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Cafe Etiquette in Paris (and other European cities)

Is it acceptable for my husband and I (at lunch would be most appropriate, I suppose) to go to a cafe and order two appetizers but split the plat du jour?

Posted by
267 posts

I would assume so - but it depends on the formality of the establishment. Also, keep in mind the portions in France are smaller.

Posted by
3313 posts

No problem in a cafe. In a restaurant, it might be.

Posted by
12 posts

I live in Paris and my friends and I have done it often in a cafe, even in a restaurant. The higher end restaurants would not probably accept that.

Posted by
3551 posts

I did just that in the Dordogne and the restaurant was furious (nasty)and charged us xtra afterward. it was a casual cafe at lunch time during the summer. It ruined our day as we did not mean to offend nor did we stay long and occupy the table long. ask first.

Posted by
506 posts

It is not uncommon to be charged for 2 plats regardless of how many you order - or sometimes they will charge a supplement.

Posted by
8293 posts

Andrea: What I want to know is, why would you want to do that? If it's a matter of cost, skip the appetizers and just have the plat du jour. If it's a matter of appetite, go to a cafe where you can have a salad or a croque monsieur.

Posted by
448 posts

guess this is sort of a question to Jona...Where would you be charged for 2 plats no matter how many you ordered??

Posted by
11450 posts

I know alot ( most) of us consider this rather horrid, being "forced " to buy food we don't want,, and we all assume it is so French,,
but, I have been to places in my own hometown that have " minimum charges" for tables. Especially when it is busy( as in summer during lunch hours) . Each person is charged a fee.

I agree it would just be easier to skip appetizers and order two entrees, they are not likely to stuff you full as noted, the portions are more realistic.

I also feel that even if it " is not done" being made to feel like a crimminal is wrong and very rude of the waiter,, two wrongs do not make a right, just because a tourist makes a mis step etiqette wise , why does that mean it is ok for a waiter ( or wahtever) to be rude??

Posted by
47 posts

Thanks for your help everyone :) I appreciate your kind advice.

Posted by
16 posts

My boyfriend and I ordered a small pizza to share one evening in a cafe in Paris. The waiter acted like he had never had two people share 1 pizza and kept trying to tell us that it was for 1 person, not two. We were just trying to conserve what little $ we had left. When the pizza came it as definately big enough for two and even a little to spare...

Posted by
38 posts

Yes, my question is for Jona....I will be traveling single, just me. Will I have to pay for 2 plats, and if so where? This concerns me. How much does a typical lunch / dinner cost in Paris / other European cities? With the mightly dollar falling behing the Euro, I want to make sure I don't go hungry.

Posted by
4686 posts

Angela, you would not have to pay for two plates if you are by yourself. I believe the situation that Jona is describing is when 2 people sit at a table and one of them does not order a main course.

Posted by
1170 posts

I think the waiter was rude to act like that!

We've shared a plate here in the US (daughter and I) and we charged something extra for having a 2nd plate. They weren't rude, and it was an upscale restaurant. Mind you, we do get way too much on our plates, lol

Posted by
37 posts

If places charge for each person at the table will all my children be charged if one does not eat but accompanies us to dinner? I am traveling this summer with my 3 children (teens) but my youngest is very picky,he is autistic(very high-functioning) and does not usually eat with us at restaurants but will wait till we get home..........