Eating in France

some tips

1) In Nice, if looking for quality food, avoid the places near the Promenade De Anglais, unless you have a specific recommendation from someone you trust
2) In Paris, avoid any place offering a 10 Euro menu. It is a tourist joint that doesn't think you know better
3) Don't eat dinner in the old town of Eze. You have three very expensive choices, none of which are worth it.
4) Don't start doing the conversions between Euros and Dollars for the food you are eating because you will give yourself a coronary.
5) If you are eating in a decent restaurant, a carafe of their house wine is going to be much higher quality than you would guess and it will be substantially cheaper than a demi-bouteille or a demi-litre of a wine off of their wine list. In a similar vein, learn how to order a carafe of water unless you enjoy paying for bottles of expensive mineral water everywhere
6) If you are going for Soca in the Cours Selaya in Nice, do it early. It is closed when the rest of the flower market is packing up, not when lunchtime is over.
7) If you are having a hard time finding a good place to eat, hit up a boulangerie, a charcruterie and a l├ęgumerie instead; you'll be happier.
8) Order in French even if you aren't very good at it. Outside of Paris, they will appreciate it and will help with your pronunciation and grammar. In Paris, they will just switch to English, but I think that they still appreciate the effort
9) French people eat late. This can work to your advantage, especially in Paris where the good restaurants fill up and long waits are common. We usually ate around 7:30 when most of the restaurants were just opening. After dinner we would walk around and if we noticed a place that was packed with locals (you can tell by the (lack of) overall volume and (large) amount of smoking) we'd head there the next night.
10) If you know where you want to eat, make reservations. It will guarantee your spot and will get you better service
11) In Paris, they now have no smoking sections, but they are filled with Americans and are not in any way separated from the smoking sections. Actually, in most of the restaurants we ate in, they would create a non-smoking section the first time it was requested. It would be in the worst spot in the restaurant and would still have clouds of cigarette smoke billowing over it. Better just to not stress over it: look for a table with its neighbor tables having no or very few butts in the ashtrays and sit there.

Posted: Sun - May 7, 2006 at 11:34 AM           |