Places to visit | Where to eat | Eating out in northern France

Eating fish and seafood
Julian Lucas - your guide to eating and drinking on theotherside

Traditional moules-frites

Landing the catch at Boulogne, ready for the morning fish market.
Dressed lobster

An eel on the chopping board, and other ingredients for "Anguilles au vert" - eel cooked in wine and herbs

Freshly-boiled mussels and chips are a popular snack-meal in bistro-bars with visitors and locals alike - like British fish-and-chips.

Fresh ingredients
For centuries the cooks of Nord/ Pas de Calais have been supplied with fish caught by fleets based in Boulogne and other local ports (see "
Fishing"); shellfish gathered in coastal waters; and freshwater fish caught in local rivers and lakes: trout, eels, carp, perch, pike.

Where to buy fish
If you want to cook your own, fresh fish ingredients can be found in the morning quayside fish markets at
Boulogne and Etaples; at stalls in some local markets, and from traditional fishmongers in the towns.

Fish and seafood dishes to look out for: 

Anguilles au vert - eels cooked with spinach and sorrel leaves in white wine; garnished with herbs and served hot or cold on fried bread.

Carpe à la bière - carp fished from local rivers, cooked in butter with onions, shallots, celery, bay and thyme; then baked with strong local beer and spiced bread.

Harengs Calaisienne - fresh herrings stuffed with roes mixed with mushrooms and herbs, and baked in a paper case.

Waterzoi - a fresh fish stew, made with vegetables, cream and any coarse fish - carp, perch, pike...
The same name is sometimes also used for chicken (or other white meat) stewed with leeks.

Places to visit:
MAREIS - interactive exhibition about working fishermen, Etaples
Herring-curing sheds & coastal boat trips - Gravelines and Dunkerque
Nausicaa, Boulogne - all about sea-life, fishing & the environment
Port Museum - Dunkerque

Where to eat SEAFOOD - we recommend:
Au Côte d'Argent, Calais - by the beach, with view of Port and Channel.
L'Huîtrière, Lille - "the most handsome fish restaurant in France".
L'Ecume des Mers, Lille - run by the same family as L'Huîtière
Aux Pêcheurs d'Etaples - fishermen's co-op at Etaples, and in Boulogne and Lille.

Related background information
Regional dishes - specialities of the north, using local produce
Fishing - the north's fishing industry and ports



A-Z © Copyright 1999-2001 Invicta Media. Last changed 17th August 2001