Eating in France is a completely different experience than eating in North America and these pics show you a little bit of how that is true. I shot these while I was in Nice, France because I thought this was a great way to show you what I mean. Eating in France is an event. French people take their time over dinner, spending hours talking and enjoying the moment. A waiter doesn’t come over every 10 minutes asking you if you need anything, they let you sit and talk and won’t bring you your check until you ask for it…even if the restaurant is closed.
The people at this table in the pictures still had a bottle of wine on the table and they didn’t look as if they had any plans to get up, even though the waiters were cleaning up and putting the other tables inside. I’m not sure how long they stayed at the table because I was walking home and didn’t want to stand around and wait but I did see the waiters patiently waiting inside for the table to finish.
Being able to sit and finish your bottle of wine without being rushed to get up because the restaurant is closed is pretty typical in France, but I have never seen waiters putting up all the table and chairs around customers. You can’t see from these pictures but there were tables in front of the restaurant as far out as the plant that the waiters are moving.
So if you find yourself in France, you don’t have to worry about being the last one in a restaurant because you can sit and eat without any pressure to hurry up. If you were sitting at the table above, would you feel pressure to get up? Or do you think you would be able to sit and finish your wine without thinking about the staff inside?