“Bon appetit!” is a common French phrase that your waiter would say, which means “Hope you enjoy your food.” The phrase is most commonly used when your dish is brought to your table. As a form of food customs, food is something the French heavily include in their own culture and lifestyle. To them, food can be a form of art, a way to connect with one another, and a means to fulfill a more exquisite taste palette.
Since I am a huge foodie (person that loves food), I love to be adventurous and taste different types of food. Some of the types of food I have tasted here in Paris are: escargots, crêpes, croissants, raclette, and croque madame. All of them have tasted delicious and fresh, and it makes me feel good that I am putting good food not only on my tastebuds, but also in my tummy.
Besides from the food tasting so scrumptious, I have actually made some interesting observations about the French meals that I would like to share with you all.
After dining in several French restaurants, I have seen a different food culture in France than in the United States.
First, the restaurants are all built with their own unique architectural style and flair. No two restaurants would ever look identical. If there’s anything that they have in common, it’s probably the size of the restaurant. Most restaurants are all built to be small and compact, allowing it to create this cosy atmosphere. In addition, a lot of the restaurants here are actually family owned and operated, which is nice to know it’s family business oriented within the French community.
While it’s great that family businesses are heavily supported, I found another interesting thing which is their hour of operations. Most restaurants here are only open for about two hours for lunch, close to prepare for dinner, and then don’t reopen again until 7PM or 8PM. Especially during dinner time, it is strongly recommended to make reservations. If you come in with no dinner reservation, you are more likely to be turn down (take it from me who had to dealt with that and return home with an empty stomach and sad self). Plus, a lot of restaurants don’t open on Sundays because the French like to utilize that day to spend time with their loved ones.
Another interesting observation is that wine is served way cheaper than other drinks. Apparently in the French food culture, your meals should be had with either wine or water to really enjoy the taste of the food. If you were to drink soda with a French meal, you have already ultimately destroyed your pure taste buds for the well prepared dish.
Furthermore, French meals have a specific order in how you correctly eat your meal. In order, your typical French meal would start off with: a starter, entree, dessert, and then followed by coffee. You would reorder again for your next dish after completing one. For example, once you finish your entree you would then reorder for your dessert dish. In addition, all French meals include a complimentary basket of fresh sliced baguette. Even though that sounds like a lot of food to digest in one sitting, do not worry about rushing your meal! The French absolutely love to take their time consuming their meals in order to enjoy it. On average, a typical french meals lasts on average two hours. So the next time your dine in at a French restaurant, remember to take your time and enjoy it.