I will disappoint you : there is no typical dinner in France ! It is a messy concept : Light or heavy with a lot of fat, one course or 3 courses, breakfast for dinner… It really depends on the family and on the day of the week (and on the mood of course !).
Typical dinner at home
At home, the high majority of French families have dinner between 7 pm (19h00) and 8 pm (20h00). On weekdays, it’s usually a light meal, like a soup or a quiche or a mixed salad for example. French people tend to watch their weight and, as common knowledge advises to eat as little as possible at dinner time (to avoid storing fat), we try to follow this rule. However, on weekends, if we stay home for dinner, everything that has been said earlier is forgotten! We can eat very heavy dinners : Raclette (melted cheese over potatoes and ham, with a side of salad, not to feel too guilty), Fondue (melted cheese -again- with bread) or Pizza. It’s like a cheat meal, but all weekend !
Dinning outside in France
Typical dinner in France can be long and usually starts with a drink of alcohol. At the restaurant, there are two rounds for dinners : the first one starts at 7 pm (19h00) and the second one starts at 9 pm (21h00). As a matter of fact, we do eat late in France when we go out. The meal usually starts with the appetizer, and then three courses : first dish, main dish and dessert. The prices are higher in the evening than at lunch time and there is no today’s special.
I love going out to eat in the evening ! In the summer, after dinner at the restaurant, I like flâner down the streets until the sun goes down… How lovely !
What about snack time ?
Snack time is called le goûter in French and it is quite an important moment of the day, not only for the children, but also for me ! 🙂 As indicated earlier, most French families have dinner between 7 pm and 8 pm. Needless to say that it is quite a long time between lunch and dinner ! Usually, at snack time, we eat fruits, yogurts or biscuits. We always have it at 4 pm : That is why le goûter is also called le quatre-heures (literally translated as “the 4 pm”). On weekends, we can also cook a delicious chocolate cake that we will eat at snack time.
As you could guess thanks to the three articles you can find in my blog about the three main meals of the day in France, eating is very important in France and is a sharing moment with friends and families. Whether it is at home, at work, at school or at the restaurant, meals are rarely fast. Consequently, if you are invited to eat with a French family, please seat down, eat, enjoy and take your time ! That is all we are asking for 🙂
More than a need, eating is a real pleasure for French people. What about you ? What is the place of the meals in your country ? Is it as important as in France and do you spend that much time seating at the table ? I would be curious to know more in the comments !