Culture(s) / cafés, restaurants

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In your country, do you order your drink or your meal at your table or at the counter? Do you speak informally to the waiter? Can you drink alcoholic beverages in a café?
As a woman, can you go to a café? With a man? By yourself?


To behave appropriately in a foreign country, it is necessary to know the cultural and social habits and practices of the locals.

For example, in cafés in France and Belgium, it is possible to have a drink (beer or a glass of wine), have a coffee or something to eat (a croissant, a sandwich, a salad ...). It is also common to have a drink or a coffee without ordering food. The customer can order and be served at the table or at the counter.

It is appropriate for women to go to cafés by themselves or accompanied. Cafés and restaurants are good places to meet up with friends or have a romantic date.

In restaurants and large brasseries, the context is formal, customers are served at the table and pay the check to the waiter. You go there mostly to have a meal.

In many European countries, there are popular taverns (pubs, bistros, brasseries...) where the context is informal since everyone knows each other, customers and waiters use the "tu” form with each other. In Mediterranean countries, customers can directly pay at the counter, and they can pick out their meal in the kitchen.

In many French-speaking countries, it is common to leave a tip to the waiter to thank them for their service, whether you are at a café or a restaurant. For example, in France, one leaves 1 or 2 euros on the table, whereas in Canada, one leaves 25% of the price of the meal.

Practical exercises

Présentateur assis avec un journal et un café

Culture(s): Cafes, restaurants

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4 exercises
Watch • Culture(s) (Vie quotidienne / Sorties)