Jul 292009

(asked by Claire from the US)

If you’re going out in France with friends or on a date, how do you customarily pay? Does each person pay separately? Does someone pay now and someone the next time? Or is the person who invites that pays?

First, let’s distinguish date from out with friends.

On a date, back in the days, things were simple: the man paid. There were two main reasons for that: rules of gallantry/sexism (depending your take on those) and the fact that men were employed while women rarely.
Nowadays, with women being liberated, having jobs, being full citizen, equal and whatnot, the answer will be the same as in my “dating in France” entry: there are no rules.
Sometimes, the woman will expect the man to pay because this is what a man should do, blah blah, blah.
Sometimes she will want to pay because she’s a free woman and having the man paying is a form of submission to him, blah blah blah…
Sometimes they will be normal people and they’ll share, or one of them will offer to pay and the other one will accept, or they’ll alternate if they go on several dates, etc, etc.
Remember: no rules.

When one goes out with friends in France though, there are no more rules, but there are trends.
Most of the time, people will pay their share, or split the bill evenly if everybody took more or less similar things.
But it can happen that one person will pay the whole bill on certain occasions. Which ones? It depends, no rules, remember.

It also depends on the number of people in the party. If it’s two persons, and they’re used to have dinner together, they’ll usually split 50/50 or one will pay the whole thing and the other one will pay next time.

If it’s a big party, people will usually pay their share or they’ll split the bill evenly. In those situations it’s very rare that one person pays everything.

I guess that’s pretty much sums it up.

More Questions Answered:

  2 Responses to “Who Pays?”

  1. I would have never thought to ask this question, but I am so glad someone did!

    When I was in Japan, I purposely ordered very little, being a teenager in a foreign country on a budget. Apparently the custom there (or with that group at the very least) was to split the bill evenly, leaving me with a portion 3x what I personally spent.

    I guess now would be a good time to thank you for this blog. When I first found it I wanted desperately to ask a question, but have found pretty much everything I was curious about answered. I suppose I will be contented with just commenting.

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