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Paris Restaurant Menus in English?

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Atlanta, Georgia
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Paris Restaurant Menus in English?

We will be in Paris for 5 days soon. Have no knowledge of French food and cannot read or speak French. Do some restaurants have menus in English, if so how do we find those restaurants? How much of a problem is this going to be for us?

Thank you.

los angeles
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1. Re: Paris Restaurant Menus in English?

Most restaurants will not have English menus, but you'll be surprised just how many words you recognize based on similar roots, etc. You'll recognize boeuf (beef), frites (fries) and the like just based on "common sense."

And there are many internet sources, such as this one:

french.about.com/od/vocabulary/a/food.htm

They'll help you become familiar with the basic words on restaurant menus.

This is NOT "going to be much of a problem for you" at all, but do recognize that any small problem it may be is yours to solve, not the French restaurant's problem. It's not their responsibility to provide translated menus, but rather yours to educate your self a bit. Once you try, you'll see it's not too difficult at all.

Edited: 21 May 2011, 21:55
Boston...
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2. Re: Paris Restaurant Menus in English?

You might consider picking up a French food translator. They're pocket-sized and come in quite handy. I think I've read here that Patricia Wells has an online one that you can download. You can probably google it easily enough.

All food establishments in Paris will have a menu posted outside. Many will have English translations. You can just point if need be.

On another note though, you might consider learning the basics, such as please and thank you, so you can be polite when doing such things as ordering and being served your food, among other things.

Montreal
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3. Re: Paris Restaurant Menus in English?

You will see restaurants with English menus near the popular sites. Many restaurants in the centre, near sites and touristy places (and not only) will have waiters that speak some English.

Also, some guidebooks provide lists of common French words and even pics of food/dishes (I recall seeing that in the big DK guide).

Tampa, Florida
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4. Re: Paris Restaurant Menus in English?

Here's the Patricia Wells glossary:

patriciawells.com/glossary/french_english_fo…

(a bit over the top for a tourist visit, but it's definitely comprehensive!)

San Francisco...
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5. Re: Paris Restaurant Menus in English?

You will be fine with no or limited French if you have the right approach and attitude. Re the excellent Patricia Wells glossary mentioned above (it's much better than the pocket-sized food translater books we've used, such as the Marlin Menu Master) -- I've heard she's considering an app for that, but in the meantime, we've downloaded it to an iPhone (or similar device). That way, you can have the glossary (1) even if you are in a place with no internet service and (2) in any event, without any internet roaming charges. (We do this by using the "dropbox.com" app, and adding the glossary to our "favorites" within the dropbox program -- all free.) -- Jake

Edited: 21 May 2011, 22:24
New Hampshire
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6. Re: Paris Restaurant Menus in English?

Here's another excellent food glossary which you can print in booklet form to carry with you.

http://www.intimatefrance.com/glossarypag.pdf

There are few restaurants that don't have English translations for their menus. But, often the most appealing offerings are on the daily specials list (blackboard or printed) for which translations are usually not provided. Most waiters will assist you as best they can, but they are busy and you shouldn't depend on this everywhere you go.

It's a good idea to study a food glossary ahead of time and familiarize yourselves with foods you prefer - and those you do not.

Just because you know veau means veal or agneau means lamb doesn't mean you won't inadvertently order kidneys, liver, or worse...

All restaurants have their menus posted outside or in a window. If there's an English translation, that will be posted as well.

Philadelphia...
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7. Re: Paris Restaurant Menus in English?

If you have a smartphone... I find it very handy to have an offline French-English dictionary (Larousse is the best quality for value I've found, but there are plenty others). A couple of key punches and you can find the translation you need.

Boston...
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8. Re: Paris Restaurant Menus in English?

*Every* restaurant in Paris has its menu posted outside. In most cases, if English is available, the English translation is directly below the French (and occasionally in a pretty bad translation).

Some of the larger hotels (for example, the Meridien in Montparnasse) have very decent buffets available for dinner -- you have a huge choice, an no language problems whatever.

Hong Kong, China
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9. Re: Paris Restaurant Menus in English?

I would say most restaurants that you might be interested in would not have an English menu. Those are restaurants that are more likely to cater to tourists.

Either get a list of translation before you go (see many of the helpful responses above or on the web), or bring a guidebook. Also, many Parisian wait staff should know some English to help you. Outside Paris, English is less widely spoken.

Oceanside...
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10. Re: Paris Restaurant Menus in English?

Just don't order rognons. They are innards.