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lincasanova Jan 8th, 2006 03:29 PM

OK to ask for "un pichet d'eau" in paris?
Seriously, is it frowned upon to ask for a carafe of water (tap water) in France?

I have had different experiences in other countries and want to know if there will be an ATTITUDE if one asks for that.

Have not been to paris for years, and frankly, don't remember the response or if request was fulfilled without a problem.

Nikki Jan 8th, 2006 03:33 PM

No problem at all asking for a carafe d'eau. I have done it many times, no attitude.

cigalechanta Jan 8th, 2006 03:35 PM

YES, YES, it's ok!!

lincasanova Jan 8th, 2006 03:36 PM


ekscrunchy Jan 8th, 2006 04:05 PM

Reading the related thread got me interested in this topic: Would a Parisian ever order the pichet d'eau or would they almost always order bottled water? Just curious.

tedgale Jan 8th, 2006 04:13 PM

Once or twice I got the fish-eye when asking for tapwater. But rarely. Many do drink it and many French folk do ask for it. I was amused on occasion when the waiter (never a waitress) confirmed my choice by asking -- perhaps with arched eyebrow:

"Eau de robinet?" (which sounds worse to me in French than "tapwater" sounds in English.

Or -- better yet:

"Eau municipale?"

Sue4 Jan 8th, 2006 05:25 PM

I always order un carafe d'eau (or is it une?) and never get a negative reaction - in Paris as well as the provinces. In Paris, from what I've noticed, most French people order de l'eau minerale.

Bigal Jan 8th, 2006 05:49 PM

Mais oui, une carafe d'eau. Most bistros, restaurants and even cafés have a row of bottles already filled and resting in a refrigerated enclosure.It is standard and they are prepared for your request.

Travelnut Jan 8th, 2006 05:58 PM

Isn't there a big drive by the Parisian "water board" to promote the city water, including some giveaway item like a pitcher for the fridge with an Eiffel Tower on it? I think that is in response to the tendency for Parisians to order bottled water in restaurants.

StCirq Jan 8th, 2006 06:24 PM

Paris water is one of the most delicious in the world. I ALWAYS ask for a carafe or pichet d'eau and ALWAYS get it without any sass whatsoever.

socialworker Jan 8th, 2006 07:36 PM

Ditto--it took us a couple days to figure this out and it was so great once we did!! And as some others have said, the water was very good. There was a place on Blvd St Germain, Cafe Indiana, where we would go for happy hour at 5:00pm after walking all day and it was really great to have a carafe of water along with the wonderful half price Margaritas. Those Margaritas remain my standard of an all time great Margarita!!

Underhill Jan 8th, 2006 08:01 PM

My French friends tell me that "carafe" is used primarily for wine--for water "pichet" is the more usual word.

cigalechanta Jan 8th, 2006 08:12 PM

no, both as St Cirq said, some are brought to the table in a pichet and others in a carafe.

Woody Jan 8th, 2006 09:19 PM

We usually order some wine and un carafe d'eau, and never received any attitude from the waitstaff.


Huitres Jan 8th, 2006 09:35 PM

You will have no problem drinking tap water while at a restaurant. It is perfectly allowable to ask for "l'eau en carafe" (the correct way to say it -- they don't use "pichet" in that context) in France; however, the general populace orders bottle mineral water. That said, you might get an occasional strange look, but they will still comply. (Interestingly enough, I found it more difficult to get tap water in Italy than in France, as I have never seen tap water on a table in Italy).

Seamus Jan 8th, 2006 09:40 PM

Always request a carafe or pichet; never thought about the distinction, and always got what I wanted, without any sort of attitude from the server.

hanl Jan 8th, 2006 11:10 PM

Most of my French friends in Paris ask for "une carafe d'eau" if they want water with their meal. Few tend to order mineral water unless they want sparkling. My Parisian husband always asks for tap water. So no, it's definitely not frowned upon.

In Brussels, however, it's almost impossible to get a jug of tap water in a restaurant and you usually have to order the bottled stuff (no bad thing actually, as the water in Brussels tastes pretty horrible).

cocofromdijon Jan 9th, 2006 01:06 AM

<My French friends tell me that "carafe" is used primarily for wine--for water "pichet" is the more usual word.> Underhill you're sure it is not the contrary? In your case it could be "une carafe à décanter" used for the wine to settle.
One can order du vin au pichet, but I've never heard of vin à la carafe. For water you can say both une carafe d'eau ou un pichet d'eau.

It doesn't really matter anyway, just say what is the easiest for you! :-)

kappa Jan 9th, 2006 01:29 AM

Maybe nobody said clearly so far if they have no problem asking for l'eau de robinet with or without other paying drinks, except Woody. I'm with Woody. At a restaurant I would ask for it with wine for a meal. At a café, I would with a coffee. I wouldn't ask only for une carafe d'eau, except at certain places where it is commonly done. At some self-service restaurants, you can get your food and either paying drinks or just a tap water on your tray.

Those who answered above, what do you do exactly, except Woody? Do you ask for just une carafe d'eau and no paying drinks?

kappa Jan 9th, 2006 01:32 AM

At a café, I would rather ask for "un verre" d'eau than "une carafe" d'eau.

cocofromdijon Jan 9th, 2006 02:04 AM

When I go to the restaurant with a friend who doesn't drink wine we usually ask for une carafe d'eau. No problem at all.
Sometimes waiters who want to sell bottles will say "do you want de l'eau minérale? plate ou gazeuse?" so you tend to take a bottle but you can also reply "une carafe d'eau suffira merci".

Nikki Jan 9th, 2006 04:20 AM

Kappa, yes, I frequently order une carafe d'eau and no paid drinks. And have never seen even a hint of attitude.

Christina Jan 9th, 2006 12:48 PM

My experience is like what Coco says -- carafe is the more common word for water, not pichet which is for wine. So maybe that is regional or the country or something. Actually, sometimes they just bring you a glass of water and sometimes I ask for that, also (un verre d'eau), if I am alone as I won't be needing the entire bottle. Also, they usually will just give you a glass of water if you are only having dessert or something, not a whole meal, if you ask for it. Some places bring it in empty bottle of some kinds, it seems to me.

I've never had a waiter give me attitude about that, although if you don't stress it, they will usually bring you brand bottled mineral water if you ask for some water. I think a lot of Parisians do drink bottled water in restaurants and that's just custom. I've seen even lots of people order bottled water in modest places.

Michael Jan 12th, 2006 09:43 PM

Just insist on <i>chateau la pompe</i>.

kappa Jan 13th, 2006 12:10 AM

La carafe lyonnaise. Looks like a simple wine bottle of 750cc but with a very thik base maybe 1 inch. As you can see from the name, many restaurants in Lyon serve tap water in this particular carafe.

Louie_LI Jan 13th, 2006 03:17 AM

That's actually a pot lyonnais, and it contains 46cl. The name for this type of pitcher is the origin of the expression &quot;prendre un pot&quot; for &quot;have a drink&quot;.

Intrepid1 Jan 13th, 2006 04:33 AM

Water, which is, by definition, &quot;tasteless, odorless, and colorless&quot; seems to inspire almost as much debate here as clothing.

Therese Jan 13th, 2006 06:00 AM

Pichet also the term used for cidre (hard cider). I've never heard pichet used for water, though of course that might vary locally in certain parts of France.

kappa Jan 13th, 2006 06:20 AM

Louie-Li, I thought you were right. As I said only from my vague memory(carafe lyonnaise), just in case, I have checked with my colleague from Lyon. He confirmed &quot;un pot lyonnais, c'est tout. Il y pas d'autre nom.&quot;

Thank you for your follow-up.

kappa Jan 13th, 2006 06:24 AM

I found the following line about le pot lyonnais. Now I klnow why I thought it contains as a normal full wine bottle.

&quot;Cette bouteille en verre bien solide
qui figure sur tous les comptoirs &agrave; l'&eacute;poque du beaujolais nouveau, contenait un litre jusqu'au fameux d&eacute;cret de 1850 qui diminua sa capacit&eacute; &agrave; 46 centilitres. Pour compenser, les bistrotiers invent&egrave;rent alors un cul plus &eacute;pais, comme un trompe-l'oeil...&quot;

cocofromdijon Jan 13th, 2006 06:25 AM

Yesterday I went to an asian restaurant I like in Dijon with a new chinese friend, we asked for water &quot;juste de l'eau&quot; and I didn't pay attention to what was brought on the table. We took pictures ((P))all together and when I saw them on my computer I noticed it was a pichet, not a carafe! I have a proof it can be both now!

socialworker Jan 13th, 2006 08:22 AM

HI--I don't speak French, but the way I figured out to ask for a pichet d'eau, was by hearing native French speakers use the term at an adjoining table in a cafe in Paris....

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