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Having dinner in France

I understand that in the US, we go to dinner on the way to something else. In France, the restaurant is the destination. When you get a table in France, you have for the night, and there is no expectation of turnover. French restaurants then, probably make their money from wine and alcohol sales.

I will probably be travelling in France alone. If this is the case I won't eating dinner for the night since I don't have anyone to eat with. Plus, I can only drink so much wine and I'll feel like I'm cheating them since I'll be there for the night, and buying more wine.

Is this OK? I can back a picknic for dinners, but I'd like to experience the French cuisine.

Posted by
2007 posts

Well, if you are a couple or a group of people at a restaurant, you are more likely to be engaged in converstation and wanting to spend more time at dinner -- if not "all night". As a solo, you may not want to spend a lot of time, but just want to have a leisurely meal. Have it, perhaps an extra glass of wine or some coffee. Read a book or write in a travel journal. Leave when you are ready. No one will fault you for not staying there all evening. This is not a requirement. If you are uncomfortable with the dinner scene, dine earlier than 8pm, or do lunch in a nice restaurant.
Hope this helps.

Posted by
8647 posts

Kevin, you can eat at any restaurant, anywhere in France (even Paris) and stay as little or as long as you like. It is exactly the same as here, except that they do not rush you or expect you to leave like they do here. You can sit and eat and leave in 45 min, if you want to, or stay longer. It's whatever you want to do. You also do not have to drink any alcohol at all if you don't want to. It is completely up to you, absolutely no different from here. I grew up in Paris, I've lived there as an adult, and my family and I spend time there every year. We love to eat out in restaurants but we never stay more the 1- 1.5 hrs and we never drink alcohol. No one has ever cared how long we stay or what we drink. Just do what you want and have fun!