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Appropriate Dress in Paris

Thanks to advice from this board and a few friends, we are booked to dine at Caius, Saturne, Spring and Les Papilles in two weeks. I would be grateful if anyone who has been to these restaurants could comment on appropriate dress. My husband would prefer not to wear a jacket and tie although he would rather not be the only male diner without. Are slacks suitable for women? Thanks, and will post on our return.

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  1. Truthfully, a jacket for a man is seldom out of place at the kind of restaurant you list. Not a tie, not a suit, not even a collared shirt, but a recognizable jacket will take him anywhere. At the minimum, think of what Steve Jobs would have worn out to dinner: decent jeans, a mock turtleneck and a jacket.

    Women can get by in slacks just about everywhere.

    1. Always have a jacket with you; not fancy, but a nice simple jacket (lightweight) with a shirt.

      Or have a "nicer" shirt with a nice sweater.

      1. Agreed with the others. Jacket's the ticket.

        1. While l fought the jacket idea for a long time. l now always carry a sports coat with me, feel much more comfortable; a tie, nah

          1. Truthfully I never wear jackets to dinner... (except when I went to Gagnaire)... But I do dress daily with collar shirts, nice jeans or pants, and always, always nice leather shoes (never snickers).
            So I guess if your style is more of a laidback jeans, tshirt, you could add the jacket in to class it up a notch.

            14 Replies
            1. re: Rio Yeti

              Rio - I am intrigued by the thought of your chocolate bar shoes. - useful for a snack?

              1. re: PhilD

                Useful for a candy from the Boulangerie !

                1. re: Rio Yeti

                  In Paris, always a jacket in better restaurants.

                  And no Hawaiian shirts underneath.

                  1. re: SWISSAIRE

                    Not just Paris - this goes for anywhere on the planet!

                      1. re: Peg

                        One of the magical things about Paris is that people dress up, it is such an homage to a fabulous city. No shorts, no t-shirts with logos, no sneakers. I don't know why people don't think it's fun to dress up. Even my New Yorker boyfriend loves to put on his finery when we are there and his usual outfit consists of something with a tank top!

                      2. re: SWISSAIRE

                        Isn't it "no Hawaiian shirts ever" ? (except maybe ... in Hawaii.... maybe...)

                        1. re: Rio Yeti

                          Actually, we just saw a lot of them in Brasil.

                          Formal wear apparently in the Nordeste-Tropical regions, with a good pair of slacks. Makes sense there, but not out to a better restaurant in Paris.

                          1. re: SWISSAIRE

                            I have several nice Hawaiian shirts that I wear to dinner… when in Hawaii! (yes, sometimes in Florida too and once in awhile, when I want to irritate hipsters, in Brooklyn). I left them home when we lived in Florence last summer, even though it was very hot there in August. I will leave them home again when we're in Paris and Provence next month. I don't remember ever going to a nice restaurant in Italy or France without wearing a sport jacket, even if I have a Polo shirt (off brand of course) under it and not a "regular" collared shirt. It's how I feel comfortable in the environment. To each his own I guess.

                            1. re: Steve R

                              "It's how I feel comfortable in the environment. "
                              And there is such a thing as a beautiful Hawaiian shirt. Some Paris hipsters - the real rad - may agree with you.

                              1. re: Parigi

                                "beautiful Hawaiian shirt."
                                My best one - beautiful Hawaiian shirt - was purchased at the PX in the hospital I was Evac'd to from the Nam, I would go out every morning past the guards/MP's to eat (getting back on topic) the finest sushi/noodles/tempura/tonkatsu/etc possible in 1967 and I'll bet the locals had never seen such splendor in a shirt.
                                But wear it here, as hip as I'm claimed to be - no way.

                  2. re: Rio Yeti

                    Circumstances have meant that I've eaten at starred restaurants in trainers, and have always felt perfectly at ease (which for me is a sign of impeccable service).
                    Dress codes here are more relaxed than in England and the US, for better, and for once - I'm always surprised by the casual approach to weddings and especially funerals.

                    1. re: vielleanglaise

                      Sorry to be macabre, but the last time my husband wore a suit to a funeral, he said that he felt like the corpse.

                  3. We are in Paris now and this week have gone to Chez L'Ami jean, Le Verre Voles, brunches and dinners and 2 "hip seen and be seen" restaurants with relatives (not as great), plus Reed and will head to Les Papilles tomorrow night. We are 49 and 48 and I like to look good. So I tend to stick to the fashionable but cool side - gorgeous japanese silk kimono style pants in black and white silk, great jewelry and a silk black cowl neck seater top plus a sheer long grey scarf and nice shoes. Husband wears grey or black Levis, nice shoes, a hipster dress shirt and his nice older hipster black leather jacket. We range in the middle to upper end of dress for Paris this time. I have seen business suits to jeans, to casually elegant dresses to kind of slutty tourist clothes. Its all good. Smile, use some french, truly appreciate the food. The people we have encountered have been amazing, professional, kind, wry and fantastic all around. Food is phenomenal. Everyone is nice. And honestly I am dressing for myself. I have seen some dinner jackets, but they have not been the norm so far. They dress us far more at lunch, that's work hour and almost all men wear suits while they ride bicycles.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: marthak

                      "honestly I am dressing for myself."
                      That's the secret. Bravo.

                      1. re: Parigi

                        I would add : vaut mieux briller par son élégance que par sa négligence!

                        1. re: madamebatignolles

                          Is that your way of saying better to overdress than underdress? My husband brought his dinner jacket on the trip. Although he never had the inclination to wear it, he had the opportunity but he chose not to wear the jacket as it was not required. Knowing this, we still would have brought the jacket. It does not take up a lot of room in the suitcase. And if I were a different woman, I might have wanted to see him in that jacket. I just like his black sweater better. So sometimes, we dress for our date.

                          1. re: marthak

                            A black sweather is not underdress and since traveling is for fun(mostly) follow your feelings!

                            1. re: marthak

                              Can i clarify. Where i come fom a dinner jacket is a tuxedo. Did you really see people wearing dinner jackets in Paris, wherethey going to a function?

                              1. re: PhilD

                                My mistake sir, so very sorry...I should have said sport jacket.

                      2. This has been most helpful for our upcoming Paris trip. Thank you!

                        1. If your husband prefers not to wear a jacket and tie, then don't. He certainly won't be the only male diner without. A nice sweater or shirt and neat jeans will be fine. We've seen anywhere from suits to jeans at starred restaurants. My husband always brings a jacket because he prefers to wear one and is more comfortable dressed up than down. As someone else mentioned, dress for yourself and wear what you personally feel comfortable in.

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: PattyC

                            Yes, exactly.

                            My wife and I went to Jules Verne two years ago and dressed up (she looked amazing, I make expensive jackets looks cheap!!). We were surprised at the casual dress of the couple sitting next to us -- not inappropriate, just...casual. But the waitstaff did not mind at all, and everyone was comfortable and had a great time.

                            I appreciate this thread as we are going to Guy Savoy on Thursday and the jacket I brought has somehow developed a rip on a sleeve. Unwearable. so I'm going with the nicest things I have, but feared they wouldn't be nice enough for such a restaurant,

                            1. re: TMFOtter

                              "I make expensive jackets looks cheap!"

                              Noooo ! You're supposed to do the other way around !
                              Maybe you were eclipsed by your wife…

                              1. re: Parigi

                                Hehehe. Yes, my wife outshines me, but I also seem to have bulges in all the wrong places...

                              2. re: TMFOtter

                                TMFOtter - the Guy Savoy website seems quite explicit: "To ensure perfect harmony with the elegant, aesthetic atmosphere of our restaurant, men are asked to wear a dinner jacket"

                                It seems like it may be time to go out and get anew jacket - thankfully Paris has lots of options! Jules Verne and Guy Savoy are leagues apart so not wise to assume the dress will be similar.

                                1. re: PhilD

                                  at Guy Savoys you should wear a jacket "just because you could doesn't mean you should" (not wear a jacket i mean)

                                  1. re: kevin25

                                    Well, we ended up canceling the reservation, so no harm.

                            2. My friend reported yesterday from Belgium that it is still wintery cold! That's wild, it's nearly 90 here in Arkansas.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: chezKiva

                                Sorry, didn't mean dinner jacket. He brought a jacket which we used to call a sports coat. And it is cold in Europe right now. When we left Amsterdam this morning it was really very cold. He wore his black cashmere sweater or black leather jacket over work/dress shirts probably every single dinner out in Paris and Amsterdam. For those of you from California, Amsterdam is darn cold, bring gloves, warm scarves and gloves.

                              2. Far more important than wbat you wear is how you come across. Last nite a table of 4 Americans dominated a room of 30 seats. They were not so loud as piercing, with one woma
                                dominating the conversation. Some one persom in every party should always be the designated volume controller.


                                12 Replies
                                1. re: mangeur

                                  This is sad; ..perchance the French need better screeners at their borders!

                                  We had a similar experience buying pastries on our last day there. An affluent, and unusually irate woman from New York's upper East side was ready to duke it out with the owner and his wife and it seemed the cue was rapidly extending down the block of this upscale shop on the Right Bank. At first, we interpreted this as an indicator of the value / demand for their precious goods. But it turned out the server simply needed to know if the foursome wanted their carry-out sandwiches Hot, or Cold? Knowing their dialect first hand, I assisted in quelling their argument and instructed the party to drop their change in the tip-jar, and deliver a very much needed & polite MERCI! Was this high comedy, or just another day at the ranch?

                                  1. re: chezKiva

                                    It starts at home. we americans don't do a very good job of training our young ones in proper etiquette. And proper etiquette for another country even worse. chezKiva did a good thing and we need more of that.

                                    1. re: kevin25

                                      Embarrassing and sad. It is true - a lot of Americans are not taught appropriate manners. Lulu once ordered a pizza and said please, and the waitress brought her peas on the side. When we asked what the peas were for, she said "well, she said pizza, peas." The poor waitress had never heard a child say the word please before.

                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                        I have said it before: May I borrow Lulu ?

                                        1. re: Parigi

                                          It is true. Many Americans in Paris can be loud. It is more than annoying. French in Manhattan can be loud, condescending and put out because they can't smoke in restaurants. Have seen it first hand many times

                                          On the other hand, a lot of American blood was shed for the French in two world wars and there would not be a 'French' Paris today without the shedding of that American blood.

                                          1. re: Versilia

                                            FWIW, there is no smoking in Paris restaurants, either. You haven't seen that for a number of years.

                                            1. re: ChefJune

                                              "FWIW, there is no smoking in Paris restaurants, either."
                                              Although, as a life-long non-smoker and outdoors exercizer, it's kind of weird that we've chased the smokers (33% here still) out on the sidewalks where the clouds of pollutants and sea of butts confront runners and walkers alike. And of course there's the dog poop and turnstile jumpers but I wouldn't live anywhere else.

                                            2. re: Versilia

                                              Rudeness and loudness are obnoxious traits. Whatever heroism that another generation did for the world has nothing to do with you and gives you no entitlement.
                                              P.S Smoking has been banned in restaurants in France for years. The French whom you imagine you saw being annoyed at not being able smoke must be French from Mars.

                                              1. re: Versilia

                                                "and there would not be a 'French' Paris today without the shedding of that American blood"

                                                Wow, some people still use this kind of sentences ? I think it was Doug Stanhope who had a good one about this... look it up.

                                                1. re: Rio Yeti

                                                  I have to say that I did not encounter a single rude person in any of the trips to European destinations in the last two years. The level of service offered in Paris at the department stores and restaurants was AMAZING.

                                                  I live in a year round tourist destination. My advice to those who live in tourist destinations and those who don't is the same: be patient and compassionate.

                                                2. re: Versilia

                                                  Agree the lack of gratitude is deplorable. Maybe try Iraq or Afghanistan where American intervention may be fresher in the locals' minds ?

                                                  1. re: shakti2

                                                    While we are on the subject of gratitude, I am sure Versilla is just about to report back on all the recommendations that he/she had sought.