So many messages here on the forum regarding dining are from Americans who can't adjust to southern European dinner hours for one reason or another and are looking for workarounds or solutions -- in Spain the fix is a tapas bar, in Italy it's a tavola calda in a trattoria, but what to do in France?
The answer is to turn an aperitif into a meal, which the French oftentimes do themselves, such that they have a term for it, the
I'm calling it their equivalent of the early bird special here in the USA among the white shoes and silver hair crowd, but maybe it should be thought of as more like happy hour with snack specials?
It's on my mind today because with the start of the sunny part of the year I saw a restaurant board in central France that listed two seatings for dinner, first at 7:30pm and second at 9-ish pm, depending on when the first folks get up. I was imagining that this would put some American tourists on edge (while I like to adjust to Spanish timing so the after-9-pm would be starting to seem ok, not too too early) but the saving grace of this was that the place is open for apero at 6:30pm, might even let you in a little before.
I like this list / photo spread of suggestions for this snack time, especially how they compare to the previously mentioned tapas or hot table items: