At The Bar

In France, a country filled with wine-lovers, it is almost impossible to find a street without a bar. Whether it’s after-work drinks or a midday pint, you will no doubt find yourself in one of these bars at some point during your time in France. As a result, we’ve prepared a handy little toolkit to help you get by whilst at the bar!

What should I order? This will likely be the first question that crosses your mind and really, French bars will offer the same variety of drinks that you are used to back home. Blonde beers, which refers to the colour of the beer, are the most common in France. Popular brands include ‘Leffe’ and ‘Kronenbourg’ and these can be ordered as “une pinte” (“pint”) or “un demi” (“half-pint”).

If wine is your drink of choice, the French have plenty to offer but in this hot, summery weather, a rosé would be an excellent choice, drunk cold. You can also ask for a “verre de blanc/rouge”, which is a glass of white or red wine.
In terms of cocktails, most bars will serve the usual suspects, such as mojitos, cosmopolitans and martinis. However, if you’re wanting something traditionally French, be sure to try out the Kir Royale, a mix of Champagne and creme de cassis.

In the summer, there’s no better place to sit than on an outdoor terrace table .However, it’s important to get the etiquette right when en terrace. Generally, it is more polite to wait for the waiter to find you a table as they may have a specific area for eating and drinking. Moreover, speaking from personal experience, the staff HATE it when you move the tables and chairs round to accommodate your group. Once seated, it is polite to keep your elbows in and knees bent due to the packed-nature of these terraces and try to keep your voices down as much as possible – no one likes having a noisy neighbour whilst they are enjoying a quiet drink.

When you’ve got your drinks and you have found a tabe, there are several ways to toast or “trinquer” your drink as a form of celebration. Most commonly, the French will say “santé” (meaning “[to good] health”) or they may adopt the anglicism phrase of “tchin tchin” (which is similar to “chin chin”).

Most bars in France have the traditional Happy Hour period, which often lasts far longer than just the one hour! Most Happy Hours occur in the after work period, ranging anytime from 4pm-9pm, and during this time the price of drinks is significantly cheaper than normal.

We do hope that this has helped and that you can now go and enjoy your experience at your local watering hole. Go with friends, sit and chat for hours on end watching the world go by – that is what the French do!

Click HERE for more handy language toolkits to help you with life in France.

at the bar