French Cafés, Bistros and Bars
Be aware that when living in France...the distinction between café,
bistro and bar...is becoming more and more blurred...and these words
can be used to mean more or less the same thing.
Garcon (pronounced gar-SOWN) it is impolite to address a french waiter as
garcon...it is more proper to refer to them as monsieur.
Cafés are open all day long and hours vary according to the region.
In Paris and large towns it can be as early as 6 o'clock in the morning
to the wee hours of the next day.
In France you don't go up to the bar, order your drink...and then take it
with you to a table. There is always someone to serve you.
Cafés, bistros, and bars are obliged to display an official price-list.
So...if you think they are trying to fleece you...you can always check.
The French have only the vaguest notion of how to make a nice cuppa, so you
likely will be disappointed. Be prepared for just a tea bag dangled in tepid water.
The French value politeness, so say 'Bonjour' when your server approaches.
You must order something when you sit at a table. When you've drunk up
you're under no obligation to re-order...and nobody seems to mind how long you stay.
Finally...if you're suddenly hit by a bout of homesickness you might be tempted to
have a drink in one of the many English (or Irish) pubs scattered around France.
Sadly, though great pains have been taken to reproduce the real thing...
it's just not quite the same.
Be sure to visit Frenglish Thoughts for more tips on "Living in France".