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Changing times...?

Paris, France
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6,833 posts
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Changing times...?

I noticed lately - over the last year, anyhow - in many cafes in the Marais, tables are being set for meals much earlier than they used to be. I wonder if this is happening much in other parts of Paris, or just mainly in the areas where tourists are demanding to eat earlier than traditional meal times.

Patrons used to be allowed to sit anywhere, just for drinks and perhaps a dessert or light snack, between the approximate hours of 11 AM - 1 PM, then again from 3 PM - 7:30 PM. But in my neck of the woods, tables are being set all day long, and you must ask if it's possible to just sit for a drink - some places grudgingly remove the place settings, others are nice about it. Several places near my apartment start setting the tables at 6 AM, even when they don't serve anything until 7:30AM - or in a couple of other cases, at noon!

I'm sure it's the economy,and I'm sure tourists appreciate it, but it certainly isn't traditional, and it can be definitely annoying. I really hate to see one of the Parisian culture's finest traditions being swept away, just so someone can make a buck.

So, if you arrive outside of the traditional meal times I mentioned and see all the tables set, go ahead and ask. All anyone can say is "no" - but they won't see me, again.

Edinburgh, United...
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1. Re: Changing times...?

Isn't it a shame that centuries of culture bend so easily and merge into disnayuniverse at the behest of money!

Paris, France
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2. Re: Changing times...?

Even though the population of Paris has started to grow again since the end of the 20th century, it is clear that this new situation cannot be attributed to Parisians, so obviously it is due to the massive tourist influx. I can't really blame the cafés for wanting to cash in, but I can certainly regret it.

Redlands, California
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3. Re: Changing times...?

I promise not to dine before 8 when I come in September, so don't blame me! I know the places I've chosen (based on nostalgia) will be chock-a-block with tourists and I can't complain, as I am one, but I hope to hear at least SOME French later in the evening.

New Hampshire
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for Paris
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4. Re: Changing times...?

<<Several places near my apartment start setting the tables at 6 AM, even when they don't serve anything until 7:30AM - or in a couple of other cases, at noon!>>

That really makes no sense. Why would the tourists appreciate it?

If we're wandering about and ready for just a seat and a beverage, we would just bypass any place with no unset tables.

Paris, France
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5. Re: Changing times...?

Some places also do that in conjunction with express service so as to ensure a huge number of services in the evening. There is a great (food-wise) pizza place in my street, but I no longer go there in the evening because they expect you to be in and out in about 40 minutes. They even have this awful (US-imported?) habit of bringing the bill without patrons asking for it.

New York City, New...
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for Yucatan Peninsula
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6. Re: Changing times...?

how does one know that tourists are demanding to eat earlier? Wouldn't the tourists who want to eat earlier be eating somewhere else earlier? Would they really be banging on a restaurant door asking to be allowed in earlier, or calling for reservations in a place they are intimidated to be in a language they're intimidated to use to demand restaurants accommodate them?

Methinks these restauranteurs could be coming up with ways to maximize profits in weak economies to stay in business.

Tradition is BS in a lot of ways - traditionally women stayed home and cooked while men worked. Traditionally only men were chefs. Traditionally people died of diseases we now have cures for. Times change - even in France!


Edited: 07 August 2014, 22:49
Mill Valley...
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7. Re: Changing times...?

I agree with your first paragraph, in particular, evening. It is a gratuitous assertion that tourists are "demanding" to eat earlier. Is there any foundation in fact for this?

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8. Re: Changing times...?

Several anti-tourist threads lately. Weird, considering this is a tourist board.

9. Re: Changing times...?

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Ventura, California
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10. Re: Changing times...?

"...but it certainly isn't traditional, and it can be definitely annoying"

So you are finding it annoying that restaurants are setting tables earlier in the day, ostensibly to earn money so they can continue to be a restaurant? I think you may be due for a vacation.

Seriously though, things change, and to gin up a thread about a pretty minor change in a tourist area is just looking for trouble. People eat when they eat, and businesses are part of why the people come to Paris; who cares?

Edited: 07 August 2014, 23:16