Friday, May 31, 2013

Just thinking out loud......

I saw on my Facebook page today a status my daughter updated.
There, over a picture of a bottle of wine and a bar of Belgium chocolate on a train , it said,
"Heading to Paris with the necessary supplies."

Really? Did you actually just say that? Are you just rubbing it in?

Some of the differences between life in the States and that of Europe, are glaring.
One of the nice things about Europe is, you can hop on a train and in a matter of a couple hours be in another country, speaking another language, experiencing a whole different culture, eating totally different food.  And speaking of trains, the EU knows how to do trains. They are convenient, comfortable, clean and reliable. The U.S. could really benefit by taking a page out of their public transportation book.

Do you know what is cool about France?
The plethora of restaurants that have outside seating. Eating outside just enhances the experience, don't you agree? Sitting at a table in the fresh air, watching the world go by as you sip an expresso or a glass of wine, well, it doesn't get much better than that.
Speaking of eating......

On our trip to France, one evening we decided to just walk into town and poke around, searching for a decent place to grab something to eat. In the photo below, on the right side of the frame you can see a table and chairs. That is where we sat, FOR NEARLY FOUR HOURS, and no one seemed to care.

  This is where one of the differences comes into play. When you eat out in France, as well as other EU country's, you are not required to tip the waitstaff. The reason is, unlike in the States, waiting on tables is considered an honorable profession and the waiters/waitresses are paid a decent wage. They don't live off the tips of the customers. Because of that, they don't try to rush you out the door so they can fill your table with customers who tip. On the flip side, there is much less "sucking up" going on by the waiter. Because waiters/waitress in France get paid the same if they wait on 2 people or 15 people a night, they are in no rush to give you the bums rush, which makes for a very pleasant dining experience.

You will never get a check unless you ask for it. If you just sit there expecting them to bring you the check, like they often do in the States, you better bring your pajamas because you're going to be sleeping over. They don't keep coming over to your table, asking if you want anything else, which is actually code for, "are you done yet? I need to get you out so I can get more customers in."

Many will confuse their relaxed approach with thinking they are being ignored. Actually what they are saying is, come on in and stay as long as you like, we won't be bugging you tonight.
It works out quite well.

And one other thing, "round-abouts." We in the U.S. need more round-abouts.


Formerly known as Frau said...

I love that also about Europe. One of the first thing we needed to learn in German was check please or actually you say we would like to pay. In the beginning we did not know the tip rule and were very generous. We quickly learned in Germany you round your bill up or leave what you want. It felt weird to leave so little. Have a great weekend!

Denise at Autumn Sky said...

I love that about France, just sitting and not feeling like you need to leave or go anywhere else. I enjoyed sitting outside because I cannot stand eating inside where there is smoking. And the wine!! Oh my gosh, just sitting and drinking wine with lunch seems so self indulgent to us, yet it's quite normal to the French. So glad you had a great trip and I'm enjoying your posts.

Barbara/myth maker said...

I never knew that about not tipping. Does that apply throughout the EU do you know? I remember tipping a bartender in Finland, but that's the only place I've been. Have no idea if I did the right thing or not.

Wayne (Woody), whatever said...

I'm fascinated by the approach to dining, I'm used to being rushed.

Karen said...

We have them in our little towns, and I can't tell you many people don't know how to USE them.

I didn't know you don't tip in Europe. I did know lunch out can take three hours. Leisure time, it is.

Jerral Miles said...

The picture with tulips... Wow!

beth said...

first...OMG, we have lots of round abouts here in madison and the surrounding area.

i love them. most people here though hate them.

we love to eat outside, all the time. around here when the weather is warm, if we can't eat outside at a restaurant, we won't stay.

once again....loving hearing and seeing everything about your trip.

Marilyn said...

So agree with it all here! From round abouts to no tipping and sitting for four hours at a sidewalk cafe. How wonderful!