The French have a rather unjustified reputation for rudeness in my opinion. OK, Parisian waiters are not the most polite and neither are Parisians for that matter, but take a drive out of Paris into the country and you will meet the real French. The French who appreciate that you try, in only perhaps a small way, to communicate in their language. In a bar in the Loire that I always return to, every drinker that arrives will say ‘bonjour’ to everyone in turn, regardless of whether they are like me , strangers or foreigners and will say ‘au revoir’ when they leave and as for food, well, I will be the first to say that French cooking is not always the gastronomic delight that it is supposed to be but I do like the French way of eating. I like the ‘formule’ menus you see in French restaurants, the starter, main and cheese or dessert for sometimes as little as twelve euros or even less. And don’t forget the ‘plat du jour’, the French dish of the day.
Saumur, one of my favourite French towns is beautiful, not too busy but full of lovely restaurants. One I always frequent has most of its seats and tables on the pavement, what they do in the winter I do not know as the main brick part of the establishment is small!
The starters are small but full of flavour. The mains are wonderful and the cheese and French bread, exquisite! All washed down with a carafe of water and lovely French wine. A good meal does not need to be large but it needs to have a rhythm and those three acts, starter, main and cheese are a wonderful way to enjoy food, though it’s not just the food that is important. The wine, the service, the mood, all that comes into play and when that last mouthful of bread and camembert are gone, its time to call; ‘l’addition s’il vous plaît’.
English pub restaurants; take note!