Top French Cities - For the Love of Beer

Mulhouse - Place de la Reunion
Vieux Nice
Poitiers - Place Henri VII
Press release

There's so much more to French beer than the popular, industrialized Kronenbourg 1664. Neighboring beer experts, Belgium and Germany, have been an undeniable influence to those learning the art of brewing. Instead of creating competition with them, artisanal beer making in France has given rise to a new passion and camaraderie fueled by the knowledge that no two microbrews alike. Like oenology, zythology (the study of beer and beer making) is slowly becoming a hot topic in France.

Beer, like wine and cheese, is influenced by its locality. Distinct beers reflect the area they're produced in, influenced by the elements such as water, air, and soil—not to mention the preferences of the people who make them. Would you compare a Cantal from Auvergne to a Livarot from Normandy, for example? Mais non, never! Unlike industrialized beers, bières de terroir of the same brewery even differ from one batch to another. And since beer production is a fairly new type of savoir-faire in France, brewers are keen to experiment, developing new flavors and experiences.

As with wine, there's also an eco-consciousness evolving around artisanal beer making, and that deserves a toast. More than ever before, microbrewers are using organic, local ingredients, environmentally friendly practices, and very small, local distribution networks. In fact, some beers are only available a few miles from where they were brewed. And we suggest you go there, of course.

Here is a hefty hit list of where to savor local beers all around France, and meet the passionate people behind their making. It's best to double-check contact information and opening hours before visiting. We also recommend making reservations for these small microbreweries, which may even offer a meal along with their warm welcome.

Artisanal beers and microbreweries:

  • Artisanal beers and microbreweries in the North & Northeast, click here.

  • Artisanal beers and microbreweries in the Central France, click here.

  • Artisanal beers and microbreweries in the Western France, click here.

  • Artisanal beers and microbreweries in the South of France, click here.

About Top French Cities –

Top French Cities is an association of 29 cities, from regional capitals like Bordeaux to important towns like Avignon and Versailles. They are perfect for young travelers, families and anyone else looking for fun and authentic French experiences that will fit their budget. Most of these cities are university towns with a youthful atmosphere, but all of them reflect the heritage and distinctive flavors of the regions to which they belong. Many are forward-looking too, with historic buildings repurposed to house contemporary art and activity centers like Les Docks in Marseille. Many have created or integrated new, modern museums to contrast with their classical, architectural heritage, like in Nimes, where the cutting-edge Museum of Roman Civilization (Musée de la Romanité) is located across from the historic Roman amphitheater, or in Nantes, where whimsical mechanical creatures are being created, or in the UNESCO World Heritage Site concrete city of Le Havre.


Marion Fourestier
ATOUT FRANCE – France Tourism Development Agency
(212) 745-0963/67