FOR MANY CENTURIES, the people of France has provided the world their manners and etiquette, politeness, and correctitude; and they have also shown how refined people act and behave. In this convoluted XXI century, still large number of their citizens go through life carrying a flag which is all about humanistic values of a higher order.
Anyone carrying that flag find French manners and etiquette ease to deal with.
On a contrary, anyone not carrying a flag of higher human qualities, values, and principles, this article will not provide what he has been deprived of. In that a case, it is advisable not visiting France; but if he insists, it is suggested to not interact with French people because the differences are likely to be unveiled.
» After proper introduction, you refer to those people you have been introduced to using a title and their last name. Should you not know the marital status of a woman, her title is Mademoiselle. French manners and etiquette mandate that you remain doing so until you are told that you may call them otherwise.
» French people so highly regard taste and quality. Clothing is one way you have to denote your taste. It is NOT a way for you to show off how much money you have.
» Compliments on the appearance of a person you recently met is inappropriate.
» Assuming there is a reason, it is acceptable and well-received that you present those people a tasteful card designed for personal matters displaying personal information. Do not present anyone with a card meant for business purposes. (!)
» Should you meet again with one of the people in the group you have been introduced to, it is appropriate to make eye contact as your handshake is accompanied by "je suis heureux de vous rencontrer" [I am pleased to meet you again] or similar expression.
» When you leave a group, a general wave saying "au revoir" or "a toute a l'heur" is not acceptable. A wave is practiced in North America [U.S.A. and Canada except Quebec] but not seen favorably by French people. Instead, you make eye contact. With both a man and a woman the eye contact is accompanied by a proper salutation. In the case of a man, you offer a handshake; but do not do so with a woman.
» If you arrange to meet with a group, it is somehow acceptable for women to arrive 5 to 10 minutes late. A gentleman visiting France is expected to have a trustworthy word; and he arrives as promised.
» Assuming you are well-received, and a good relationship remains established, French people feel comfortable standing slightly closer to one another than North Americans do.
» Eye contact with another person is expected. However, if you look away from the person you are talking to in a conversation ~or woefully answer a cell phone call~ you showed to behave rudely, discourteously, and to lack respect and consideration for others.
» When visiting France, it is expected of finer people to show kindness and respect by not interrupting others when they are talking. During a conversation, you offer enticing, juicy, and scholarly or well-informed talking if you prefer; but do NOT monopolize a conversation with your endless monologue. (!)
» It is utterly important to not comment or make statements on a French matter unless you are knowledgeable, or an expert. It is also advisable to avoid politics, religion, and personal economy topics.
» French folks find loudness rude, distasteful, and a clear way to show lack of respect for others. Since they are passionate by nature, you may also be passionate as long as you do it when appropriate; but by all means do not be loud when visiting France !
» Questions like 'what do you do for a living?' or 'do they pay well?' or 'where do you live?' or 'do you have a car?' are commonly accepted in many societies, but they are not in France. When visiting France, you just do not pry in a person's privacy.
» French like to look at people. It is one of the reasons for sidewalk cafes. So, get used to being looked at your shoes, your hair style, or what you are wearing. However, what is not acceptable is to keep a long eye-contact, or to smile at you. None of that is good French manners and etiquette.
» People in the land of Renoir has well-defined sense of privacy. If you are invited to visit their home, they will NOT take you for a tour. You will be taken to what they consider an appropriate area for you to be at.
» Should you be invited to dine with them, at your discretion you may bring a gift such as flowers or chocolates. It is advisable, however, to not bring wine. Let the host match the wine to the food they are serving.
» It is reasonable to arrive ten ~or so~ minutes before or after the agreed upon time, but by all means do not show up half an hour before or after you are expected.
» You show disrespect and lack of good manners if you start eating before the host, the person that cooked the meal, or the person that served the meal is sitting at the table. Just wait until you are told to start eating, or when the others do.
» Meals usually consist of five or six bites. Your message is 'i didn't like it' if you leave on the dish a good portion of the food you were served. French manners and etiquette accept you to leave some of the food, however.
» French people have perfected the use of knives and forks. By all means, do not use your fingers to eat a chicken leg, to bite the meat off a pork chop, or anything involving your fingers with food. The French are polished enough as to eat fruit with knives and forks.
something else to consider
» In the land of Voltaire, people are quite capable to perceive those who have no natural affection, expose an absence of finesse, and are practicers of 'it is all about me.' See in a mirror if you have what is expected of you. If you do, using French manners and etiquette when visiting France will make you feel at home.
most people in the world do not see that french manners and etiquette
actually is the image of an Almighty. an image each of us were embedded
with at birth to make us competent and well-equipped to do what is right,
to act properly, to be truthful; and to genuinely show kindness, respect,
and brotherly love to everyone including animals.
for centuries, french people gracefully managed to keep the
innate-given image more intact than most people of the world.
About Author Mr. George Josserme
This author wrote several other articles intended to make a more refined visitor's trips to France more enjoyable and productive. The article below is just one of them.