During the summer I spent in Paris I would visit my neighborhood’s boulangerie and a pâtisserie on an almost daily basis. I’d go during the morning to get my breakfast, or pétit dejeune, or during my lunch break I’d buy lunch (dejeune).
I would almost always greet the person behind the counter with “good morning” before I ordered. I noticed that the few times I didn’t, because I was in a hurry or chatting with a friend, I wouldn’t receive the service I expected. On one occasion I was passed on (skipped, ignored if you will) until I realized something that was imperative to having a successful interaction between the person behind the counter and me (and other customers). It was starting with Bonjour ! Je voudrais… Hello! I would like…
(I later confirmed this to be customary in France while researching online.)
This lesson will teach you to never make the rude mistake I made and how to properly order food in a French boulangerie/pâtisserie.
Attencion ! Remember that a boulangerie is a bakery that focuses mainly on baking bread and offers a larger variety of food like ready-made sandwiches, quiches and other breakfast items, whereas a pâtisserie is a bakery that specializes in pastries, although there might be some bakeries that cross-over between the two.
Bonjour madame/monsieur ! / Hello (Good morning) ma’am/sir!
Bonjour ! / Hello (Good morning)!
Je voudrais un sandwich jambon-fromage, rien de tomate, une tasse de chocolat chaud et du jus d’orange, s’il vous plaît.
I would like a ham and cheese sandwich, no tomato, a cup of hot chocolate and orange juice, please.
D’accord ! Ce sera €12. Merci ! / Very well! That will be €12. Thank you!
*€ = euros
Merci beaucoup ! / Thank you very much!