Thursday, June 9, 2011


Have you ever Flunched?

If you've ever come to France,
I have a hunch you may have Flunched.
I think you may have Flunched a bunch,
If you like to munch on lunch..

In the early days of our visit to France we stumbled upon Flunch and I have to say, it's pretty darn good.

Flunch is a French cafeteria, but one with a lot of French style - you can get wine!

You can order hot "plats" or main dishes,

there is a salad bar, various cheese plates, charcuterie (preserved meats), mini baguettes,

dessert bar, fruit bar,

and a beverage bar, complete with beer and wine!

We went about four times, throughout the course of our trip; it was easy when you're travelling as you know what you're getting and can get back on the road quickly (eating in France's cafes and restaurants can be a slow process!).

In Dieppe, we went to Flunch for lunch and it was a most entertaining one at that.

Halfway through my own "Flunch" I noticed some interesting activity at a table close by….

In France, Sunday lunch with family is the most important meal of the week and is a full blown "affaire", sometimes enjoyed at home, sometimes in a restaurant, and sometimes, it seems, at Flunch.

An older family of four had come to Flunch for lunch and although they were in a cafeteria-style restaurant, there are some things about the French family meal that are de rigeur and not to be given up…

The four of them were busy foraging through the cafeteria for the meal; they were doing it separately, each with their own set of responsibilities. I know this because out of the corner of my eye I saw them each going to and fro bringing various components of the meal:

Maman was in charge of dessert and I watched her bring the tray and carefully place each one just to the side of each place setting, (I never did see which member of the family set the table)

Papa brought the cheese plate and several small baguettes to be shared

The son carefully arranged the required coffee cups in stacks in the centre - small handleless ones for espresso, cups and saucers for Grand Creme, as well as the carafes of water

Wine and the appropriate glasses appeared while I wasn't watching, and as we were leaving the "plats" began to arrive.

I'm not normally snoopy but I couldn't help myself; every component was carefully arranged with absolutely no discussion - they'd done this before. And while they might have been in a serve-yourself cafeteria, they were not sacrificing any of their requirements of a lovely family  Sunday lunch together.

There was something oddly touching about it; perhaps it was the seriousness with which they attended to each task, or perhaps it was how they ensured they had a complete meal assembled before they sat down. The behaviour seemed so quintessentially French to me; the whole meal and nothing less would do.

In many ways, it was the most wonderful thing I saw on this journey of ours; family and food and ritual, all intertwined.


dianehobbit said...

A great place to eat.

Marj Talbot said...

Another great post. I really enjoyed this one. Fabulous!
We are off for our reunion and will be back in about 10 days and then hopefully we can flunch and munch a bunch on lunch.

Laura said...

Hahaha, Marj's comment just made my night.

Thanks for the foodie post! Very cool!! I wish my office had a flunch room...

Dorthe said...

Looks wonderful dear Jillayne- and the french family way of having their meal ,sounds so lovely- I think that people in France and also Italy, more often goes out for lunch ,than we here in DK ,does- a lovely tradition.

FredaB said...

Sounds like a place we should have found. Looked great including wine and beer yet. You wouldn't get that here at a cafeteria style place. All I know is we took the ferry from Ireland to France and Harv was driving with the English right hand drive. We drove right into downtown Paris and I was almost under the seat so scared of the 8 lanes merging traffic. We finally parked the car in an underground lot and didn't move it until we went back to England.

Your trip really sounds wonderful and I am enjoying every bit of it.
Even the very sad parts.



Becca said...

That is so interesting! I would love a place here like that, where you can just go up and get yourself a glass of wine!

Createology said...

I have not flunched for lunch with a bunch of flunching friends. Looks like lots of fun to flunch. Happy experiences in your travels...

Michelle May (Shell) said...

That's too cool! What a great place to share a meal. The French really do know how to make simple things so incredibly special.
(blogger has been a pain in the butt again, so I'm just now catching up and it's finally letting me leave comments! Ugggg!)
xx, shell