Students at Georgia Tech-Lorraine generally have a few choices for lunch: make your own (but pasta gets a bit old after the first 15 times), go to CROUS (the student cafeteria for French schools which is actually amazing), or stop by Paul (or Boîte de Pizza, a new addition this semester).
I am of the personal opinion that Georgia Tech-Lorraine students represent a large chunk of our local Paul’s revenue. A mix between a boulangerie, patisserie, sandwich stop, and resto (the French abbreviation for restaurant), Paul is right on the path for many students – particularly those who live in the Lafayette dorms.
So, if you’re on your way to class, stop by for a croissant or “le Parisian,” but to avoid appearing as tactless tourists, it’s nicer to try to speak the native language. And so, I’m going to give you a quick rundown on how to order at Paul without offending anyone. Copy any of these into Google Translate to get a feel for pronunciation.
You may hear the employee say «En suite,” which means “Next.”
«Bonjour» or «Bonsoir»: Depending on what time of day it is. “Bonjour” is more for mornings and early afternoons, but “Bon soir” is for late afternoon and on. They will say it first, and to be cordial, you say it back.
« Je prends…»/« Je voudrais…»/ « J’aimerais…» = “I’ll take…”/ “I would like…”/ “I would love…”
All are acceptable to begin your order, but many (especially in fast food) skip this formality as well.
Then [insert food item here].
Check out their delicious menu here to get a heads up on what you can add to end that sentence.
If all else fails, and you don’t know what something is in French, you can ask « Comment on dit en anglais?» or “How do you say this in English?”
« Et aussi… » = “And also…”
If you want multiple items.
« Ça c’est tout?» = “Is that all?”
Asked by the server. Easiest reply, if you are finished? “Oui.”
« Comment on paye?» = “How are you paying?”
Asked by the server. Generally cash or card – but it’s best if your card has a chip in it!
« Par la carte» or « Par la carte bleue» = “By credit card”
« Avec l’argent » = “With cash”
The server says «Merci» and «Bon journée» or «Au revoir».
You repeat for politeness.
Other good words to know are basic numbers (as I would be impressed if you wanted to order 96 pains au chocolat). Check out this article for basic food words like chicken, allergy, and vegetarian to make your life easier.