Doggie Bags in France: The Debate Continues


When I first lived in Paris, waaaaay back in 1970, a Stanford chum of my father who lived in the toney île st. Louis area of the 5th arrondissement, took me out to dinner at a very nice area restaurant.  I was going to the Sorbonne, living in the Latin Quarter, and didn’t have much money.  I ate couscous and gros sandwiches tunisiens at North African restaurants:  lots of food for not much money.  So this night was very special.

We ate a three-star meal, washing it down with lovely bordeaux.  When we finished, I politely asked the waiter for a doggie bag.  “Garçon, est-ce que vous pouvez me donner un petit sac pour le chien”.  He stiffened and frowned, saying “ça ne se fait pas ici, monsieur” (“that isn’t done here”).  And so I had to leave the leftovers at the restaurant, probably so one of the employees could take it home to his or her dog.  A pity, because it was wintertime and you could just put the leftovers on the balcony and they would keep just fine for the next day.

The thinking was that you were supposed to enjoy a nice meal out in situ, not try to repeat it at home.   French vs. American thinking at work.

And so I read with interest this article the other day.  The debate goes on, 40+ years later.  Mon dieu.

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