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Ordering Wine with Dinner in Paris

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anita2020 May 25, 2010 04:32 PM

I am making a return trip to Paris in July and thought I would post this question to other Chowhounds with experience dining in France. My husband and I were in Beaune in 2001 and wasn't quite ready to order our bottle of wine for dinner when the rest of the dinner order was placed. The waitress stomped off in complete disgust and never came back! Another person took over waiting on us.

Is it considered rude in France to take some time to ponder the wine list? Do the waiters make one sweep to your table and that is it?? This was a more casual upscale bistro, not a fine dining experience, but I was still surprised and do not want to make the same mistake on this trip.

Before you ask...oui, je parle un p'tit francais and try to remember all the politeness required. Bonjour, Bonne Nui, au revoir, s'il vous plait, etc.

Also, I saw on some of the recent posts that you can order water that has been filtered by the restaurant for 2euros or so. Instead of carafe d'eau, what would this be called?? Le restaurant specialite d'eau Filtre??? (Just joking).

We will be there during Bastille Day and the end of the Tour de France (going to Annecy in between) so if there are any "must see/do/eat" during those timeframes, please include that, too.

Merci beaucoup!

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  1. mangeur RE: anita2020 May 25, 2010 05:08 PM

    No, no, no, no, no. You weren't wrong, your server was. You can take as much time as you wish to consider any aspect of the menu, to discuss it with your server, to ask for more time to make up your mind. Just ask for 'a moment' and he/she should return on a timely basis to either take your order or discuss it further with you.

    You should feel comfortable asking any questions you have about any dish on the menu and certainly in requesting information on the wines that might be appropriate for your meal. In fact, very often the more you engage the server, the better the service and in fact the meal.

    4 Replies
    1. re: mangeur
      a
      anita2020 RE: mangeur May 25, 2010 05:19 PM

      Merci Mangeur! I feel so much better about that. It's bothered me for amost 10 years. And you are correct -- I probably asked in English if we could have more time (instead of saying it in French) and she probably thought I was ordering a bottle of wine that wasn't on the menu. I will make certain and say "je suis desole, plus de temps si vous plait".

      The good news is that is the only time we had an issue with ordering through our 3 weeks in Paris and Bourgogne. Most of the wait staff were patient and wonderful and some wanted to speak English back when I spoke my broken French. We can't wait to get back. Less than 7 weeks and counting.

      1. re: anita2020
        t
        Theobroma RE: anita2020 May 26, 2010 09:59 AM

        You should also consider that one of the reason might have been that your waitress didn't speak english very well and she might have been even more embarrassed than you were.
        Lastly, tipping not being so strongly part of the culture, not having the same waiter all along during the dinner isn't an issue and it happens all the time.
        Nevertheless, it was not great service, I agree.

      2. re: mangeur
        John Talbott RE: mangeur May 25, 2010 09:01 PM

        Mangeur as usual (except for taking decades off my/our age) is correct.
        That's ridiculous; never happened to me - altho' I have had a long wait when we've said we wish a little more time to ponder the wonderful choices.

        But as for "Also, I saw on some of the recent posts that you can order water that has been filtered by the restaurant for 2euros or so. Instead of carafe d'eau, what would this be called??"
        I've never been charged nuttin' for the "new" filtered water, nada.
        When they ask what sort of water, I always say eau du robinet or a carafe or wittily Chateau Delanoë/Tiberi (forgot him didn't we?)/Chirac.
        We're all Green now. Even Danny.

        1. re: John Talbott
          Parigi RE: John Talbott May 26, 2010 10:29 AM

          "When they ask what sort of water, I always say eau du robinet or a carafe or wittily Chateau Delanoë/Tiberi"

          Another nickname for tap water is Château la pompe. Chortle chortle.

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