Eating out in France

No holiday in France would be complete without trying out the local cuisine. However, before you head out to eat you may want to review a few of these basic awareness tips because while restaurant etiquette is not too important, there are a few basics you should know.

Dining in most English speaking countries is usually considered to be an informal process outside of the high end dining establishments. While you are in France you will notice that most café and restaurants are also relatively relaxed and informal. There are a few haute high end dining establishments here also, but they are the minority and you should have a clear idea of where they are and if you headed into one.

For the most part dinner is a relaxed affair as is breakfast and lunch. The one confusing thing for most foreign visitors is the cutlery. This is due to the fact that some of the dining places will expect you to use your starter cutlery for both the first and main course whereas others will take it away from you and then give you a fresh set.

The bad news is that this is not related to the quality of where you are dining, but instead the custom seems to change at every restaurant. The best thing you can do is just look around and see what people around you are doing. In addition, the staff will usually watch to see what you do and just follow your lead so that they do not embarrass you.

Remember that if you need help you should set down your menu and then wait for a waiter to come over, because otherwise they will leave you alone since they will think that you are still deciding. If you need a translation feel free to ask for help, because most waiters will be glad to help out.

Outside of breakfast, one thing you should be aware of is the fact that dining in France is usually considered a leisurely affair, so it is considered inappropriate to rush through a meal or ask your waiter to serve you quickly.