Price Cuts at Paris Restaurants


I’m always looking for ways to save a few euros and help justify traveling despite the difficult economic times, so I was glad to hear that Paris restaurants are getting less expensive.

On July 1, 2009, the VAT (Value Added Tax) in French restaurants was reduced from 19.6% to 5.5% to try to help out the suffering restaurant industry. Some (but not all) Paris restaurants are passing along the savings to their customers by lowering prices—but some restaurateurs have reported that they’ll be using the extra proceeds for renovations or to hire more staff instead.

At restaurants that are lowering prices, menus will state old prices and new so you’ll be able to see the difference, but note that not all menu items at a particular restaurant will have the savings—some restaurants will lower the price of set menus but not a la carte dishes, it seems, and the price of wine, for example, will not be affected.

There have been positive and negative reactions from restaurant owners and restaurant goers as the reduction went into effect earlier this summer. Some owners wonder if this is going to have much effect on whether Parisians dine out, and whether it might increase tourism.

There’s also some debate over whether the the well-known, expensive restaurants will cut prices, or whether it will just be neighborhood spots. Has anyone noticed which way the trend is going?

What do you think, would saving a few euros at each meal make you more inclined make to plan a trip to France? And if you were already there, would it inspire you to try some of the restaurants you’ve heard about but thought were too pricey?

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