|Lunch in Paris, France
|Many options for lunch in Paris, from a quick crêpe on the street to a 3-course sit-down repast with wine, then coffee. Or...what about a cheese dog?
If your appetite is bigger, or you want the pleasure of a multi-course meal, look for the formule, a set-price meal consisting of either an entrée (first course) and plat (main course), or plat and dessert.
Most also offer three-course set-price menus consisting of entrée, plat and dessert. Sometimes the deal will include a boisson (beverage) such as a glass of wine or beer, a soft drink, or after-meal coffee.
You'll see lots and lots of these plats du jour, plats garnis, formules and menus as you stroll around Paris. When you're ready to have lunch, spend some time considering the choices. Be aware that there are some prime restaurant areas in Paris.
Not all set-price meals are equal. One might feature elaborate seafood stew, another a simple tomato soup. Some may include a glass of house wine in the price, others will charge extra for it. Examine the blackboard menu (ardoise) or paper carte carefully to be sure of what's included.
For those times when you want a light meal, head for a café and order an omelet, sandwich, soup, or meal-in-itself salad.
French sandwiches, made on crusty fresh French bread (baguette) are disappointing at first glance, with somewhat meager stuffing, but they're a delight to the tastebuds.
Omelets come plain with just a sprinkling of herbs (omelette fines herbes), or filled with cheese, ham, or other hearty additions.
Or try a salade composée, the term for a lettuce and tomato salad with additions, which might be ham, cheese, hard egg, potatoes, croutons, crumbled tuna or salmon, smoked salmon, shrimps...almost anything.
The most familiar and popular salade composée is perhaps the salade Niçoise, a huge bowl filled with lettuce, boiled potato, hard-boiled egg, capers, tomatoes, olives, and anchovies. With French bread and a (free) pitcher of tap water (ask for une carafe d'eau, "ewn kah-rahf doh"), these dishes make a filling, pleasant, and inexpensive meal.
By the way, Paris has a full complement of fast food eateries such as McDonald's and Pizza Hut. Parisians, too, respond to the universal appeal of uniform quality, quick service, and low prices. (In fact, the French division of McDonald's is the most profitable in the company!)
All cafés and restaurants in Paris have price lists displayed prominently. Service charge and tax are always included in prices quoted to you. They will not be added to your bill; and so with service compris (service charge included), there is no need for you ever to leave a tip.