Three Rules of French Restaurants

French laws protect patrons

We've all heard—over and over again—how snobby French restaurants can be. So what's a traveler to do?Know the rules.

  • It's against French law to refuse a table to a solo diner or a family with young children.
  • Minimums are also illegal. If all you want is an appetizer, the restaurant has to serve it.
  • A restaurant can charge for carafes of tap water only if there is a notice to this effect on the menu (the same goes for glasses of water in cafés). And restaurants may not refuse to serve a free carafe of water and make you buy a bottle of mineral water instead.
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