Finding a restaurant that everyone loves during an outing with friends, family or colleagues can sometimes be a headache, if everyone does not have the same desires or the same tastes. Fortunately, in recent years, spaces of a new kind have been sprouting up in France: food courts, or food halls, inspired by North American or Asian concepts.
What is the concept of the food court?
The food court is a large space where there are several catering offers, most of the time fast food, but not only. Within this space, everyone is free to move around to order their food or drink at one or more stand(s), then to eat or drink their drink sitting or standing. You can thus enjoy your pizza while your neighbor enjoys his sushi, and your neighbor his burger.
In Europe, it is in particular the Italian concept Eataly, as well as the Time Out Market in Lisbon, which have contributed to the growth of these new eating places. In France, we find this kind of signs in almost all the big cities. Here are the best food courts to try from Paris to Bordeaux via Nantes, Toulouse or Lyon.
Parisian food courts
IN IMAGES, IN PICTURES The best food courts in France
Let’s start with the capital: in Paris, despite the lack of large spaces available, several projects have been successfully launched. Starting with Ground Control, an independent living space in the 12th arrondissement: Latin American specialties are served alongside typical dishes from the North of France, as well as Sicilian-style pizzas and dishes prepared by refugee chefs.
Not far from there is also La Felicità, in the 13th arrondissement: on 4,500 square meters, within Station F, the largest start-up incubator in the world, you can come and taste pizzas, tagliatelle and others Italian specialties.
Which food hall to choose in Bordeaux?
Head to the South-West then, with a city renowned for its wine: Bordeaux, which hosts a particularly interesting food hall: La Boca Foodcourt. On the banks of the Garonne, La Boca Foodcourt gives pride of place to French specialties, with a rotisserie and a Corsican counter, but also to world cuisine, with Mexican, Japanese and Spanish stands.
Les Halles du Lez in Montpellier
In Montpellier, it is on the banks of the Lez that the Halles du Lez are located: on the menu, 24 corners dedicated to catering which offer Asian, Oriental, African, Korean and Middle Eastern specialties. Dessert stands, cafes and pasta bars, eggs and other fresh juices are also there. Dishes that can be taken away or enjoyed in one of the 700 seats inside, or on the 1300 square meters of outdoor terraces.
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Grand Stage in Lille
In the North, a food court open 7 days a week was born in 2021 in Lille: Grand Scène, it’s no less than 10 restaurants, two bars and coffee shop, and events throughout the year. The conducting wire ? Street food, with the essential burgers, pizzas and other tacos, but also a Breton creperie, a stand of fish and chips and souvlaki Greeks.
Lyon, capital of food courts?
Capital of gastronomy, would Lyon also be the French capital of food courts? There are indeed two XXL food courts: Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse, a 5-minute walk from the Part Dieu station, and the Food Traboule, named after these pedestrian shortcuts that are particularly common in Lyon. First covered market in Lyon, inaugurated in 1859, Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse is home to a large number of food artisans (cheese makers, bakers, scalers, market gardeners, delicatessens, fishmongers and butchers), but also several cafes, bars and restaurants, which it is possible to sit down.
Food Traboule is nestled in the Tour Rose, a traboule located in the historic district of Old Lyon, with Renaissance architecture, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In total, there are 12 counters to choose from, all of which offer fresh, seasonal cuisine.
The Halls of the City, in Toulouse
Right in the center of the pink city, the Halles de la Cité concentrate several stands to allow Toulouse residents to have an aperitif or dine around large wooden tables. Located in the heart of the Théâtre de la Cité, in Toulouse, the Halles de la Cité include a meat bar with a flame, an Asian steam bites stand, but you can also enjoy sushi or cheese and charcuterie boards.
The Rennes food market, once a month
Here is a food court as gourmet as expected each month by Rennes residents and passing visitors: every first Sunday of the month, the central market, at La Criée, becomes a real food court, with many dishes from here or moreover prepared on the spot for less than 10 euros. In all, it’s about forty restaurateurs, pastry chefs, brewers, producers and other food-trucks who take over the premises for the food market… and the convivial tables, in a good-natured atmosphere!
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An online food court
If crowds don’t appeal to you and you want to schedule a meal with several specialties at home, The Original Food Court makes it possible to take out and deliver several dishes from various restaurants, in a single order. This service, currently only available in the Paris region and in Lille (but soon in Nice, Nancy, Bordeaux or even Marseille), offers the possibility of “mixing and matching” and ordering from several addresses around Chinese dimsums, fried chicken and Argentinian dishes at your doorstep, all to pick up or have delivered in one go.
Future projects in France
Finally, given the success of food courts, several new concepts of gourmet halls will soon see the light of day in France. In Greater Paris, a huge food court is expected in 2022 in Montparnasse, while others are in preparation in Saint-Ouen or Pantin. The city of Nantes, to the west, has announced the arrival of a food hall for June 2022.
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