When it comes to dining out in France, there is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to dress codes. Depending on the type of restaurant you visit, you may need to dress up more than usual or stick with something more casual. However, it's always best to err on the side of caution and dress up slightly more than you would for an informal restaurant elsewhere. For most restaurants and bars, the dress code is informal. This isn't because Parisians are against showing their skin; it's just not typical of these environments.
The restaurants range from very informal places to formal places with Michelin stars. In 95% of places, you'll be fine with jeans that aren't too torn, a clean t-shirt, and clean sneakers. In the most luxurious restaurants (such as those with prices of 60 euros per person or more), it is advisable to wear a shirt with a collar and perhaps darker or khaki jeans. Shorts should be avoided for dinner, except in a heat wave. Ecclesiastical concerts, at the Moulin Rouge, no idea. Less well known to most people who don't speak French is the table d'hôte, a restaurant (often attached to a hotel or inn, but not always) that offers restricted dining options, usually in the form of one or more fixed-price menus (menu au prix fixe).
They're generally less expensive (for lunch or dinner) than a traditional bistro or restaurant with table service, but newer, more modern addresses can put a dent in your budget if you're not careful. As there are far fewer French people with allergies, restaurants are less frequently presented with the opportunity to serve those diners. And while it went out of style for a while over the past two decades in favor of more intimate and informal places, such as modern bistros, wine bars and breweries, the French café-brasserie is probably the format that best withstands the changing and modern winds of the world of food and restaurants. Generally speaking, the French don't want to be told to “finish” when they're digesting a fabulous meal and enjoying their digestive after dessert. It's a little sad, but in restaurants (not just in Paris, but all over the world) books are often judged by their covers and, from time to time, they may give you a little better service if you dress better. However, informal in Paris is one or two levels above informal in many other parts of the world, for example in the United States, where wearing sweatpants to an informal restaurant is not ruled out. The waiters at most Parisian restaurants (coffee shops and brasseries are sometimes different) don't work for tips, but that doesn't mean they're bad waiters.
The term “restaurant gastronomique” (gastronomic restaurant) is the preferred term when referring to high-end restaurants in France, with or without Michelin stars. According to tradition, the restaurant then adopted the term “it” to indicate to customers that they could expect fast service there, and the name later became popular as a restaurant category. In Paris, many offer traditional French cuisine with a focus on seasonal ingredients and “market menus”, or creative or fusion-inspired menus that add Asian or Middle Eastern elements to typical dishes. Also known as a bar-brasserie or café-restaurant, this typical semi-formal French restaurant is found by the hundreds in Paris, and even the smallest cities and towns tend to have a few. In Paris, up-and-coming dinner clubs and restaurants organized by well-known or emerging chefs are sometimes referred to as guest tables. Most restaurants in Paris are what Parisians would consider “casual”: a jacket with 26% tie is rarely required. When it comes to dress codes for French restaurants, it's important to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all answer.
Depending on where you go and what type of restaurant it is, you may need to dress up more than usual or stick with something more casual. However, it's always best to err on the side of caution and dress up slightly more than you would for an informal restaurant elsewhere. Whether you're looking for an intimate bistro experience or an upscale gastronomic experience at one of France's Michelin star restaurants, understanding what type of attire is appropriate can help ensure that your dining experience goes off without a hitch. So before you head out for your next meal in France, make sure you know what type of dress code is expected so that you can enjoy your meal without any worries.