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Beverages

I was wondering what others have found in the way of beverages. I've been reading up on how to order water and non-carbonated and non-alcoholic beverages. I know this will be part of the adventure however I'm looking forward to challenge. Any suggestions?

Posted by
4684 posts

I see you also added this topic to the "France Reviews" page so I assume you're asking about France. In terms of language, the polite way to order something in France is "je voudrais..." (zhe VOO-dray).

You've probably already heard that French restaurants are legally required to provide free tap water to drink if requested, and that bottled water is often pretty expensive. One distinctive French non-carbonated beverage is the "citron pressé" (SEE-tron PRESS-eh), which is freshly-squeezed lemon juice served with tap water and sugar so you can dilute and sweeten it to your taste. I often order it simply because it's a lot of fluid for a relatively low price.

Posted by
113 posts

Yes, I will be on BOE 14 day tour in August so starting in France then Swiss Alps, Germany and Italy. I'm a big tea drinker which can be a challenge to order in certain parts of the USA at times. I appreciate the French lesson. Merci.

Posted by
27713 posts

I had another answer in your other identical thread.

By tea, do you mean Ice Tea? If so, you will find it much more of a challenge everywhere in Europe, in a restaurant. In supermarkets in France, Belgium, Germany, and Italy you can probably find large bottles of Lipton presweetened and pre-flavoured (usually Peach, Green, White, or Lemon).

If you mean hot tea, that is much more readily available in restaurants but much less than coffee. If you like to have your tea with lemon you may have difficulty.

Posted by
16883 posts

You will find some different soda flavors around, especially in a market. In Italy, try Chinotto (a bitter orange flavor like Campari).

Posted by
11286 posts

It's not a challenge at all. The exception is getting tap water, which varies by country. As you've been told, in France it's easy; you'll see that all the French people in restaurants will have carafes of tap water at the table, so you won't in any way be conspicuous. In other places they may or may not be willing to give it to you. I remember being refused outright only once, in Barcelona. In Italy the bottled water (still or sparkling) is not expensive, so I usually get that.

For tea, thé nature is plain tea; I had not heard that phrase before I went there. Thé au lait is with milk, and thé au citron is with lemon. In addition to black tea, you can get an herbal tea, called a tisane, usually verveine (verbena) or chamomile.

A great non-carbonated beverage to try at cafes (not usually available at restaurants) is citron pressé, which is fresh squeezed lemon juice, sugar, and water, all served separately; you mix to taste. You can also get orange pressé. Cafes have a great variety of beverages available - look at the posted price list for starters. Since you will be on a tour, your guide should be able to help you with suggestions, pronunciation, etc, to make sure you get what you want.

Posted by
552 posts

I'll have to second the Chinotto suggestion (of course, I like to mix it with Havana Club Siete Años--which we may be able to procure in the states sometime soon,... YaY!)

And as far a tea goes, you'll have a great time in France. Paris is filled with posh 'Salons de Thé'. You'll find several retail store choices too. One that I saw a lot outside of Paris (but they have a shop on the Champs Ulysses as well) was 'Kusmi'. If you like Earl Grey, I recommend buying a small sack of their 'Troika' or 'Anastasia' Russian blends to keep in your luggage as a pleasant sachet that works wonders between laundry days... ^_^

Posted by
10344 posts

Philip's post mentions one of the most useful French phrases I've learned for ordering in a restaurant/cafe/brasserie in France (assuming you're going to France):
je voudrais (Philip gives the phonetic pronounciation)

I've been told that this is the polite form of asking for something, which is important in France: "I would like", instead of (to the French ear) the more abrupt "I want."

Posted by
113 posts

Thank you all for your suggestions and advice. I am looking forward to the tea shops in Paris since I had no idea that it would be popular. On first search, it appeared that if I didn't drink coffee or alcohol or some carbonated drink, I'd be hard pressed to find something satisfying to drink. Typically I drink my orange pekoe/black tea with milk. I also drink herbal teas and iced tea without sugar. I was once served a non-alcoholic French pear wine in Portland, Oregon and it was delicious. So, again, thank you for all your posts.

Posted by
4684 posts

Germany is difficult to get tap water in as Germans genuinely dislike drinking it - it's not just something restaurants do to make you pay more. One theory I've heard is that the German for tap water, "Leitungswasser", sounds very "industrial". Often in restaurants, even if it's not on the actual drinks menu, ordering "Tafelwasser" will get you a no-name bottled water that is much cheaper than the branded ones on the menu.

Posted by
11450 posts

" tay o lay" ... phonetic pronoucation for "tea with milk".. if you just order tea in France they just bring tea and a sugar cube or two..

Posted by
113 posts

Thank you for the pronunciations, very helpful.