Going to a Restaurant in France

In France, there are three meals a day. Breakfast, generally served from around 7:00 am to 9:00 am, consists of a hot drink (coffee, tea, or chocolate), croissants and/or bread, butter and jam.

Lunch, between 12:00 pm and 2:00 pm, is typically a real feast, usually consisting of a starter, main course and (often) a dessert. It is usually finished off with an espresso coffee.

A snack (around 4:00 pm) is traditionally reserved for children, although some adults take this as an opportunity to enjoy tea and cakes.

Finally, dinner starts around 8:00 pm. It usually lasts longer than in the US, (1-2 hours), and consists of an appetizer, an entree, a main course and a dessert.

At the restaurant In France you will find all sorts of restaurants, from simple and cozy to fancy and gourmet, and of course everything in between: brasseries, inns and tearooms.

In restaurants, bread and carafes of water are included in the price shown, as are all service charges. However, it is customary to leave a small tip on the table.

Culinary specialties In addition to wine, bread and cheese, which are the classics in French culinary culture, one can enjoy as many specialties as there are regions.

  • Alsace: sauerkraut (with local cured pork), kouglof (cakes with raisins), dry, white wines.
  • Aquitaine: duck-based foods (foie gras, breast, gizzards, confit), piperade (pepper and cooked tomato omelette), poulet basquaise (chicken prepared with tomatoes and sweet peppers), cannelé (cake with caramel), Gascon pastis, and wines of Bordeaux.
  • Auvergne: green lentils from Puy en Velay, truffade (potatoes, bacon and melted Cantal Tomme cheese), pounti (salty/sweet cakes stuffed with herbs and with or without prunes).
  • Bourgogne: escargots, beef bourguignon, fondue bourguignonne (morsels of beef cooked in oil), gougère (cabbage with cheese), mustard, and the famous Burgundy wines.
  • Brittany: crêpes and galettes, seafood, far (a sort of flan), Kouign Amann (salted butter-based cake), and cider
  • Centre: Gâtinais honey
  • Champagne-Ardenne: boudin blanc (a type of white sausage), andouillette (chitterling) sausage from Troyes, Ardennes ham, croquignolles de Reims (small, pink biscuits) and of course, champagne.
  • Corsica: cured pork meats, wild boar stew, Brocciu (sheep cheese), chestnut flour, citrus.
  • Franche-Comté: poularde aux morilles (chicken with morel mushrooms), Morteau sausages, kirsch (sort of liquour) and absinth.
  • Paris, Ile-de-France: Meaux and Melun brie, Coulommiers (cow's milk cheese).
  • Languedoc-Roussillon: l'Aligot (mashed potatoes with fresh Tomme cheese), cassoulet (white beans with goose confit, garlic and pork), brandade de Nîmes (eel-based dish), la Gardiane (bull's meat casserole).
  • Limousin: tourtou (rye flour crêpe), la tête de veau (head of veal) les pommes (apples)
  • Lorraine: quiche lorraine, mirabelle (sweet yellow plum, also fruit brandy), beers, white wines.
  • Midi-Pyrénées: Cassoulet, foie gras, cured pork meats, Gascon pastis (puffed pastry, strips of apples steeped in armagnac).
  • Nord-Pas-de-Calais: carbonnade flamande (beef with beer sauce), Hochepot (meat ragoût).
  • Normandy: Camembert and other cheeses, escalope de veau normande (Veal in a mushroom-cream sauce), le poulet vallée d'Auge (Calvados flambé chicken cooked in cider), andouille de Vire (chitterling sausage), la Teurgoule (rice in milk), caramel of Isigny and cider.
  • Picardie: la ficelle picarde (leek-stuffed crêpe), clafouti aux maroilles (cheese), le Cackruse (pork with prunes), le gâteau batu (kirsch cakes).
  • Pays de la Loire: les sablés nantais (Nantes short-cut pastries), berlingots (hard mint candy).
  • Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur: Bouillabaisse (fish soup), anchoïade (anchovy-based cream), aïoli (garlic mayonnaise), soupe au pistou (pesto soup), fougasse (flat loaf), marzipan from Aix.
  • Rhône-Alpes: la fondue savoyarde (cheese cooked in white wine with bread is soaked), quenelles (dumplings), cured pork meats.
  • Riviera: pissaladière (a sort of tomato and onion pizza), salade niçoise, ratatouille (mix of cooked vegetables).