Provence Travel Tips

Restaurants

Service is always included but tips are welcome because waiters usually make the minimum wage. 10% is fair but only with decent or good service.

You can ask to share a dessert but not an appetizer or an entree

Water from the tap is perfectly drinkable everywhere

Service hours are generally between 12pm/1:30pm and 7:30pm/ 9:30pm

Wine is cheaper than soft drinks so enjoy !

We French do not dip bread in olive oil. Bread is meant to be eaten along with the food. You can also use a piece of bread to clean up your plate by sucking up the good sauce !

Choice of wine: in casual restaurants they often have "vin au pichet" which is the house wine. It is usually decent or even good and off a local production. Wines bottles are organised by territories and you will have no clue what to order. I then suggest you indicate the wine colour you want and trust the staff or the chef. Rosé wine is big in Provence and if we like it so much why wouldn't you ?

How to summon a waiter politely ? Raise your hand and reach out for an eye contact. Be patient if the restaurant is packed and never yell or snap your fingers!

Provence Travel Tips

Greetings & social kissing

It is expected from us to say Bonjour (Good day) or Bonsoir (Good evening) all the time (shops, restaurants, waiting room, etc.). Then we say "au revoir" (orevouar - goodbye) when leaving. I would also say Bonjour if I cross with someone in the street, especially if the street is empty.

When introduced to someone (a social way) we often kiss each other on the cheek. Men with men also do but only after knowing the person. It is usually 2 or 3 kisses. The right way is by kissing the air cheek against cheek.

Provence Travel Tips

Patisseries (pastries) and Boulangeries (bakeries)

In bakeries you mainly find bread (many kind & shapes) and viennoiseries like croissants, chocolate breads and raisin breads. Bread is very central in our food culture and there is always bread on the table. The quality might vary a lot and I recommend you buy your bread in a proper bakery, not in a Fromenterie or Point Chaud where it is industrially-processed.

French pastries are also delicious and vary between regions. However there are classics like fruit pies, puff pastry with custard (petits choux, religieuses, éclairs), macaroons, for only mentioning those, that you will commonly find.

Provence Travel Tips

Money

The currency is the euro and no other currencies are accepted. You will find change mainly in airports and post offices. There are ATMs everywhere so you don't have to carry lots of cash with you.

Credit & debit cards are accepted everywhere with sometimes a minimum amount of 15 euros. Amex can rarely be used because they retain a bigger commission from the shop keeper.

There will be many occasions to spend your money but shops always close for lunch break, usually between 12:30 pm until 2:30/3:00 pm. They close at 7:00 pm.

Provence Travel Tips

Where to find?

Stamps: post office & tobacco shop (tabac/presse)

Laundry cleaning: there are laundromats (lavomatic) even in medium-sized towns. For more delicate fabrics the dry-cleaning shop is called "pressing"

Medication: there are pharmacies everywhere and you will easily find your medication but most of the time under a different name. The quality is to be trusted as France is one the world's largest pharmaceutical suppliers.

Touristic information: the government-run "offices de tourisme" (Tourist bureau) are even present in small towns and will give you any piece of info you need. It is a free service.