Solo dining in Paris--with a book?

Sep 6th, 2005, 05:10 PM
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Solo dining in Paris--with a book?

Please forgive me if this is a naive question, but would it be considered rude or odd to bring a book or journal along for lunch or dinner in a Parisian restaurant? For me, the worst part of dining alone is finding something to do while waiting for your food, the check, etc. I do the book thing here in the States, but wondered if anyone has seen or done this themselves in Paris (or elsewhere in Europe).
g33kgrl is offline  
Sep 6th, 2005, 05:27 PM
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Sure, I always carry something to read when I'm eating out alone. Sometimes I read it, sometimes I don't. I take a local entertainment guide, magazine, or paperback novel. I've done this in Paris, Geneva, Amsterdam, Venice. Not that that proves anything special, but in answer to your question yes i've done this myself. I eat in more casual places, since they are more comfortable to be solo IMO. Point being, I wouldn't pull out reading material in a fancy place, but then again I wouldn't be eating in a fancy place. Make sense?
suze is offline  
Sep 6th, 2005, 05:41 PM
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Why not just look around and people watch? That's so much more interesting. Or eavesdrop on people's conversations.

There was so much I learned by watching during my dinner on Saturday in a fancy restaurant.

Very entertaining.
111op is offline  
Sep 6th, 2005, 05:44 PM
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watching is good.

so is journal writing, I think. Reading a book, to me, feels a little bit too lonely, that's just my opinion. Writing in a journal looks and feels more purposeful and busy to me. I once had a waiter ask me if I was a restaurant critic.
elaine is offline  
Sep 6th, 2005, 06:13 PM
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Wow, you may have struck gold. If we write seriously in our journals, we may have a good chance to better food, great service. You think?
Simone1 is offline  
Sep 6th, 2005, 06:13 PM
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I love reading while I am eating alone. Have done so in a number of countries with no problems. My method is to carry my book and tell whowever is seating me, "Table for one, please, with enough light to read." I hold up the book for him/her to see. Sometimes that is not pracical -- all of the tables with one tiny candle, but they are usually able to accomodate me.

I also find the book aids in discouraging those well-meaning kind souls who cannot bear seeing someone eating alone and send the waiter to invite that poor lonely person to join them. I find it embarassing to refuse, but I really prefer it -- read my novel or writein the journal before the food comes and between courses, then give my undivided attention to next culinary delight that is placed before me.
nukesafe is offline  
Sep 6th, 2005, 06:53 PM
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I agree, the worst part about dining alone is waiting. I bring my travel journal and/or postcards to keep me occupied. People-watching is also fun but I like the "safety net" of writing. I feel like these are not as isolating as reading a book.
cls2paris is offline  
Sep 6th, 2005, 07:06 PM
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Whew! Thanks, everyone! I feel much better. This is my first solo trip, so this was one of my main concerns (sad, huh?). I do enjoy people watching, but I think doing that WHILE I'm eating will be enough. Besides, I have to have something to do with my hands. And I think you've all hit on a great solution--I never found enough time to write down my trip experiences before, so this would be a perfect time to do so. I just wanted to be sure I wouldn't be offending the locals (I'm sure my bad French will accomplish that on its own).
g33kgrl is offline  
Sep 6th, 2005, 07:25 PM
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I really understand your concerns. I hate dining alone. Before my first solo trip to Paris I polled a few people and they suggested taking a book. It certainly does help the time to pass by while waiting for your meal. Also I declined the book a couple of times and just enjoyed a glass of wine in solitude. The restaurant was pretty empty still as it was early. And peoplewatching is good especially if you're eating on a terrace.
francophile03 is offline  
Sep 6th, 2005, 07:36 PM
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I am regularly "on my own" in Paris or other cities in France and face the "eating alone" problem. I alwyas have a travel journal with me and I write in it at every opportunity, including at restaurants. No, it's not considered rude - Parisians have for years been known for writing in journals at cafés and restaruants. You're very chic, actually
StCirq is online now  
Sep 6th, 2005, 08:08 PM
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Hello g33kgrl, St.Cirq just posted what I was going to say. There is something interesting about a solo diner writing in a journal. Mysterious! And while I have never been to France I can assure you I have seen many people do this in Italy. And San Francisco etc. Be relaxed and enjoy. More and more people are chosing to travel by themselves. No it is not sad. Being on your own can be quite an will find out! Best wishes to you.
LoveItaly is offline  

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