Tips to Enjoy Your French Holiday
About the Food
In France, lunch is served from 12 pm to 2.30 pm, and dinner is served from 8 pm onwards. However, some casual cafés serve all day. The top restaurants in the country are booked up in advance, so make a reservation for dinner. When you are done, tell the waiter to bring your cheque, as it is considered impolite to bring the cheque without being asked for it. In cafés, that is not the case; a bill often accompanies your order.
Although the bill includes service charges, it is always good to leave some change; a euro for lunch, or three euros for dinner. If you wish to, you can leave more than that if you dine at one of the top restaurants. But keep in mind that tipping more than ten per cent is considered very generous.
If you want to save money, then visit the supermarkets and the lovely outdoor markets in the country. They offer a wonderful variety of local delicacies, which you can find nowhere else. Enquire your hotel management about the market days and make a plan. The largest chain of supermarkets is the Monoprix.
There are cafés at some big stores, and small department stores. When you get tired shopping or just window-shopping, stop for a delicious quick snack at one of these lovely cafés.
For those with small budgets and a big appetite, here are some places in Paris where you can eat on a budget.
Foyer de la Madeleine: Nestled beneath the dominating Madeleine Church, this lovely canteen serves a delicious 3-course-meal for just 8 euros. Ridiculous, no?
Le Hide: A happy crowd always packs this snug bistro, where the Japanese Hide Kobayashi’s excellent cooking and reasonable prices are much appreciated.
La Madonnina: If you are honeymoon couple looking for a reasonable restaurant to dine, then this is the place for you. Tables covered with red-check cloth, and candles illuminating the yellow-walled restaurant make it a lovely place for a yummy Italian meal. It has a short menu that constantly changes on a monthly basis. Do try the cassata, which is a cheesecake dish – Sicilian version.
Chartier: Humble waiters dressed up in black and white serve roasted chicken with fries to the locals as well as tourists in this wonderful place. Expect to pay about 9 euros for your meal.
Bistro Victoires: The French do not think it strange to top up a salad with mounds of cheese, seafood, or meat. Bistro Victoires offers an amazing collection of salads that will satisfy your hunger for just 9 euros. Tip: the place can get noisy and crowded, so don’t go if you are not up for it.
Rose Bakery: With an English theme, the Rose Bakery is a stylish Franco-British café that serves amazing treats, with just the right amount of crisp, and the right amount of filling. The café’s sweet tarts are simply excellent. Expect to pay between 4-13 euros, depending on whether you take-away or dine-in.
France is considered to be an expensive place to visit. But if you get all your information, and plan it right, you might save a lot of money. The time of the year when you visit the country is a major factor; travelling in the off-season can save you hundreds of bucks.
If you can afford luxurious expenses, head straight to Paris. However, if you are looking to save money while having a nice vacation, opt for the less expensive cities such as those in the southwest of France: Bordeaux, Aix, Lyon.
Logis de France: The Logis de France inn is a cheaper option as compared to a chain hotel. It will also prove to be much more fun. If you want a true sense of the French experience, then this is the place to do so. The Logis de France resembles an American inn. Dinner can cost as much as the room, but it is definitely worth it, at least once.
Hotel de Notre-Dame: Located near the cathedral of Notre-Dame, the Hotel de Notre-Dame in Paris, is close to major attractions such as the Louvre Museum. On one side, it is close to major sites, and on the other it is off a quiet street, if you want peace and tranquillity.
There are good hotels offering affordable prices in the French cities. In Paris, you can find various options to choose from. There are accommodations of all types, in all price ranges. If it suits you, you can even rent a furnished apartment; it will be helpful if you are travelling in a group, or if you plan to stay long.
If you want to really cut down on lodging costs, then opt for camping. The French soil is home to many camping grounds; some are reasonable, and comfortable, while others are downright luxurious. Some camp-sites are also equipped with a pool, a grocery store, and excellent dining. Camping is an inexpensive option, which you will find surprisingly comfortable and enjoyable.
Chambresd’hôtes are lovely B&Bs in the countryside. Whether you fancy a magnificent suite in a farmhouse or a château, or a humble room in an owner’s home, the country has it all. You can also rent a furnished apartment, where you can cook your own French meals on your exquisite French holiday.