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Attire in Paris Restaurants

I am still laughing from another post from John Talbot that men dress as if they were going snowboarding, but that surprised me.

How would most of the men be dressed for lunch at Le Cinq or L'Astrance (our two choices) during the week? How many would be in suits?

Thanks for any input here, too.

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  1. I'd prefer to dress like I'm snowboarding than have to dress like I am going for a job interview. That is to say in a suit.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Busk

      John is correct, as always. Our family prefers slacks, a collared shirt, tie perhaps but not necessary if you top said nice shirt with a good jacket. That said, you could probably get by with really good denims with, again, good shirt and super jacket. Your choice. It all really boils down to what makes you comfortable when you walk into the room. Oh, forgot shoes. Please leave snowboarding (aka galoopy athletic ) shoes back at your hotel.

    2. A few will be in suits, but these will probably be businessmen entertaining clients. Generally dress standards in Paris are quite high, especially compared to many other cities. I always wear a jacket, and collared shirt with trousers, not jeans and shoes not sneakers.

      I "fit in" and feel comfortable because the dress matches the environment. My partner likes to put on her glad rags when we eat out thus if I didn't dress to match I would be in trouble and to be frank it isn't difficult.

      My normal dress is shorts, t-shirt and deck shoes, I wear a suit to interviews and business meetings, but that doesn't stop me dressing up to go to nice places.

      2 Replies
      1. re: PhilD

        Thanks for this info. We tend to save all of our nicest clothes for travel since our daily life is so casual in the US.

        Sounds like suit with no tie will be best to match my dresses and heels.

        1. re: PhilD

          Just an aside, we often recall with some amusement a situation in Florence some time ago. We were awaiting a table with our marginally teenage son at a famous restaurant that didn't take reservations. The Maitre d' seated people as tables became available. Suddenly he bypassed several groups and pulled us forward. Our son looked confused and asked, "What happened back there?" My husband answered, "Do you remember back at the hotel when I asked you to wear your jacket?" :)

        2. John's view is distorted by the fact that he eats in hipster places. Jacket is mandatory at le Cinq, they provide one if needed. There's no dress code at l'Astrance but I'd like to know when's the last time a snowboarder in attire ate there.

          2 Replies
          1. re: souphie

            OK, I plead guilty to a bit of hyperbole; I wear a suit and tie when dining in the US, even eating slop on the airplane and at Palace hotel type places and even at what Soup slurs as hipster places, I wear a jacket or suit and nice shirt. But I am amazed by what some male personnages think is proper attire - never females, however, they always look great. And I never dye my hair to match a langoustine or spinach leaf.

            I believe dressing neatly and nicely - like making a reservation - is a mark of respect for the chef and staff.

            1. re: John Talbott

              For diners, esp for men, perhaps it's not so much about how to dress, but how not to dress.
              I think diners should dress defensively, meaning they should not dress like jerks.
              Dressing like jerks is not an abstract concept; it is concrete indeed.
              Example: the diner who went into tiny Spring carrying a mineral water bottle and putting it on her table. In addition to all the other awards he deserves, Daniel Rose deserves the grand prix of graciousness for not wincing.
              I tried o I tried to look away, but how big is the restaurant? One just couldn't avoid the unsightly thing.
              So please no mineral water bottle please. There is no drought in France. No need to carry it everywhere. Please.

          2. The expectations are higher in Paris than in most parts of the US. Unless it's a really casual bistro of the Pain Quotidien ilk, a "smart casual" approach would be recommended as the minimum. Of course, in New York, anything goes these days, even Broadway plays and Lincoln Center, which used to bring out the fanciest of threads, is now home to the most slovenly-clad folks.

            1. Believe it or not, I have seen diners in track suits at L'Ambroisie in Paris as well as at Marc Veyrat's now-defunct restaurant in Annecy. Not common (thank goodness), just one instance at each place. Maybe they were famous snowboarders or something...

              6 Replies
              1. re: fanoffrance

                Rich and famous people can dress however they want. Standards of dress, and standards for most resto behavior, only apply to plebeians. This s widely understood by French restauranteurs.

                1. re: Busk

                  This is sadly true. Also true of wanabees of the rich and famous. One can only hope and plead for a table far removed from either the real or faux category.

                  1. re: Busk

                    OK, well to confirm Busk's point; at the Cesar's just before they all took off for dinner, I counted - 1 Black bow tie (Gad Elmaleh, but he doesn't count as host and Moroccan); 2 four-in-hands (mature gents, probably producers), 3 open shirts (the stars) and 6 elegantly dressed ladies.

                  2. re: fanoffrance

                    Was it Shaun White? He could afford it.

                    1. re: PhilD

                      Nope, not him. Nobody I recognized.

                    2. re: fanoffrance

                      If you ever see a snowboarder in a suit, its because he's the defendant. And of course the difference between a `16 inch pizza and a snowboarder is, the pizza can feed a family of 4.

                    3. When we had lunch at Le Cinq, I quite enjoyed watching how they handled the gentlemen without jackets. One person was getting a jacket while the other person was greeting the gentleman. One oriental gentleman, in a bright yellow puffer jacket, was a little confused but he accepted the jacket and put it on while clinging to his backpack with the other hand. Of course a stool was immediately brought for his backpack.

                      Two other gentlemen were less gracious. One was wearing a short sleeve shirt (also bright yellow), bitched about the jacket, put it on long enough to walk through the door, and immediately took it off. They didn't stay very long.

                      11 Replies
                      1. re: kfoster21

                        A suit or a sports coat for Taillevent ?

                        1. re: Juan Berbatov

                          Last I was there, I saw some Silicon Valley types in trainers and jeans.

                          1. re: Juan Berbatov

                            <A suit or a sports coat for Taillevent ?> Definitely.

                            I don't understand why so many men bitch, snarl and moan rather than put on a nice pair of slacks and a blazer. Is that so hard? Women really do like to get dressed up and go out now and then, and it's really tired to have your partner clad in jeans and a glorified t shirt.

                            In Paris, it is never "wrong" for a man to be dressed in a shirt, tie and jacket when going out to dinner (or a nice lunch).

                            1. re: ChefJune

                              "....I don't understand why so many men bitch, snarl and moan rather than put on a nice pair of slacks and a blazer.....

                              In Paris, it is never "wrong" for a man to be dressed in a shirt, tie and jacket when going out..."

                              It would be interesting to know how many of the reported Parisian waitstaff "snubs" one reads about are, in fact, a reaction to customers' inappropriate dress.

                              I often look at tourists and wonder, "Why on earth when they were packing for this trip did they chose that totally shlubby shirt or ....? More to the point, why did they pick it off the rack in the store in the first place?

                              1. re: mangeur

                                Check out the audience attire at the Metropolitan Opera in NY these days. Standards are just not what they used to be...

                                1. re: menton1

                                  And I thot I was old-boy, old-school.
                                  Today at the much-diminished, much-staffier, much-pricier Chez Catherine, almost every male had on a Charvet tie.

                                  1. re: menton1

                                    It's always been "casual" in the Gallery, but the economy being what it is right now, I'm guessing the Met would rather have the seats filled.....

                                    Still, I haven't noticed slovenly attire there. Perhaps "more relaxed." tho I don't go to the Met to check out how folks are dressed.

                                  2. re: mangeur

                                    "....I don't understand why so many men bitch, snarl and moan rather than put on a nice pair of slacks and a blazer.....

                                    Hmmm, I had sort of assumed that a sports coat, nice shirt and tie are MINIMUM standards but had wondered if I had to go as far as a suit.

                                    Not easy being a shlubby tourist :-)

                                  3. re: ChefJune

                                    "I don't understand why so many men bitch, snarl and moan rather than put on a nice pair of slacks and a blazer. Is that so hard?"

                                    Ouais, ChefJune !
                                    Dunno, maybe in some countries, sloppiness is a human right but healthcare isn't.

                                2. re: kfoster21

                                  Sometimes attire doesn't matter at all. I had lunch at a 2 star a couple of years back. The two fellows at the next table were in jeans and t-shirts, and honestly hadn't shaven in a day or two. However it didn't seem to bother the restaurant staff. They received excellent service and attention. Although I suspect that might not have been the case had it been someone other than Jean Reno and Luc Besson.

                                  There were in fact about 4 or 5 waiters constantly hovering near them, competing to fill water glasses when they got to 1/2 full, etc. Whereas we received the worst service I've ever had in a nice restaurant. We actually received our aperatifs AFTER the entrees and plats were served. It was so bad that it was comical.

                                  But I've never been back to the Astor since (they not surprisingly lost their Michelin stars).

                                  1. re: poncho

                                    Jean Reno and Luc Besson?
                                    Count yourself lucky that the star-struck waiters did not pour your apéro on your head.
                                    To be fair, their (JR and LB, not the waiters) stubble is very difficult to entertain. Has to remain a stubble constantly, without ever progressing into a beard, and of course never shaven cleanly.