French Restaurant Etiquette

While you’ll find certain similarities in dining out in France to dining out in the US, beware that there are some important differences. It’s important to familiarize yourself with local etiquette and customs in areas such as dining before your trip, so as not to encounter an embarrassing situation or confusion. Here are some quick tips to help:

1. Restaurant Hours

Restaurant hours are a little different in France. Whereas many lunch and dinner restaurants in the US are open from 11am until 10pm or so, and we even have 24/7 diners, it is not so in France. Breakfast typically consists of a small meal of meat, cheese, and bread at home or a pastry at a local cafe, brunch is served from 11am to 3pm, and lunch is served from 12pm to 2pm with restaurants usually closing afterwards and not reopening for dinner until 7:30 or 8pm.

2. Coffee

Coffee is not ever served with dessert in France, it is always served at the end of the meal.

3. Ordering

You’ll find that it’s common for waiters not to take your entire order all at once. Often they will go around and take orders for appetizers, then go around again for entree orders. Drink orders are not taken until after all meal orders are placed.

4. Drinks

Don’t be surprised if your drink is only filled half way. It’s considered poor taste to fill a glass all the way. Also, drinks are not re-filled until the glass is completely empty. Topping a drink off is not a typical practice as it is in American restaurants.

5. Tipping

Tipping is not required in France, but it is appreciated. If the service was good, a tip of 1 Euro or up to 5% of the meal price can be left.

6. Special Menu Change Requests

In US restaurants it is common practice to customize your meal, asking for this or that to be left off or this or that to be added to your food. It’s not the same in France. In France it is considered an insult to ask a chef to alter the way he has or is preparing your meal. You eat things the way they are prepared.

7. Left Overs

Asking for a doggy bag will get weird looks. Taking home leftovers is considered taboo. It’s not that you can’t do it, just be prepared to get questionable stares.

8. Hands on the Table

It’s bad manners to have your hands out of sight. Keeping your hands within sight at all times, or on the table, is important etiquette in French restaurants.

9. Paying Your Ticket

In France, a quick table turnover is not a priority, so waiters will not be trying to rush you out the door, and they definitely won’t just bring your ticket over to your table without you asking first. Simply ask, and you shall receive.

Trendy Restaurants in Paris Where Celebrities Dine

There are loads of restaurants in Paris that feature gourmet out-of-this-world dining, prepared by some of the best chefs in the world. If you want to dine where the celebrities dine, though, and maybe even spot 1 or 2, here’s where you need to head:

L’Avenue

L’Avenue is the go-to hotspot for celebrities when dining in Paris. Located right next to the grand Plaza Athenee Hotel, which has some of the best designer boutiques, this eaterie often caters to the likes of Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, Rihanna, Lana Del Rey, Jay-Z, and Justin Bieber.

Restaurant Helene Darroze

10 Best Paris celebrity hotspots, celebrity lifestyle, marie claire

Helene Darroze, whom the restaurant is named after, is one of the few women in the industry to be awarded with 2 Michelin Stars, and this hadn’t gone unnoticed by Gwyneth Paltrow. Paltrow states “The food is terrific. And the room is quiet, calm, and elegant.”

Caviar Kaspia

Specializing in the richest and most gourmet caviars, Caviar Kaspia has hosted celebrity guests such as Mischa Barton, Dita Von Teese, Irina Lazareanu, Giambattista, among others.

Baccarat

Stunning restaurant full of beautiful people. David and Victoria Beckham dined here when David celebrated his 100th cap for his English football team, and the restaurant has even been featured on the set of the TV show “Gossip Girl”.

Cafe de Flore

10 Best Paris celebrity hotspots, celebrity lifestyle, marie claire

Where do the stars go to get their coffee in Paris? Why, Cafe de Flore of course! This little cafe in the trendy area of St.Germain in Paris is even an often favorite of Kate Moss.

 

The Best Patisseries in Paris

Laurent Duchene

Address: 2 Rue Wurtz

A small patisserie that really knows how to do some fancy pastry creations – absolutely delicious! They also won the MOF title in 1997 for best pastries in the city. They have a wide variety of pastries, from tarts, to various chocolate creations, to macaroons, and even artistic sugar works. Definitely worth a stop.

 

Hugo and Victor

Address: 40 boulevard Raspail

This is a relatively new patisserie that just opened in 2010, but it’s already developed quite a reputation for having some very exquisite pastries. They have triangle shaped tarts that remind one of a sumptuous apple pie, macaroons that are to-die-for, and some absolutely gorgeous chocolate art available for purchase. Even their cookies are incredibly creative and intricately designed.

Arnaud Delmontel

Address: 57 rue Damremont

This patisserie is known to have some very vibrantly colored and decorated pastries, and some absolutely adorable cookies. The flavors found in their desserts are out of this world, but at the same time resemble a bakery-next-door type of feel. Creative elegance meets down home and hearty.

 

Gerard Mulot

Address: 76 ru de Seine

You absolutely must stop in to this patisserie for a Troubadour – a decadent chocolate and caramel mousse. They also have a wide variety of macaroon flavors: orange-canelle, nougat, and citron, among others.

French Cheeses

The cheeses of France are just about as well known as the wines of France. There are currently almost 1,000 types of different cheeses, many of which are covered under the Common Agricultural Policy of the European Union that decreed certain established cheeses are “protected designation of origin (PDO), and other, less stringent, designations of geographical origin for traditional specialities, such as the French appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) system, the Italian denominazione di origine controllata (DOC) system, and the Spanish Denominación de origen system.” (Wikipedia)

The cheeses are classified under four different categories:

  • Fermier – This is a farmhouse cheese that is produced on the same farm where the milk is produced.
  • Artisanal – A cheese produced in small batches using either their own farm milk or milk purchased elsewhere.
  • Cooperative – An area that has joined together to produce cheese from milk from a local dairy.
  • Industriel: Factory made cheese from local or regional milk.

Some of the most popular French cheeses are:

Camembert

Description: Soft, creamy, ripe surface

Brie de Meaux

Description: Delicate, creamy, soft

Roquefort

Description: Blue cheese made from sheeps milk

Boursin

Description: Soft, creamy, wide variety of flavors, similar to cream cheese

Reblochon

Description: Soft, strong taste

Munster

Description: Very strong in taste, soft

Pont l’Évêque

Description: Soft, creamy, smooth, pungent

Époisses

Description: Reddish orange in color, pungent

Chèvre

Description: Goat cheese

Tomme de Savoie

Description: Mild and semi-firm

 

February Featured Restaurant: Angelina

Located under the arcades of the Rue de Rivoli, in the heart of Paris, is Angelina. A restaurant decorated in Belle Epoque style, named for the daughter in law of the founder Antoine Rumpelmayer, and a celebrated eatery in Paris. 

This restaurant is just a stone’s throw from the Louvre, and is the absolute perfect place to stop in for a sweet gourmet treat. They are absolutely famous for their decadent ‘African’ hot chocolate – a velvety, sweet, and thick hot chocolate that you almost want to eat it with a spoon. They are also well known for their Mont Blanc – a dessert made out of meringue, whipped cream, and sweet chestnuts.

The restaurant was originally opened in 1903 and have served many a Parisian aristocrat, including Proust, Coco Chanel, and Francais. The te room style restaurant doesn’t just offer sweets, however that is their specialty. You can also grab some lunch while you’re there – a silky omelette, satisfying club sandwich, or a bite of quiche lorraine. All food is fabulous, but the price can be a bit hefty.

On the way out of the restaurant, you’ll pass through its bakery – serving up some of the most scrumptious desserts in all of Paris (and some of the most beautiful!). This is the perfect place to grab some treats for later, and a hot chocolate to wash down lunch.

Here’s what some reviewers are saying about Angelina (courtesy of www.TripAdvisor.Com):

“We had tried cakes and coffee at the Angelina in the Louvre, all tasted fantastic!! But didn’t have hot chocolate that day, so we rushed to Angelina 15 minutes before closing time on the night before we left Paris, just to have the amazing hot chocolate..and it was so worth it! They let us in with no problem even though they were about to close, but only warned us that we must order as soon as we sit, and we did, so much richness in this hot chocolate dream come true! We bought a bottle to take home and enjoyed it almost a month later…Amazing how they bottled the exact same taste!”

“I read about this place and it’s hot chocolate before going to Paris, so we made a stop here after discovering that Louvre is closed on Tuesdays. Even though they only served the brunch until 14:00 and we got there 13:50, we got to order it. And oh my god what a pleasant meal! And so much! The hot chocolate was just too good! I have never ever had anything like it! The juice was fresh, my omlett very good! The pasteris was good! It was just too much. By the time we got to the salamon we were full. But we had try to drink up the chocolate and taste the macrones. I would come back here any day. Especially it it’s a bit cold or rainy outside. It’s not the cheapest brunch, but you’re in Paris! Just go for it!”

“I had my birthday brunch here and it was an absolute treat. The hot chocolate is to die for! A charming stylish restaurant with a real Parisian feel. A must for all tourists who want to experience old fashioned service with lovely food. Not cheap but a treat.”

“Yes, it’s touristy. Ok, it’s also pricey if you’re on a budget. 
But the hot chocolate (Chocolat L’Africain) is truly to die for; melted-chocolate thick, it is served with a glass of water, just in case you choke or experience a sweetness overdose. By the way, even in Winter, I think it’s impossible to drink it all, so you can always order one and share it.
I also ordered a Mont Blanc, so I was at risk for an overdose. 
The waiter was surprisingly attentive (considering the large amount of customers) and as said before, it is not cheap (I spent around 20 euros), but the decor and great desserts make it worthy of a few extra euros.”

The restaurant is open for Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch, and Dinner. You can also order takeout or grab a late night dessert. For more information, visit the site’s website at: http://www.groupe-bertrand.com/angelina.php

Michelin Star Restaurants in Nice

When a restaurant is awarded the coveted Michelin star by one of its critics, it says a lot about that restaurant. It says the food is phenomenal, creative, and perfectly cooked. It says the staff is attentive, timely, and pleasant. It says the chefs are well trained, gourmet, and inventive with their menus. Nice happens to have several Michelin starred restaurants – that’s how loaded with gourmet cuisine this beautiful French city is. Today, we’d like to show you a couple of our favorites.

L’Aromate

LAromate

Michelin Star: 1

This restaurant is small, quaint, and run by a couple that really knows food. The chef/owner was trained in some of the best restaurants in the world, and it shows in his cooking. You won’t walk out of there without spending about 70 Euros per person, but it’s well worth it. Try the citrus sea bass, or perhaps the stunning pea soup (not as simple as it sounds). Very creative cuisine.

Flaveur

flaveur restaurant

Michelin Star: 1

This charming restaurant is run by 3 friends – 2 are brothers and 1 a family friend. Here you can enjoy no frill classic French cuisine at its best – finding a hint of exotic hidden within every meal. One big key to this restaurant’s success is their strict use of only the freshest ingredients. With this restaurant as well you won’t walk out of there without spending at least 70 euros per person, but again it’s well worth it. Try the fish cooked in duck sauce, or the Croustillant Rose-Litchis for dessert.

L’Univers-Christian Plumail

L'Univers-Christian Plumail

Michelin Stars: 1

This restaurant is far renowned for its delicious Nicoise type cuisine. You’ll definitely need to pre-book your meal, as people come from far and wide just to sample a dish. It’s known to creatively tease the palate with its smoked salmon, or anchovy mousse, or smoked eel filled with sea urchin. The prices are about 15 euros less than the previous two restaurants we’ve listed, but it seems as if it should be more. Book a table, dress nice, and enjoy a delicious evening at L’Univers-Christian Plumail.

2 Of Our Favorite Restaurants in Provence

Eating in Provence is full of late breakfasts, late and lazy lunches, and dinner at the later hour of around 9pm. No one rushes in Provence – one of the best things about this beautiful city. There are plenty of great places to eat, many of them giving the option of fabulous outdoor dining. We’ll eventually get to them all, but for now we wanted to provide you with two of our favorites:

La Fourchette

la fourchette

The restaurant is very popular among locals, and with good reason. Friendly wait staff, warm atmosphere, unique wall decor, and a heavenly smell wafting through the kitchen that you could just eat itself make this restaurant the place to be in Provence. The scrumptious escalope of salmon will leave you wanting seconds, or the salmon with leaks – delicious! Not to mention the pricing is very reasonable, although the food tastes as if it should be priced twice as high.

Address: 17 rue Racine

Le Jardin d’Hadrien

Le Jardin d'Hadrien

If you’re looking for cuisine that’s a little more French, and a little more upscale, Le Jardin d’Hadrien is the place. Sit inside among the white stone, wooden planks, and open fireplace – or be seated outdoors in the beautiful and shaded garden. Try the fresh and crisp salted cod and zucchini anbd brandade sauce – it’s amazing. Or, if you want to try something  fresh and season, the chef is constantly changing the restaurant’s menu to offer only what is in season. You can order off a prix-fixe menu, or a la carte. The prix-fixe menu is divided into two sections: gourmand and saveur. While the restaurant is a little pricier, it’s not too bad in comparison with some other upscale restaurants, and you truly are paying for excellence.

Address: 11 rue Enclos Rey

Provence has hundreds of great places to dine, offering a unique take on French food from the French-Mediterranean perspective. We’ll be sure and let you know about the one’s worth trying as we run across them – you may want to extend your vacation a bit.

 

5 of the Best Cafe’s in Paris

cafes paris

 

Cafe’s hold a special place in Paris’ heart. Locals and travelers have always frequented the cafes to read a book while sipping an espresso, people watch, meet with friends, or have a cozy chat with their love over a cappuccino and slice of cake. Today, we’d like to point you in the direction of five of the best cafe’s we know of in the heart of Paris. Beloved by the French, and adored by tourists.

Cafe des 2 Moulins

Cafe des 2 Moulins

This cafe became particularly popular after it was featured in the hit film Amelie. Located right on the corner, and with plenty of sitting room, this cafe has perfect baked goods, delicious coffee, and is the perfect spot to watch the comings and goings of Paris.

Merce & The Muse

Merce & The Muse

There are plenty of Starbucks in Paris, and they are loved, but Merce and the Muse offers a truly unique take on American-establishment coffee shops. Hit up this shop for a delicious carrot muffin and an astonishingly good latte made fresh from beans ordered from Copenahgen’s Coffee Collective.

Cafe de la Nouvelle Mairie

Cafe de la Nouvelle Mairie

Close to the Sorbonne, the lycée Henri IV and the Ecole Normale Supérieure, this cafe is a hit with students. Not to mention its decor is wonderful with it’s stone walls and gorgeous wooden floors. One can also sit on the sidewalk terrace and enjoy their coffee, or a glass of natural wine.

Coutume Cafe

Coutume Café

Owned by a French and Austrialian pair who have a true passion for good coffee, beans are roasted on site here and brewed in interesting contraptions even the savviest of coffee enthusiasts will have never seen. They also have the first “Strada” Marzocco espresso machine in Paris. The owners here feel it is their obligation to provide only the freshest most well brewed coffee in Paris, and they think other shops are taking the easy way out with unfresh Robusta brews.

La Mer a Boire

La Mer à Boire

This cafe sits on a beautiful spot that overlooks the Parc de Belleville in Paris, which is one of the highest points in Paris. You can actually enjoy sprawling city views all the way to the Eiffel Tower here. The inside of the cafe is nice as well, and painted a warm and vibrant orange. Hook up to their wi-fi, sip on some gourmet brew, and enjoy the flood of artists that come in from every which way into the cafe. You can even hear some young local musicians perform on the weekends.

 

5 Romantic Things to do in the City of Love

They don’t call Paris the City of Love for no reason. The city is absolutely teeming with romantic things to do, see, and experience around every corner. Romance seems to even be in the air itself, and unavoidable for even those who try. But, if you’re looking for something extra special to do with your loved one, especially with Valentines Day right around the corner, we’re here to help with our picks for this month on romantic hot spots in Paris.

Le Baron Rouge

Le Baron Rouge

This isn’t your typical cozy and romantic dinner place. It’s loud. It’s crowded. But, it’s wonderfully romantic. You’ll be squeezed in between a slew of locals, all seeking a glass of wine and platter of cheese from the bar. On winter weekends, you can also grab some fresh oyster right on the sidewalk in front.

Flûte l’Étoile

Flûte l’Étoile

This place screams romance. It actually used to be a gentleman’s bar, but now you and your significant other can cozy up to a fireplace with a champagne cocktail, or go upstairs and enjoy a romantic quiet dinner. The prices are very reasonable, the food is good, and there’s even live jazz on Wednesdays.

A Chocolate Massage at the Four Seasons

A Chocolate Massage at the Four Seasons

With chocolate and massage all in one, you can’t go wrong. Take your loved one to the Four Seasons George V Hotel for a chocolate-mint body scrub, followed by  a Swiss chocolate and toffee body wrap, and completed with a cocoa oil deep tissue massage. They’ll never forget you for it.

 

Dame du Canton

Dame du Canton

Whisk your sweetie away to dinner on the Dame du Canton for some gypsy themed romance. Below deck there’s a cozy and lantern filled restaurant where you can enjoy a wonderful dinner filled with gypsy jazz and gentle boat rocking.

High Tea at the Ritz

High Tea at the Ritz

Dazzling crystal, priceless antiques, gleaming and polished silver make for an elegant rendezvous with your honey. Enjoy amazing tea, tiny sandwiches, pastries, scones with cream and jam, and a romantically sophisticated setting.  Definitely a tea you’ll always remember.

 

Eating Cheap in Paris

Paris Sandwiches

 

Traveling abroad is no easy financial feat for most of us, but there are always ways to save – especially when it comes to dining in Paris. With hundreds and hundreds of small bistros offering gourmet food at lower prices than the fine restaurants in Paris, it’s easy to budget in this area. But, there are ways to dine and save at the gourmet restaurants as well.

 

When out and about enjoying the sights and sounds of Paris, stick to out of the way places when it comes to grabbing a bite to eat. The non-touristy places are going to offer great food for a lot less than the places right next to land marks such as the Eiffel Tower or the Champs Elysees. Also, keep an eye out for food stalls that are scattered throughout the city – these are usually cheap and very accessible. Patisseries are also a great way to dine, with coffee and sandwiches typically being made available for purchase.

If trendier restaurants are more your cup of tea, there are certainly ways to save in this area. Firstly, stick to the prix-fixe menu instead of ordering A la Carte. You can often times get a great three course meal for under fifteen dollars. Also, remember that it’s always cheaper to dine during lunch hours than dinner hours where you can often see the prices markedly higher.

Just remember these key things, and you’ll be dining like a king on less than a king’s budget in no time:

  • Dine at non-touristy places
  • Keep an eye out for street vendors
  • Minimize fine dining to only during lunch hours
  • Take full advantage of your hotels (typically) on-the-house breakfast. It usually consists of croissants, fruit, cheese, and juice.
  • Don’t order A la Carte. Instead stick to the prix-fixe menu most fine restaurants will provide.