Dining in France: 12 Tips

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1) Good food, like good wine, plays an important role in the lives of the French.  Along the Cote d’Azur dishes follow the seasons and almost always include olive oil, fish, and fresh local vegetables.

2) The French view lunch and dinner as experiences to be enjoyed and not rushed.  It’s not uncommon for a meal to last two hours or more, but once the visitor becomes accustomed to the pace, dining takes on a flavor and enjoyment all its own.

3) The French, in general, are much quieter and more reserved than Americans, especially in restaurants.

4) It’s not necessary to tip 15 or 20 percent in restaurants.  The service is always included.

5) It its acceptable to leave a small tip if you’ve been particularly pleased with your meal.

6) When you wish to order at a restaurant, close your menu.  This will indicate to your waiter that you’re ready.

7) If you find yourself becoming frustrated because the waiter has not brought your check, remember, the table is yours for as long as you want it.  He will not bring the check until you ask.  When you are ready, simply get his attention and say
“l’addition s’il vous plait.”

8) Most restaurants have their own house 
wine (la reserve).  It’s usually hand picked by the owner and of a high quality.

9) Menus usually comprise three or four courses: the entree (first course), main course, cheese, and dessert.

10) Coffee is always served after dessert.

11) An aperitif comes before your meal and a digestif after.

12) Having a drink while standing at the bar in a cafe or Brasserie is less expensive than sitting at a table and drinking.

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