tour de france.

Ha. I am suddenly going to France for 11 days. Well, not just France, but frankly, wherever the van takes me. Here's where it will hopefully be taking me:

29-03 Opwijk (BEL)
30-03 Nancy (FRA)
31-03 Bern (SWI)
01-04 Genève (SWI)
02-04 Grenoble (FRA)
03-04 Montpellier (FRA)
04-04 Bourges (FRA)
05-04 Limoges (FRA)
06-04 Brest (FRA)
07-04 St. Malo (FRA)

I desperately need chomping tips for this tour, since: a) it's my first trip to France, period, and b) I don't know anything about anywhere we're going. Our schedule is tight, as in, we won't have much time for getting lost looking for good food, so I need reliable info....any ideas?

For my own reference, some notes:

We start out in Opwijk, which is a tiny Belgian suburb of 12,000 people outside of Bruxelles. I'm not sure what the deal is on this gig, or how late in the day we'll leave to get there.

5 hours away is Nancy (tourist info), in the Lorraine region, the Northeast of France. The more I look at it, the better it looks, it's full of Art Nouveau (L'Ecole de Nancy), which I know nothing about. Described more than once as "the artistic and intellectual heart of modern Lorraine". Plagiarism, or generally accepted fact? Here's the venue.

Then it's 4.5 hours to Bern (tourist info), which Wikipedia describes as "rich of cultural offerings for every taste" (sic). Right. We're playing at the Reithalle, which used to be "the old riding school of Bern, now a meeting place for the alternative scene, with concerts, parties, flea market and much more". Hmm.

Then, yay, a 2 hour drive to Geneva (tourist info). Here is eGullet's Geneva thread, not so helpful at the moment, but maybe it will chug into life soon. Here is where we're headed.

2 hours away, Grenoble (tourist info) is in the Alps, and is not only full of Italians, but is walnut country apparently, so I should try to find some nocino (or vin de noix, walnut liqueur); tourtons, pasta squares stuffed with cheese, spinach or prunes (amongst others) then fried. Restaurant listings here (apparently stolen directly from the Rough Guide).

A nice short (3-hour) drive to Montpellier (tourist info) is next. Montpellier is supposed to be notoriously difficult to eat well in (and drive in). Cellier-Morel (Maison de la Lozere) has received a bunch of recommendations, but it's Michelin level dining. Mosaïque (21 rue Vallat) is supposed to be good and simple.

Then, a 7-hour drive to Bourges (tourist info) in the Loire region. Someone recommended the pâtisserie Aux Trois Flûtes, on the corner of rues Joyeuse and Bourbonnoux; for chocolates and the local sweet speciality of fourrées au praliné, Maison Forestines on place Cujas. In general, fruit and veg are the shit in this region. Another recommendation just popped up for Le Jardin Gourmand. Which looks good, but I seriously doubt we'll have time for it that day.

3 hours to Limoges (tourist info). Limoges is part of Limousin, here are some eating links. Can this be considered prime foie gras country?

Ook. A tough day, 9 hours to Brest. Brest is in Brittany, sounds like it's not much to look at (bombed heavily in WWII). But this is the time to start looking out for crêpes and galettes. And seafood. La Carene is somewhat near the water.

3 hours away, Saint-Malo (tourist info) is in Brittany too, and looks awesome. Too bad the venue isn't closer to the water. Here's an eGullet post on Breton pastries, including Kouign Amann. And someone has said that the Le Petit Moulin du Rouvre restaurant just south of St Malo and west of Mont St. Michel is good eating.

Then.....11 hours back to Amsterdam, hopefully nowhere near as destroyed as the last time I tried this. Actually, maybe I'll hang out in St. Malo for a few days if the weather's nice, then take a train back.