Cultural Notes!

Chapter 5


In France, waiters and waitresses are considered professionals. In high end restaurants, waiters and waitresses must be knowledegable on food and wine as well as be a good server. Servers take pride in their work, even in small cafes.

Despite what you may have seen in American movies, it is impolite to address a server as Garcon. It is more polite to address them as Monsieur, Madame or Mademoiselle.

In France, it is expected that diners take their time in restaurants and enjoy their food. This leads to Americans believing that the service seems slow.


French speakers tend to use an understatement; la litote. For example, if the food were bad, they may say C'est pas terrible. This is much like how if the food were good they would say C'est pas mauvais.

Tipping in France.

In restaurants and cafes, check if the words 'service compris' are posted or written on the menu. This means that there is a 15% tip included in the bill. If you're not sure, its acceptable to ask 'le service est compris?'. However, it is customary to leave extra if the service is especially good!