Nicola Harrington - guest blogger living in France with 7 holiday rental gites

Nicola Harrington

Over the last few months Mark has eaten in four different restaurants, two ouvrier (workers) lunches and twice in the evening.

Mark doesn’t eat desserts. Always preferring the delicious traditional assiette de fromages.

In all four restaurants, cheese did not appear either as a course in its own right, nor as an alternative to the desserts.

Each time, however, he asked for a plate of cheese and each time he was served with a delicious plate of three or four different cheeses and a green salad.


So, why have the French taken cheese off the menu?

Is it because cheese is deemed more expensive than a simple chocolate mousse or fruit salad?

Has it become less popular over the generations?

If you have any ideas on the matter, we would welcome your suggestions as we are really quite perplexed at this new trend which we imagine isn’t too popular with a majority of diners.


A restaurant ouvrier is a restaurant that offers a “worker’s menu”: starter, main course, cheese, dessert, coffee and wine included, for a very reasonable price (around 13 euros per person).

We have eaten in a restaurant routier (ou ouvrier) on occasion and the value for money is incredible.

Generally, the starter consists of a buffet of hors d’oeuvres with cold salads (such as egg and potato, pasta, rice, etc.), charcuterie (such as saucisson, pâté, garlic sausage, mortadella, various hams, etc.), crudités (grated carrots, beetroot salad, tomato salad, etc.). Those buffets could be a meal in themselves. Always fresh, clean and fully stocked.

Main courses are usually a cooked dish such as coq au vin, blanquette de veau, poulet basquaise, cassoulet, etc. There is quite often only one choice of main course on the menu.

These dishes are very simple, homely and definitely great value for money. We absolutely love them and have never been disappointed.

Obviously, all restaurants are different and offer their unique formula, but on the whole, their menus are similar to what has been mentioned above.

Please help us!

If you found this useful, please let your friends know by sharing it here...