And “Bon Appétit”!

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Even if the world was collapsing around them, French people would first clean their plate and finish their drink.

Food matters in France.

I’m always surprised by the number of restaurants and bars in Nantes—and mostly by the number of people who eat out. C’est la crise (“times are tough”) but food remains a priority in France. Sure, people are looking for good deals—there’s always a long queue in front of a restaurant famous for offering all-you-can-eat fries—but quality is important too.

“Not buying those, they contain palm oil,” I heard a fifty-something customer mumbling as he was putting a pack of cookies on the shelf at the supermarket.

Food manufacturers must provide extensive information, including product’s country of origin and full nutritional information. Local products are highly valued and organic food is easy to find. Hell, even McDonald’s looks fancier here!

French don’t just eat, they want to eat well and eat good stuff.

I enjoy seeing people eating elaborate dinner on a small table set on the sidewalk, totally oblivious to the traffic and other customers sitting centimetres apart. There are restaurant tables in the narrowest streets, sometimes so close to fountains that you could just reach over and fill your glass if the water was drinkable.

People eat alone, with their kids, with friends or occasionally with perfect strangers where space is a premium.

So who the hell is using Uber Eats and other food ordering and delivery platforms? I first noticed bike couriers last year and they are everywhere this year. I see them waiting around in popular restaurant districts, glued to their phone. I see them standing around in fast food joins, fancy restaurants and anything in between, trying to fit pizza boxes flat inside their insulated bag, speeding away as soon as the order is secure.

I don’t get it. I mean, there are hundreds of restaurants around… why would you want to have food delivered? Isn’t it more work to clean up afterwards? Doesn’t the food arrive cold and messed up? I mean, crêpes or ramen isn’t exactly take-out food…

I’d take the small wobbly table on the sidewalk, merci.

Cours des 50 otages, Nantes

Rue de la Juiverie, Nantes

Rue des Petites Écuries, Nantes

Allée du Port Maillard, Nantes

Place du Bouffay, Nantes

Rue Beauregard, Nantes

Rue de la Paix, Nantes

Rue de la Fosse, Nantes

Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Nantes

Place Graslin, Nantes

Place Graslin, Nantes

Cours des 50 otages, Nantes

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About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

8 Comments

  1. hey! you know what, we also have similar service here in my country ( Jakarta and some mojor cities).
    It is an app on your phone and I tell you what, most (if not all) restaurant/food stall owner generated higher revenue when they made partnership with this app. people too lazy to walk or to go out.
    it is called “Go Food”, similar to Uber eats, initially it is for transportation purpose by 2W vehicles. It is allowed in my country to rent private motorcycle for commuting, but not in Malaysia.
    then the company expand the business, and Go Food is one of them.

    • Yes, they are popular in Canada too… but I still find it strange for places where you already have many restaurants around. I mean, I’d rather go eat somewhere than have food delivered. I’d use a delivery service is food wasn’t available nearby, but when it is, why bother with delivery?

      • in our case (our = people in my country) too lazy to queue, it’s toooo damn hot outside, to lazy to drive and find a parking lot…etc etc…
        I used that service too when it 33 degrees out side (and I know it is strange for you, you already mentioned in my post) and I’m craving for Ice Cold Coffee :))

        • I remember that in Beijing, McDonald’s used to (or still does?) have a delivery service. That was so weird to me, I mean, it’s easier to just queue and get your damn food!

  2. Martin Penwald on

    Let’s say it works for a pizza, but I’m not sure that even hamburger and fries would be that edible after ten minutes.

    • I think I started seeing this trend in Nantes last year. I’m surprised to see it lasted! I thought it was just the “new cool thing”.

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