Frites en baie de somme, saint quentin en tourmont© CRTC Hauts-de-France – AS Flament Frites en baie de somme, saint quentin en tourmont© CRTC Hauts-de-France – AS Flament
©Frites en baie de somme, saint quentin en tourmont© CRTC Hauts-de-France – AS Flament|CRTC Hauts-de-France – AS Flament

Chip shops, kiosks and vans: Happiness factories

‘Happiness factories’ – how better to describe the chip shops, kiosks and vans of Northern France? Both everyday and festive, warm and authentic, they’re full to the rafters every meal time. The queues outside are often like extra rooms in which local gossip is shared, and health issues and life in general are discussed. Folk flock here with huge salad bowls for family-size portions, or take them away wrapped in paper – unless, that is, they devour them on the spot, still piping hot, at a table or a counter. Conviviality and appetite combine: French fries glorify local potatoes and in do so celebrate, loudly and proudly, French art de vivre.

7 Hauts-de-France friteries feature among venues serving the ‘Best Chips in the Country’.

Northern France _ Chip shops © CRT HDF Anne Sophie FlamentNorthern France _ Chip shops © CRT HDF Anne Sophie Flament
©Northern France, Chip shops |CRTC Hauts-de-France – Anne Sophie Flament
Near Cambrais

01. La Ch’tite Frite in Raillencourt-Sainte-Olle

This chip shop was placed first among the best friteries in the north and even the whole of France as ranked by – quite some achievement! La Ch’tite Frite in Raillencourt-Sainte-Olle 30km from Arras is still pinching itself at this victory, which it achieved after coming 13th in the contest in January 2020.

And yet owner Philippe Meriaux is a newcomer to the trade. A former carpenter, he only opened his chip shop, which occupies the ground floor of a brick house very typical of the region, in 2018. What’s his secret? The potatoes, preferably Dutch-bred bintjes, are peeled in the morning and later twice-cooked using beef fat. Why not enjoy them with a merguez sausage, in the owner’s simple but delicous favourite dish?


02. Friterie Brigitte, quai des Paquebots



With 40 years of running her chip stall behind her, Brigitte is a local star and her friterie a true Bou-logne institution.

Along with two other chip stalls, Friterie Brigitte has been located – since July 2020 – in a brand-new permanent building beneath the terrace that extends out from the Jardins de Nausicaà. One of the most popular walks with locals, this quay leads to the wonderful jetty leading to the Phare Rouge lighthouse.

Trendy tables and benches have been set up in front of the chip stall for the local sport of eating frites by the sea – one that gives a great deal of pleasure even if it doesn’t help one to lost weight! Brigitte, who uses a twice-refined groundnut oil, buys her raw chips from Pel’Pom in Aix-en-Issart. This family firm grows its potatoes in the Montreuil-sur-Mer area and transforms them into fresh chips that it sells vacuum-packed. The combination of local produce, sustainable agriculture and the Saveurs en’Or label is great for the planet as well as for a gourmet blow-out.


03. Friterie Pruvost, Esplanade Parmentier

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You can’t miss this colourful chip stall just next to the big wheel on the Rose des Vents area of the Esplanade. Its number one selling point is the panoramic sea view that diners can enjoy if they sit down to scoff their chips on one of the public benches next to it. The Pruvost family has been treat-ing locals and visitor alike to its little packages of happiness, served with salt and mayonnaise, for 31 years.

Unique among Northern French friteries, Mickaël Pruvost is also one of the last to peel his potatoes by hand, every morning, then to chop them up in his stall, right before their first session in the oil. You could almost be in your own kitchen.

As for frying, he uses vegetable oil because beef fat isn’t to the taste of all visitors to Berck. A good accompaniment is American steak with Maroilles cheese works, or try the fricadelles – deep-fried sausages.


04. Friterie des Flandres, at the foot of the belfry

‘The chips from the Ch’tis film’, announces a poster on the side of the covered terrace of this res-taurant. And while it may not be the vintage van from Momo de Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis, it really is here that the chips and fricadelles seen in the film have been served to 20 million people arriving en France.

Since then, the Friterie des Flandres has continued to serve chip on its little terrace in Bergues near Dunkirk, just opposite the famous belfry with its bells pealing throughout the town. But the café-friterie also – in fact, mainlyn– serves chips to take away, either in old-fashioned salad bowls or wrapped up. Made from bintjes, they’re cooked in rape/sunflower oil bought from Lesieur 1km away in Cappelle-la-Grande.

To accompany your crispy fries, there are fricadelles, of course, or the star dish: hamburgers, either with Maroilles or cheese from Bergues itself. You can’t get more local than that!


05. Friterie bailleuloise, place Charles de Gaulle

Situated a sausage’s length from the belfry on the Grand Place in Bailleul, between Dunkirk and Lille, this is another 100% local chip seller. The Friterie Bailleuloise is at the centre of everything in the beating heart of town – especially during the warm-hearted evenings of February when the Carnaval is full swing. if you have to queue for a while, just see it as an opportunity to appreciate the chimes rining out from the belfry every quarter of an hour.

The menu is very typical of the friteries of Northern France: to accompany the fresh fries sold all year round, you can choose from fricadelles, burgers with Maroilles cheese, paninis, pittas and oth-er classics. And you can eat them in the lovely green setting of the public park less than 100m from the van.


06. Les Friteries Sensas, Stade Bollaert-Delelis

At the Bollaert Stadium, Sensas is as much a regular fixture at the players. Indeed, at every match of RC Lens in the town of the same name near Arras, both in the stadium and outside, there are always four or five stands cooking up chips to bolster the stomaches and the morale of supporters. Properly Northern friteries!

At the heart of the set up is Jean-Paul Dambrine, a veritable king of fries for more than 50 years, also nicknamed Momo since his chip stall was seen in Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis. He’s said to have not missed an RC Lens match since 1976… yet without having seen any of them, because he’s bus-ying serving, cooking an American sausage or restocking the different stands.

The son of a miner, he has the region in his bones and doesn’t mess around with the recipe for his chips, which are twice-fried in beef fat. And he works with Pom’Lorette d’Angres, an expert in minimising food miles, who turn potatoes grown in the region into chips awarded the Saveurs en’Or label.


07. Friterie Meunier, place du Général de Gaulle

The opening of this chip shop on an iconic spot on the Grand Place in Lille in 2018 gave put these stars of Northern French cuisine back in the limelight they deserve.

Made with fresh bintjes fried in beef fat, they’re served in elegant cardboard cones, in small, medi-um or large portions, or you can go for broke with a 1kg box! To accompany them, there’s an array of must-trys, including the house speciality, crispy round croquettes in various incarnations, includ-ing prawns or Maroilles cheese – both also ‘Made in Hauts-de-France’. There’s nothing more typi-cal or more local.

There’s a little first-floor room in which to enjoy your chips or, better still, tables on a terrace on the Grand Place, just steps from the Column of the Goddess (the Memorial of the Siege of 1792).

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