Learning the lingo

Most restaurants will have menus in English, but knowing a little French will go a long way. Swot up on a couple of French phrases to and you can dazzle shopkeepers and restaurant staff. Although they will most likely spare you the embarrassment, it leaves a good impression. Plus, the further you head into rural France, the more French you will likely need.

Restaurant etiquette

French restaurants run a tight ship. Breakfast and lunch come early but dinner reservations start late (from about 8pm onwards). It is also important to note that during the les grandes vacances (summer holidays), which the French take very seriously, many restaurants and smaller boutiques shut to enjoy the August sun. Adding an extra tip also isn’t expected. As a time-honoured profession, the French restaurant industry usually includes a service charge, though leaving a few extra euros is always appreciated.


In the UK, cash seems almost obsolete but in France, it is still very much king. Some cafes and shops, such as bakeries, often require a minimum spend of €10 (0, which is quite a few baguettes and croissants if you’re low on euros!).…

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