Woof woof! Bow wow! Aboiement (or how to say dog bark or barking in French)
la dame (today's word too easy? Read the story-vocab section!)

Doggy Bag - How to say "doggy bag" in French? + Happy Anniversary!

Peanut Butter and Smokey (c) Kristin Espinasse
#doggybag is the term in Twitter speak (tweet with us here), but how do you say "Can I take it home?" in French?

Pictured: Braise (left) looks embarrassed as her son, Smokey, is about to ask for a sac de chien for his leftover beurre de cacahouètes, or peanut butter. "Smokey, that's not the correct translation and, besides, we don't ask for those in France!" Smokey is more than confused after Papy Jean-Marc encourages him to go ahead and ask for one whenever he's in a French restaurant. Who is right: Mama Braise or Papy Jean-Marc? Leave your answer—or your questions!—about this cultural conundrum in the comments box. For more insights into why Jean-Marc, who is French, feels it is right to ask for a doggy bag, read today's story, via the link below.

Today's Word: doggy bag

    : un petit sac pour emporter les restes
    : a little bag for taking home leftovers 

Le "doggy bag" s’ancre dans la culture française pour éviter le gaspillage. À partir de ce jeudi 1er juillet, les restaurateurs devront obligatoirement proposer à leur client des « contenants réutilisables ou recyclables » pour emporter la fin de leur repas et de leurs boissons. -Ouest France

The "doggy bag" is becoming part of French culture to avoid waste. Starting this Thursday, July 1, restaurants will have to offer their customers "reusable or recyclable containers" to take away the end of their meals and drinks.

Audio File: Listen to Jean-Marc read the following French sentence:  Download MP3 file or Wav file

Le jeune homme a demande un petit sac pour emporter les restes. The young man asked for a doggy bag.


A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse

Joyeux anniversaire de mariage, mon amour! Aujourd'hui ça fait 18 ans depuis qu'on a dit OUI!
Happy anniversary my love! Today makes 18 years since we said YES!

Here is a story for you, Jean-Marc. I think I knew, after the experience written about in this story, that I had found the right man to spend my life with!

Note: Today's anniversary is for our civil ceremony, on July 4th. On September 24th, 1994, we were married in the church (photo below). You can read about that sticky situation—in which my wedding veil became hooked to the outside of the ancient cathedral— in the book Words in a French Life. Is it any wonder a bride was late to her wedding?

Marry me!
One of us looks terrified. The other looks as though she's just won the lottery.  

Last September's harvest. Left to right Alexi, Daniel, Sandy, Elizabeth, and Caroline. My dear friend Sandy (center, wearing overalls) recently moved to the UK and is posting--along with her cat Georgia--a lovely healthletter. Please check it out here, and read Georgia Cat's latest post here.

Still reading? Check out the story "Canon" and learn how to compliment a French woman. You'll also see a great picture of my mom. Click here.

A Message from KristiOngoing support from readers like you keeps me writing and publishing this free language journal each week. If you find joy or value in these stories and would like to keep this site going, donating today will help so much. Thank you for being a part of this community and helping me to maintain this site and its newsletter.

Ways to contribute:
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Or purchase my book for a friend and so help them discover this free weekly journal.
For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety


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The second I read doggy-bag, I thought "do they even have that in France?"
I think it's super OK to ask for it.

Christine Dashper

Happy days to you both! Congratulations, wishing you many, many more

Chris. Xxx

Angela Sargent

I've sometimes wanted to ask for a doggy bag but wasn't sure of the words.I'll try this next time!
Happy Anniversary to you and Jean-Marc.Ihope you will be celebrating later....a little something form les caves perhaps?

Love Angela
Sussex,England where we are patiently waiting for summer to start!

Ron - Pittsburgh, PA, USA

I'd always thought it was frowned upon to ask for a doggy bag in most European countries. Of course, because you don't generally get served the "super-sized" portions so popular in the U.S., and because the food is usually so good, I don't often find it to be an issue anyway!

nancy v

Congratulations! Happy Day!

Geneviève et Claude Radel

Joyeux anniversaire à tous les deux!

Geneviève et Claude, Les Santolines

Audrey Wilson

Happy Anniversary to you both. Here's to many more !


My husband and I lived in France in the late 90's...we were told that one doesn't ask for a doggy bag. Of course, we never needed to as portions were reasonable and food typically wonderful so our plates were typically left "clean". On another note, HAPPY ANNIVERSARY...may you have many more happy years together!

Terri Gebler

First of all, I've always found meals in France to be so good I didn't want to leave any on my plate. Second of all, I would NEVER risk being thought of as just another Ugly American by requesting one. I'm not thoroughly informed of French manners, but would not ask even if I wanted to.

Colette Levent

Comme Americains nous avons parfois une mauvaise reputation. C'est tout ce qu'il nous faut maintenant que de demander "un sac pour les restants...". :-o

Tres Bon Anniversaire!!!


Our daughter studied in Paris during college, so we visited over the winter holidays. On our family's first night the four of us eagerly searched for a fine restaurant in which to begin our French adventure. We decided on a hip/elegant establishment, tres cher, but promising haute cuisine. With our daughter's help we attempted to order and communicate in French with the haute-y waitstaff. I chose the prix-fixe selection and each course was richer and more cheese laden than the preceding one. When the "dessert course" arrived, it was an entire wedge of brie! I could barely move by then, so tasted a tiny bit from the point (terribly gauche!) and did the unthinkable....I asked if there was any way to take the remainder! Our waiter raised himself to his ultimate height and declared in English down his Gallic nose, "We don't give no Doggy-Bags!"
This has become the most memorable of quotes in our family history and always causes a gale of laughter. I had to read your post today to my husband of 30 years (come November). Thank you and congratulations on your 18, a toast to many more!

Bill in St. Paul

Happy anniversary, Kristin and Jean-Marc.

To Angela in Sussex, I'll share our start to summer with you as here in Minnesota we're experiencing 90+ degrees with the heat index breaking 100!! Go ahead and take half of it, I'll go for 50 any day over 100!

Christine Jones

Hi Kristin,

I was told that you never ask for a doggy bag in France for left over food, but you can take your unfinished wine bottle with you! Christine (my husband, son and I visited you three summers ago!)

Karen Whitcome  (Towson, Md)

That's an awful long statement to make when asking for a little doggy bag. Very funny.

Joyeaux Fête de Mariage! You two still look the same!

Cheryl in STL

Happy anniversary to both of you----and many, many more to follow!

Renée Convers

What a wonderful photo! Thank you so much for sharing! "Congratulations" to one & all.....and may you enjoy many more years together.......Best wishes, Always.....

Hilary Lange

J'ai pense que c'est un insult à demander un sac après on mange au restaurant français. Bon anniversaire du mariage. Hilary

Luann Poch

Your wedding picture is so lovely. What a beautiful memory for you both! Congratulations and many many more happy years together!


Happy anniversary Jean-Marc and Kristin! Love the wedding photo, and your caption. You started my day off with a good laugh! May you enjoy many happy times together.


OK, two points. If it's OK to ask to take your wine with you, isn't it the same concept for food - it's just another 'thing' to take home? The reason I do not do this (and when we had our apartment in Paris I wanted to ask many, many times) what held me back was the thought I would be considered the 'Ugly American'. I even thought of starting a business selling very chic, high end 'doggy bags' to restuarants just for that reason but thought the mind set would be too hard to change in France.
Second, I thought Happy Birthday was Bon Anniversaire so wouldn't Happy Anniversary be another choice of words? Or can they be used interchangeably?
Happy 18th dear Kristi and many, many more. And thank you so much for my birthday wishes last week, you are somethin' special!!! xx Robin

Leslie Karst

I always carry plastic bags with me to French restaurants, and when the waiter (and other customers) are not looking, I whisk that wedge of Brie or succulent duck leg into the bag, (and then double-bag it just in case), and quickly hide it away. I've had many meals with huge portions in France, and hate to waste food. But I also don't want to embarrass anyone--me, or les français.


well, what do they do with leftovers from the table? Do they throw it away? Yes, sometimes I ate everything and sometimes I couldn't. So, in my eyes whether I am French or not, it would be a waste to throw it away. Now, if they actually gave it to pigs, that may be a different matter. When I ate a lamb knuckle in France, this beautiful bone with some meat and fat was left. If I had a dog at home, I would feel so bad not sharing the gone. So, the decision hinges on waste.
Congratulations on your anniversary. I know from your blog you have had quite a journey with your sweetie. Have another 18 wonderful years.

Amber Hopwood

Joyeux anniversaire de mariage! You make a beautiful couple, inside and out!


I would never ask to emporter les restes in France. Why do something when you know, as many of us seem to, that there's a very good chance it will be seen as rude and/or ignorant. It would be like making a faux pas on purpose. In France I find it hard enough to avoid making them unintentionally. Joyeux anniversaire de mariage à vous deux!

Susan Carter (Westminster, CA)

Happy Anniversary to both of you - I love that wedding picture of the two of you & you have not changed in the least; still beautiful & handsome. I have never asked to take home food from a restuarant in France as I thought it was considered ill-mannered but there have been very few occasions when there was enough left on my plate to make it worthwhile.

Lee Isbell

Last year my sister and I went to dinner at Chez Kathy in Ste Cecile. I think it was fairly new. I was dying for something light which included melon with jambon cru. The only way it came, it seemed, was with a whole lot of other food. Good food. Non-wasteable food. I talked our server (who may even have been Kathy) rather conspiratorally and explained (in French) that I knew it was not good manners in France, but was there any way we could sneak away our rather ample leftovers. She seemed amused by the whole thing and brought our food to us in nice take-out containers. In retrospect, I think they sell take-out food there as well as eat-in, so it may not have been that odd to her.

Karen from Phoenix

Happy Anniversary!! xoxo

joie/carmel-by-the-sea, ca.

Joyeux anniversaire! I love that photo....to me it says "You can't give me a one way ticket back to the states now!" Your smile is beautiful and neither of you knew what you were getting into....an American wife? a French husband? Oh, the stories that ended up being told!


I have a story about "les restes" which takes place in Ste-Cecile-les-Vignes!

After our delightful visit and wine-tasting with you 2 years ago, my extended family and I had dinner outdoors at a little pizzeria. The pizzas ("personal" size) and salad were delicious but more than some of us could finish. Except in fancier restaurants in the US, I usually say I'd like to save my food, which is pretty routinely accepted-- in fact waiters often ask if you want to save anything-- and most people, at least where I live, don't even bother to call it a doggy bag. But I knew in France it's looked down upon, so I didn't plan to ask.

I mentioned this difference in custom to my 2 cousins, who wanted to save their pizzas, but I didn't press the point. After all, it's reasonable not to want to waste food! And I was curious to see what the reaction was...

I said something like, "Merci, Madame. Tout etait delicieux, mais nous ne pouvons pas le finir. Est-ce qu'on pourrait emporter les restes?"

What a look I got! Our waitress, who had been friendly in a reserved way, was clearly horrified. She didn't say anything and in fact complied with the request, but she was clearly displeased, and every time she came near our table again we got more disgusted looks. It was almost comical. Really, which was worse, my gauche request or wasting food?

My cousins enjoyed their leftovers very much.


Hi dear Kristin,
What a wonderful story and even more wonderful pictures. (Brought smiles to my day!)You are such a beautiful bride (toujours!)and with your handsome Jean Marc,from then to now, HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! MANY more spent in happiness and health!!
Love, Natalia XO

Eleonore Miller

First,a vous deux, bon anniversaire de mariage!!
My French cousins have three restos in Montmartre. They serve large country style portions and when I asked for a "doggy bag" quickly I was told "on ne le demande pas en France!" mais...je suis une femme d'un certain age and I remember WWII and how when France was starving my parents provided care packages to the parents of these same cousins. In light of much of the world still starving and in solidarity with those poor souls it would behoove the French to remember their own past and adapt the American habit of not wasting food! Voila!



PS: I forgot to wish you and Jean-Marc a Bon Anniversaire. Your wedding photo is beautiful, and I can honestly say that you've both changed very little!

With all best wishes for many returns,

Bill Facker

Happy Anniversary Kristin & Jean-Marc! Wishing you Many, Many, Many more ... and I mean THAT :) Fond Aloha, Bill

Lee Isbell

In a shocking reversal, I was with a group this year that went to a pizzeria in Alps-Savoie. We each ordered pizzas, since we'd also heard sharing a meal isn't well looked upon. When we all were full at about 1/3 of our pizzas, the server OFFERED to wrap our leftovers, actually INSISTED that she should. Alas, we were to be out in a van all day and already had dinner plans, so had to decline. Our tour guide said that was a First Ever.


Heureux Anniversaire de mariage, chers Kristin et JM.
Que l'amour qui vous unit soit pour toujours!
Your caption about le beau couple is so funny. LOL

Faye Stampe, Gleneden Beach, OR

Happy Anniversary Kristin & Jean-Marc! Good for you!

When we lived in Germany, we were told not to eat pizza with our hands, don't order only water & and no doggie bags!

We lived there 4 years -- never asked for a doggie bag. But I often ate pizza with my hands (shame) and ordered sparking water a lot (awful).

Sunny on the Oregon coast ------finally!

Love the photos of the puppies, and your lovely wedding photo.

Stay well!

Lynne M. Geyser

Happy Anniversary. Last year when I was in Honfleur, France (for 8 days), a delightful town with wonderful people, I stayed at L'Asinthe hotel (terrific) and ate frequently in L'Absinthe restaurant (excellent)which was just across the cobblestoned street. One night, when contemplating another enormous (and expensive) meal, I thought I had just enough room to manage it, but I had forgotten about the cheese course. When the cheese course came, I knew I could eat the cheese or the dessert, but not both. So, I politely asked (sorry don't remember the words I used) if it was possible to pack up the cheese to take back with me. They put it on a plate, with bread, and a knife and fork, covered it with plastic wrap. When the dessert came, there was also a plate of petit fours besides the regular dessert - so I asked if they could add the petit fours to the cheese plate. Out came another plate, also wrapped with plastic. I was wondering how I was going to manage all this and asked for it to be handed to me, but the answer was no - I would be accompanied to my hotel across the street and someone from the restaurant would carry the plates - which they did, and made sure I was properly settled in. It provided a wonderful breakfast the following morning. Not only was I not treated as an ugly American, but I was treated as a Queen. Je t'aime les Honfleurais!

Cynthia Lewis in Salisbury, Eastern Shore of Maryland

Happy anniversary to you both! What a dear wedding picture. Those eighteen years have passed more quickly than it seems possible, haven't they? My best and sincere wishes for many more happy years together. Cynthia






Happy Anniversary, Kristin and Jean-Marc! Does this mean you celebrate twice, once for the civil ceremony and once for the religious ceremony? Either way, congratulations and enjoy your special


Happy anniversary.

Thank you for your time and for making this blog an enjoyable learning experience.

Claudia, from Canadaa

Gary Rodan

D'abord,,, Bon Anniversaire Kristin et Jean-Narc!Vous aviez gagné plus que la lotérie nationale! et ça c'est de première bourre!
Au sujet de doggy bags - I think Jean-Marc is right only if it is explained that the left-overs are really for the pets. Otherwise if I were the chef, I might think You did not like my cooking! So I think Kristin is right - On ne fait pas ça en France - avec des gourmandises ou un repas célèbre - peut être á Macdonalds.etc. But if driving you may take home les restes de Lunatique , n'est-ce pas?
à propos have You seen "A good Year",a wonderful film on DVD filmed in The Luberon? (I don't know its name in French)

annie shultz

Happy Happy anniversary to you both and thank you for your gorgeous stories - they are really a big part of my life i sooo look forward

Kristi, have you read 'The Hare with the Amber Eyes' - I think it might be the best book i have ever read!!

lots of love Annie Shultz Sydney Australia
and Kristi i do admire Jules so much

Pennie Vandenbroek

Happy Anniversary! What a charming story about your doggy bag date. Sharing the remains of your meal with the homeless man was a great lesson. Sometimes it feels awkward to do the right thing when others don't want to be bothered. I'm sure you made the day of the homeless man! I think this story should be included in your book. It's romantic in a very profound way. Reading your story made my day. Pennie Vandenbroek
Ontario, Canada

Catherine Spencer

What a wonderful photo - so happy that I wish I could have been there! Thank you for sharing it with us!

Marja van Straaten-Seep

Happy Anniversary Kristin and Jean-Marc ... You look gorgeous Kristin and if Jean-Marc was terrified it was maybe of you escaping .. it looks like he has a good strong hold of your hand. :)
Re the doggy-bag, it's not something I like to do, but it depends on the restaurant and who it's for, would do for my 91 year old Mum or my grandchildren no matter where. And if offence is taken, well, it will bring a bit of excitement to their day... lol

gail bingenheimer

Americans portions are way bigger but with the economy everything is much smaller so portions do not remain left over. In Korea you would never ask - they don't even have that word in their vocabulary.


When I was on one of my trips to the Luberon, I was told NEVER ask for a doggy bag. This was not a problem as most of us had the choice of a 90/110/120/150/200/250 Franc dinner...the more you paid, the more courses and more food. One could judge his/her order according to one's appetite. This was good. Then one night while we were at a Pizza parlour in Menerbes, all 6 of us dining ordered an "individual" pizza. These pizzas were about 16" each! They were topped with with guyere cheese and carmelized onions...VERY rich. Not one of us could eat more than 2 slices and we left on the table enough food to feed a family of six. The waitress asked us if we wanted to take it home....but not wanting to commit a faux pas, we all said "no." She rolled her eyes at us like we were being silly BUT never said to us it was OK to take a "doggy bag."

Devra Long

Happy Anniversary Kristin and Jean-Marc!!!!
Cheers to you!

Colette Levent

Speaking of restaurants could anyone recommend some good and reasonable restaurants in Paris? We are renting apartments in the Marais and nearby the Montorgueil district.
Je vous remercie a l'avance.

Bill Richardson

Bonjour, On my first trip to Paris, a friend asked me to bring a cup of coffee back to our hotel room. Wanting to use my high school French, I confidently entered a local coffee shop and ordered "un cafe' pour aller." What I got was puzzled looks. Finally, after attempting the phrase several more times (w/o) success, a patron intervened and said "emporter, monsieur". I will always remember and continue to have a fond memory of this verb!!!!!

Reasonable restaurant on Rue Hautefeuille named La Tournelle (sp?. Casual atmosphere with quite good food. It is near Odeon Metro stop.

Happy anniversary! Now Having a glass of Domaine Rouge Bleu Rose' in your honor! Recently purchased in New York City thanks to Jean-Marc

Eleonore Miller

Regards restaurants. My cousins own LE POTAGER and its sister restaurant LE JARDIN D'ENFACE. They are both very small but economical French country cuisine so you will get real food not one little pear with a squiggly something that passes for a salad in "haute cuisine"! I haven't been there in three years but at the time I'd say you could get by for under $20. for plat principal. They are at 16, rue Trois Freres en route up the hill to Sacre Coeur so in your neighborhood. Don't try to drive! Absolutely no parking! My cousins have to park about a mile away and schlepp their kitchen foods and accoutrements up the hill each day. Tele for reservations is 0494988650. I get absolutely no commission or anything. As I said they, Karine, Didier et Fabien are my cousins and je suis tres fiere! I'm very proud of them! Bon appetit! Eleonore Miller

Colette Levent

Merci bien Eleonore and Bill for the names of restaurants. I will look these up.

Kathleen from Connecticut

Happy Anniversary!

Americans need to learn to eat less and then they will not order so much and will be able to finish their meal in France.

We can now take our unfinished bottles of wine home in Connecticut, but it is corked and bagged and sometimes taped.


Je reviens pour ajouter un autre commentaire. I was in a French restaurant, in Napa, California, last weekend. The meal was of small portion but rich and filling. At the end of the four coursed dinner, we were very full and could not finish the extra bonbons that the waitress had brought out, après le dessert. To our surprise, la demoiselle asked if we would like a doggy bag. She did not have to search for a container, the restaurant seems to have in stock, lovely cardboard boxes for the bonbons.

Gayle Sprague

Love the picture of your wedding...My husband and I were also married on Sept 24, 1994. We've made several trips to France since then; actually I've lost count. We'll be flying back to France again in about two months; September 11. Love all your post too. J'adore le photo de votre mariage ... Mon mari et moi ont également été mariés le 24 septembre 1994. Nous avons fait plusieurs voyages vers la France depuis cette date; effectivement j'ai perdu le compte. Nous allons être de reprendre l'avion pour la France à nouveau dans deux mois environ; 11 Septembre. Aimez tout le monde votre message aussi.

Suzie Stegic

Happy Anniversary! Kristin, you are so beautiful. Then and now, inside and out. We had a nice Bastille Day party here....drank our last bottle of Domaine Rouge Bleu. :(
Suzie Stegic

Ronni Ebbers

Happy Anniversary Kristin & Jean-Marc ... we raise a glass of Domaine Rouge-Bleu rosé in your honor.

Ronni & Dick

Anni Wakerley

How different the doggy bag issue is here in South Africa, where most of the population know only too well what it is like to be hungry! Even in the best restaurants,the waiters will ask "you want a take away?" (i.e.doggy bag)with a big smile. I guess they may also have had 'stone soup' for dinner as kids. When there's no food in the house, Mom puts a pan of water with large stones in it on the fire. The kids sit and watch and wait for the water to boil, for the 'stone soup' to be ready, eventually falling asleep, empty tummies and all. So, doggy bags? Yes, I'm all in favour...

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