France and restaurants form a kind of symbiosis. The term “restaurant” stands for different locations. Here is a small selection of where and what to eat. There is something for every taste and budget.
Where can you eat something? – Où peux-tu manger quelque chose?
- Families: The best way to get to know the typical, traditional food and drink in France is of course in a French family. But who has the opportunity to do so?
- Brasserie: It actually means “brewery”. In addition to beer, these restaurants serve some, mostly hearty, typical dishes.
- Café / Bar: This corresponds to the “pubs” in German-speaking countries. People meet to chat and have a drink. There is no cake here, just savory snacks.
- Salon de Thé: There are coffee and tea as well as pastries and cakes.
- Patisserie: In a patisserie, you can also get coffee and tea as well as cakes, tarts, and macarons.
- Crêperie: It offers a variety of French crêpes.
- Bistro: This is a small, cozy restaurant, often with seats outside, where locals of all stripes meet. There is typical bistro furniture and you get drinks and simple meals.
- Snack bars: You will hardly find these in France, only in the north there are “Baraques à Frites”, where French fries – mostly the good Belgian ones – are offered.
- Market: At the large French weekly markets, many stalls offer typical and less typical dishes for direct consumption or to take away.
- Restaurant: This is an eatery that is awarded stars for its cuisine by the culinary travel guide “Guide Michelin” according to strict criteria. There are up to 3 stars.
Of course, each of you knows how to behave in restaurants and at the table, but: Different countries, different customs! Here are a few rules of conduct so that you don’t embarrass yourself unnecessarily in France:
- French meal times differ from those in Austria: lunch lasts until 2 p.m., dinner is eaten around 8 p.m., which takes about two hours.
- When entering a restaurant you wait until the waiter – the garçon – assigns a seat. It is different in brasseries, bars or cafes, you can choose yourself.
- Pay attention to the sequence of dishes in a good restaurant: aperitif, starter, main course, cheese, dessert. Finally, a little coffee is drunk.
- When you eat, you get a carafe d’eau, a jug with tap water, which is free and refilled.
- Traditionally, soups are only eaten in the evening.
- Cheese is usually offered on a cheese cart, from which you should choose two or three pieces.
- A menu consists of 2 to 3 courses and changes from day to day or from week to week. It is usually cheaper than putting together a multi-course meal yourself.
- In France, there is usually only one invoice and one pays for everyone.
- Tips are paid by leaving a few coins on the table after paying the bill. The French give a maximum of 10 percent of the invoice amount, rather less.
- The operator is called by hand signals.
- Certain table manners are part of “good manners”: fruit for dessert and chicken legs are eaten with a knife and fork, cheese should be sliced sideways and lettuce leaves folded, not cut. One kind of deadly sin is to cut baguettes. It will be broken!
- The “café” corresponds to an espresso, the “café crème” to German-Austrian coffee.
- In cities there are often three different prices for the same drink within a locality, depending on whether you take it while standing at the counter, at the table inside or outside. It’s cheapest at the counter.
- Bistro, bars, and cafés are meeting places for everyone. Here you get the bill with what you ordered, but you can stay seated as long as you like. And the French have a lot of rest and time!