So what's for breakfast? Breakfast in a French hotel will seldom be a big deal. Normally it will consist of the basics, namely coffee or tea, bread and a croissant with butter, jam and fruit juice. If you are lucky it might also include cornflakes, boiled eggs and fruit, all for around €12. In large towns (like St Emilion), if you go to the local bar you should be able to get the basics as described above for €6 and still have €6 left in your pocket. Outside of large towns stick to the hotel.
Now that the most important meal of the day is out of the way, let's consider the rest:
French meals are generally similar to other Western European meals. You will find more offal and a greater variety of fish than is the norm in most parts of the English-speaking world, and the country has a reputation for producing sophisticated, world class cuisine. This is particularly true of the Bordeaux region. Of great importance in this region is the idea of freshness and so you will find that the dishes follow the seasons (no Kenyan asparagus here in mid winter). Things to look out for include:
Black truffles (Perigord Noir)
Strawberries (often named after the village they come from rather than the type)
Duck (everything except the quack)
Goose liver and pâté made from it
Oysters and mussels from the Arcachon Basin (the large inlet to the west of Bordeaux).
The majority of French menus will use the best of local produce and should include a range of:
The menu of the day, normally chalked on a board outside the restaurant, will be great value. This will be available Monday to Friday 12:00 to 14:00 and you may be able to get three courses with a local wine for €13 or less. Vegetarian dishes are available nowadays (although vegetariansim is unusual in France) and in the better restaurants will be imaginative. Elsewhere, you may have to subsist on cheese omelettes.
In the Bordeaux area you will find many menus translated into good English and you will find a small food section in most travel guide books, if you want more help, then have a look at the book below.