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Getting nervous...about eating!

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Chicago
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Getting nervous...about eating!

I know this is silly but I don't want to be rude or make poor decisions.

Is it really that easy to figure out which places have takeout goodies, like wine and cheese and rotisserie chicken for picnics (other than Monoprix and obvious boulangeries?) Should I just show up to the park of my choice and then look around?

Are there cover charges on top of the food/drink order when you sit in a restaurant or a cafe (indoor or out)?

What are the norms, if any, for time of day to have certain meals, as in a plate of cheese and wine as my meal if I'm sitting in a restaurant.

How do you say tap water in French, so I can ask for that and not pay for bottled water?

Maybe I'm just on planning overload mode right now but I don't want to make bad decisions (e.g waste money) especially since I can't understand French.

Thanks again for your help :)

M

Paris, France
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1. Re: Getting nervous...about eating!

Yes, it is really easy to find take-away items. The prices listed at bar and restaurants are NET -- there are no additional charges to pay and no tip to pay.

Getting tap water is easy and is what the majority of people drink. "Une carafe d'eau, s'il vous plaît."

Paris 4th Arr
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2. Re: Getting nervous...about eating!

We regularly stop here:

tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g187147-d3…

on our way to picnic in the Jardin du Luxembourg.

Sydney, Australia
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3. Re: Getting nervous...about eating!

Meal times in restaurants tend to be from 12.00 to 14.00 for lunch, and from 19.00 or 19.30 for dinner. Most restaurants (but not cafes) close during the afternoon.

I think that a restaurant might be a bit annoyed if you order just a plate of cheese and a glass of wine. There is an expectation that you will order a meal: either entrée (starter) and plat (main), or plat and cheese/dessert. It would be OK at a cafe.

"Takeaway" is "à porter".

Paris, France
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4. Re: Getting nervous...about eating!

The menu will show what is available when you are seated. Some will say something like "petit dejeuner de 08h00 a 11h00" - breakfast served from 8 - 11 AM. In that case, that is usually all that's available.

Meat/cheese platters can usually be ordered any time of the day - though usually after breakfast. But it depends on the place, and the waiter will let you know when you order.

PS - Very few restaurants or cafes offer take-out service - "a emporter". For that, you would look for a "traiteur" - sort of fancy deli.

You should get a decent guidebook that lists common restaurant terms, so you don't end up ordering puppy-dog tails instead of snails.

All food prices remain the same, but drinks are much more expensive if you sit on the terrace. All prices are posted outside, so you can avoid unpleasant surprises. Drinks are almost never included in the meal price. If they are, the menu states "boisson compris" - but it's their choice, not yours.

Edited: 23 August 2013, 07:15
Brussels
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5. Re: Getting nervous...about eating!

<"Takeaway" is "à porter">

To take away is "à emporter". "à porter" would mean "to wear".

Le Bugue, France
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6. Re: Getting nervous...about eating!

I'm not sure what you mean by "just show up at the park of my choice." Parks in Paris aren't food centers (though some do have small concessions). You go to markets or stores for food. It's pretty obvious which places are for take-out and which are for sitting and ordering. You definitely don't go to a café or bistro or brasserie and ask for take-out. And I wouldn't expect to go to a restaurant and just order cheese and wine - the expectation is you'll order a meal. Tap water is une carafe d'eau. I think it will all be quite clear when you're actually there on the ground.

Pjk
New Jersey
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7. Re: Getting nervous...about eating!

We usually order cheese and wine at one of several small wine bars; the Baron Rouge or Verre Vole, but these types of places usually close for a while after 14:00 or 14:30 and are closed one or two days a week. You need to know their schedule if you don't want to be disappointed.

Pjk

Paris, France
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8. Re: Getting nervous...about eating!

Once you arrive in Paris, all of your worries about the availability or variety of food of any kind, from snacks to full meals, will vanish instantly.

And never forget that absolutely all items and prices must be posted OUTSIDE every establishment proposing drinks and meals. Do not order anything without knowing the price ahead of time, and more particularly something as simple as a Coca-Cola, which some places use as their cash cow.

Chicago, Illinois
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9. Re: Getting nervous...about eating!

you don't order wine and cheese as a meal at a restaurant (at least not for dinner)

but there are lots of brasseries, wine bars and such where you could order wine and a cheese plate. and the only food available in parks for the most part are things like sandwiches -- if you sit at the tables near the concession you pay higher prices than if you take them to go -- for cafes and such on the streets, take out is not an option and the price to sit for a drink rather than stand at the bar is higher (and posted)

if you want take out picnic food like sandwiches, quiches, pastries, perhaps yogurt and fruit cups and drinks, you can get that put in a sack for you at most bakeries -- you can of course also go to grocery stores or delis for cheese and such for a picnic and to butcher shops for a chicken -- however there are not picnic tables in parks and in many you cannot sit on the grass so a roast chicken is not a particularly manageable picnic. in every park you will see people on chairs or benches eating lunch purchased at a bakery.

most Parisians drink tap water with meals and it is of course the budget option 'uh carafe doh, see voo play' (think Homer Simpson) will get you tap water -- if they ask if you want it still or with gas, they are trying to upsell you to bottled water and so repeat the 'carafe doh' phrase.

there are also stands here and there that sell generally so-so crepes. for good Norman crepes and cider there are a number of great places on Rue Montparnasse near Gare Montparnasse and in that general area -- and else where in Paris, I am sure.

Redington Shores...
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10. Re: Getting nervous...about eating!

Asking for CARAF D'EAU,(write it down if you can't pronounce it) will save fm $5 tiny bottle of mineral water.