Monday, April 26, 2010

Learn French with Alain - Lesson 2 - Ordering at a café

Bonjour,

How to order beverages in a café is an essential skill to possess when traveling to France, but it’s not because you’re thirsty all the time. It’s because that’s the only way to find a bathroom.

In my 2nd video, I suggest that the most common ways a waiter** will ask for your order are: ‘Vous désirez’ and ‘Qu’est-ce que vous allez prendre?’ Another one is ‘Qu’est-ce que je vous sers?’ (Loosely translated, what can I bring you?).

Most of the time however, the waiter won’t even ask the question since he knows why you are sitting there. He’ll simply say ‘Messieurs-dames’, which translates into ‘Yes, you can use the bathroom but you have to order something first’.

A word about beer. I’m not a beer drinker myself but when I lived in France, I tended bar for a short while. I must have been 8 or 9 at the time and the one thing that I never forgot was that some people like their beer on tap while others prefer it in a bottle.

The way most French people ask for a beer on tap is ‘Un demi s’il vous plait’ (ahn duhmee seel voo play), but if you’d like to have a bottle, you usually just give the brand, like ‘une Heineken s’il vous plait’.

Of course, there are many more beverages than the ones listed in the video. Here is a list of drinks with their price (in euro) from a café in the south of France. This should give you a pretty good idea of how much your trip will really cost you. Here is a simple formula:

• Planned cost of trip (Expensive)
• Real cost of trip (Expensive x 2)
• Café-going experience (add 50% to Real cost)
• Total cost of trip per person (First born + one arm and one kidney)

Boisson chaudes
• Expresso 1€
• Café décaféiné 1,20€
• Cappucino 1,50€
• café crème (petit) 1,20€
• café crème (grand) 2,20€
• chocolat (petit) 1,50€
• chocolat (grand) 2€
• thé lait ou citron 1,80€
• infusions (verveine, tilleul, tilleul menthe) 1,80€

Boissons sans alcool
• Diabolo (limonade + sirop) 1,80€
• Limonade 1,60€
• Coca Cola 2,30€
• Orangina 2,30€
• Schweppes 2,30€
• Perrier 2,30€
• Jus de fruit 2,30€
Abricot - Tomate - Orange - Ananas - Raisin - Pamplemousse

Bières
• PRESSION
 Kronembourg le bock 1,00€
 Kronembourg le demi (25cl) 1,90€
 GRIMBERGEN le bock 1,50€
 GRIMBERGEN le demi (25cl) 2,50€
 BOUTEILLES
 Kronembourg AKROBAT (33cl) 2,10€
 Kronembourg 1664 (25cl) 2,40€
 Brune WILFORT (33cl) 2,60 €
 Heineken (25cl) 2,40 €

Vins blancs
• Vin blanc sec 0,90€ 8cl
• Vin rouge côte du rhone 1,00€ 8cl
• Sauvignon 1,20€ 8cl
• Alsace 2,00€ 8cl
• Chablis 2,15€ 8cl
• Sauvignon 2,20€
• Alsace 4,00€

Vins rouges/roses
• Côte du rhone 1,90 €
• Haut Médoc 3,00€
• Rosé Lamblin 0,90

Apéritifs & Digestifs
• Ricard 1,80€
• Pastis 1,80€
• Casanis 1,80€

Apéritifs & Digestifs
• Jameson 2,30€
• Imperial single cask 1993 4,20€
• Jack Daniels 2,30€
• Martini rouge 2,30€
• Porto 2,30€
• Kir 1,50€
• Champagne la coupe 4,00€
• Cognac 2,60€
• Armagnac 2,70€
• Calvados 1,80€
• Rhum 1,60€
• Vodka 1,80€
• Gin 1,60€

Petite Faim
• Sandwich 2,50€
• Hot Dog 2,50€
• Croque Monsieur 2,50€
• Offre 1 Sandwich + 1 demi kro + 1 café 5,00 €

As you can see from above, you can also get food in cafés. We’ll cover that in another video.

‘Till then, a bientot,

** There is a word for waitress in French but I’m not sure why since I’ve never seen one.

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