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In France, restaurateurs have the obligation to provide free water and bread to their customers. Indeed, article 4 of a decree of June 8, 1967 explains that “the cutlery must include, in addition to bread, ordinary water, spices or ingredients, all products or articles, such as crockery, glassware, napkin, etc. usually made available to the customer during meals”. But that’s not all, since 2022 also, serving free water to a passing person is also mandatory.

This seems to be commonplace in France, however this is not the case in all countries. From Italy to Germany, not all the rules are the same.

Here are the destinations in which water and bread could cost you dearly.

If initially water jugs were free in Italy, over time the trend tends to disappear little by little. Bread and cutlery are also invoiced under the mention of “pane et coperta”. A tradition that dates back to the Middle Ages. At the time, it was possible to eat in inns with your own food. Only the cutlery was chargeable. A way of doing things that continues to this day.

For Spain, it is mandatory for restaurants to serve tap water and to always offer glasses of water even if carafes are generally rare. Bread is paid for. The only way not to pay them is to order the “menu del dia” for lunch where usually water and bread are included.

In Germany, it is frowned upon to order water in carafes. The restaurants offer, as in Spain, water directly in the bottle which will therefore be invoiced. Bread is also not free since it is considered a separate item on the menu. Indeed, the Germans do not use accompanying food like the French. The bread will therefore be charged if you wish to have it.

The bill may be high if you go to Croatia since bread and cutlery are almost always charged. So be very careful since you could be surprised during the addition.

Be careful, if you go to Portugal. Generally at the beginning of the meal, tapas are offered to customers. The problem ? These are chargeable. But you are free to refuse them.


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