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.