THe gastronomiC meal of the french

A conference by Jean-Robert Pitte

At the Alliance Française Bruxelles-Europe, avenue des Arts 46, 1000 Brussels
On 30 March 2017 at 2.30pm

Le Déjeuner d'huîtres by Jean-François de Troy, 1735

The Gastronomic Meal of the French
listed as UNESCO immaterial heritage

UNESCO listed The Gastronomic Meal of the French as immaterial heritage in November 2010. This ritual is deeply rooted in the French identity in all walks of life with specific features including its order (aperitif, hors d’œuvre, starter, main, cheese, dessert, coffee, liquor), its use of sauces made from scratch and the focus on wine and food pairings. Table setting is also key. A gastronomic meal involves thought about table cloths, crockery, glasses and place mats. This all makes eating and drinking far more than a way to fuel our bodies and keep us healthy; it’s a source of enjoyment, a chance to get together, a moral and spiritual boost, a style that’s shared as much as possible. In a word, a culture.  

About the lecturer

Jean-Robert Pitte is a professor emeritus of Geography and Planning at the Université Paris-Sorbonne. He taught historical and cultural geography, specifically food and wine. He is now Honorary President of Ferrières, the French school of excellence, and distinguished professor at the University of Hokkaido. He is also president of the Mission française du Patrimoine et des Cultures Alimentaires, the organisation involved in listing The Gastronomic Meal of the French as UNESCO immaterial heritage (

Jean-Robert Pitte has (co-)written countless books including Gastronomie française. Histoire et Géographie d’une passion (Fayard, 1991), Le vin et le divin (Fayard, 2004), À la table des dieux (Fayard, 2009), L’amour du vin (dir., CNRS Editions, 2013) and La bouteille de vin. Histoire d’une révolution (Tallandier, 2013).

The conference is being held as part of the Semaine internationale de la Francophonie.

Jean-Robert Pitte will also give a lecture in Gent on 29 March 2017 at 7pm at the Alliance Française de Flandre-Orientale. Find out more


The opening of the culinary photography Arts & Food exhibition
at the Alliance Française gallery will be held before the conference.
Find out more