Click to learn more...HOSPITALITY TIPS AND USEFUL INFORMATION       From the Desk of Veronique LeBlanc



When do you leave a tip? How late can you dine out? If you don’t find the answer to your question about eating out in Paris in this list, don’t hesitate to let us know!

What time do we eat in France?

Lunch is usually between midday and 2 pm, when the kitchen will go off duty. Watch out, as during these times, service can be rather slow if you find yourself in a business area. Parisians don’t dine until at least 8.30 pm as prior to that, time is set aside for “l’apéritif”. If you’re used to eating earlier, restaurants in the more-frequented tourist areas are open from 7 pm onwards, although you won’t see too many Parisians at that time! Alternatively, you can go for a lighter fare (salads, sandwiches or pizza for example). You can eat late in the busier districts and many restaurants stay open until after midnight, in particular the brasseries who serve food non-stop. It’s a good idea to check opening times in our information pages and to book a table in advance in order to avoid a long wait at the more popular spots, especially at the weekend. The majority of bars and cafés open early, around 7 or 8 am and close late, sometimes not until 2 am, or even later if the establishment has a special dispensation.

How to pay?

Restaurants everywhere take all the major credit cards: Visa, EuroCard, MasterCard, American Express. At each transaction, the restaurant must give you a receipt which you should keep safely. Only cheques drawn on French banks will be accepted and generally proof of identity is requested. You can also pay in euros of course, although it is best to avoid the larger denomination banknotes.

Inside or out?

If you sit outside on the pavement or terrace, prices will inevitably be higher. The difference varies according to the place, but the establishment is obliged to display their prices, both those at the counter (“comptoir”) or at an outside table (“terrasse”).

To tip or not to tip?

In France all prices include service and taxes, with approximately 15% of the price corresponding to the service. However, if the waiter or waitress has been especially attentive, you can leave him or her a tip to show your appreciation. Around 5 to 10% of the bill is usual.


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Beer or whisky?

Alcoholic drinks are on sale at grocers’, wine shops or supermarkets. We must not forget though that alcohol over-indulgence is not only bad for our health, it can also threaten our driving licence (loss of points, considerable fines) and above all endanger lives. Any establishment selling alcohol is not authorized to serve children under 16 years of age. Drinks less than 15 degrees in strength (wine, beer) can be served to under-18s, but not spirits and liqueurs (whisky, vodka, etc.) Restaurants that do not have the appropriate licence cannot serve alcoholic drinks except to accompany a meal.

Happy hour!

A custom imported from English-speaking lands, it has been “happily” adopted by the French and is rife at the time of “l’apéritif” (from 6 to 8 pm) when certain cafés and bistros offer their best cocktails or wine by the glass at a reduced price or sometimes “2 for the price of 1”.

Snug for smokers?

Restaurants should have designated smoking and non-smoking areas and the inevitable question “fumeur ou non fumeur?” will be asked as you go in. Cafés and clubs remain the places where this law may be not so strictly adhered to, and where the cigarette as a leisure companion is very much in evidence. Mutual respect is ultimately the only rule.

Our four-legged friends

Before you book your table or meet for drinks, ensure that the establishment of your choice will accept your pet. Hospitality may include a Yorkshire terrier without necessarily extending to a Saint-Bernard...


Do you speak English?

In busy tourist areas and in the top restaurants, waiting staff will speak one foreign language or more. English is the most common, but you’ll come across German, Spanish and Italian too. Menus are translated into English and other languages if the area is visited by tourists.

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Chic Cuisine, By Louise Marchand

Poetry, showmanship and expertise

Some distinguished signatures take the art of gastronomy to new heights. All the big names in French cuisine have a Paris address: reinvention of traditional dishes; fusion of herbs and spices, both savoury and sweet; innovation and a touch of genius are the main ingredients at these celebrated venues. Ambassadors of French cuisine, the top starred chefs, ranked in the food guides, will receive you in their domains, where the setting is often as spectacular as the bill. If dinner there is beyond you, why not try their lunch menus, somewhat easier on the pocket but usually taken by storm! Advance booking is essential, at least a fortnight before.

AMBASSADEURS (LES), 10, place de la Concorde 75008 PARIS.  Specialties:  Traditional .Seasonal menus. "Egg blancmange with black truffles"; calves' sweetbreads and spaghetti carbonara; "biberon" lamb in curry and coconut; beetroot foie gras; scallops St Jacques and leek vinaigrette; candy-floss with wild strawberries. Practical information: Subway : Concorde, RER : A - Auber, telephone number : 01 44 71 16 16, ax : 01 44 71 15 02,,

BRISTOL (LE).112, rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré 75008 PARIS.  Specialties: Traditional. Macaroni stuffed with artichoke, truffle and foie gras de canard with parmesan cheese. Bresse fattened chicken flavoured with wine from the Jura region, garden peas, pie in salad and grilled foie gras. Dark chocolate zabaglione, hazelnuts in nougat, caramel with spices and Bourbon vanilla ice-cream. Practical information: Subway : Miromesnil, RER : A- Auber, elephone number : 01 53 43 43 00, ax : 01 53 43 43 01, mail :


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