Mediterranean sun meets the relaxed style of the rural regions is where southern French cuisine tastes most authentic.

A Bouillabaisse in Marseille

The starting point of the culinary tour is Marseille. In the hip port city on the Mediterranean Sea, sightseeing and relaxation can be combined well with culinary delights. Of course, a Bouillabaisse there should not be missed, as it is much more than just a fish soup – it is the heart of southern French cuisine, closely connected to the city of Marseille. It’s an open secret that the best Bouillabaisse can be ordered here, especially in the many restaurants at the Old Port, where the fishermen sell their fresh catches at the fish market on the Quai des Belges every morning. Traditionally, the soup was considered to be for poorer members of society and was made up of at least three different kinds of fish: scorpion fish, gurnard and conger eel. It is seasoned with a good mix of fresh herbs from Provence, garlic, onions and tomatoes. Not only is the soup a treat, but the act of eating it becomes an experience. It is served in two courses: first the hearty broth, in which toast is dipped, followed by the fish variation, again served in broth.
You should leave some space in your stomach for the walk through the Panier quarter. Le Panier, the historic centre of the city, with its winding alleys and narrow houses, is reminiscent of a North African souk. The lively hustle and bustle is determined by traders who offer just about everything from Egyptian bread to Indian pancakes. The blog “Driftwood Journals” draws attention to further discoveries in Marseille.

  • Marseille2
  • Marseille1
  • Marseille3

A cassoulet in MontpellierA cassoulet in Montpellier

The next stop on the culinary trip through the south of France is Montpellier. Montpellier can be reached by the express train in less than two hours from Marseille. Montpellier is the capital of the Languedoc-Roussillon region and is one of the most liveable cities in France. The labyrinth-like, medieval streets and alleys of the city centre are filled with beautiful restaurants, cafes and shops. It is best to just let yourself wander, because without a map you often discover the most beautiful places. Since the heart of the city is traffic-calmed and can only be reached on foot, this can be done without noise and exhaust fumes.
The cuisine of the city and region is colourful and varied. A typical dish is the cassoulet. The main ingredients of this hearty, solid and slow-cooked stew are white beans, bacon, pork or mutton and sausages. Accompanied by a glass of French red wine like Madiran and the taste buds are delighted. If you've worked up an appetite, you can get more culinary suggestions for Montpellier from the “Ookie Dough” blog.

Truffle omelette and a glass of Galliac in Toulouse

La ville rose: Toulouse owes its nickname “the pink city"; to the pink clay from which the many brick buildings - stately Renaissance townhouses, churches and impressive modern buildings - were built. The train journey from Montpellier to the capital of the Midi-Pyrénées region takes just over two hours.
Toulouse is definitely also a city for gourmet food. There are many restaurants, all of which offer a wealth of culinary delights. Those who know the famous cassoulet from Montpellier should eat it here again. Surprise - it tastes a little different, as duck or goose is added in Toulouse. Other delicacies are the sausage Saucisse de Toulouse and the traditional truffle omelette. Wine lovers should try the excellent wines of the region such as Gaillac, Fronton and Cahors at a tasting. The culinary experience can be ideally digested with a walk along the banks of the Garonne. From the left side of the river you have a wonderful view of the old town. The blog “Luxe Adventure Traveler” writes about what else you can see on city walks in Toulouse (in German).

Flight connections Berlin – Southern France

Southern France is only a few hours' flight away from Berlin. From Berlin-Schönefeld, easyJet's planes take off several times a week for Marseille, the metropolis on the Mediterranean. Ryanair also operates four flights a week from Schönefeld to Toulouse. easyJet flies to Toulouse from Berlin-Tegel three to four times a week. Starting in April, easyJet will again connect Berlin-Tegel three times a week with the southern French port city of Montpellier.

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