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Mastering French Etiquette: Essential Tips for the Savvy Tourist

Hello everyone and welcome to my blog!

France is a beautiful country with a rich culture and history, but it also has some etiquette rules that you should know before you go there. Here are 15 do and don’t that will help you avoid any faux pas and enjoy your stay in France.

Hello everyone and welcome to my blog!  France is a beautiful country with a rich culture and history, but it also has some etiquette rules that you should know before you go there. Here are 15 do and don’t that will help you avoid any faux pas and enjoy your stay in France.

1.Do say bonjour!

This is the most important word in French and you should use it every time you enter or leave a shop, a restaurant or any other public place. It shows respect and friendliness and it will make a good impression on the French people.

2.Do be polite.

The French value politeness and courtesy very much, so make sure you use the appropriate expressions like s’il vous plaît (please), merci (thank you), pardon (sorry) and excusez-moi (excuse me). Also, don’t forget to say au revoir (goodbye) when you leave.

3.Don’t hug.

The French are not very fond of physical contact with strangers, so don’t hug them unless they initiate it. Instead, greet them with la bise (a kiss on each cheek) or a handshake, depending on the situation and the level of familiarity.

4.Don’t be on time.

This may sound strange, but being too punctual in France can be seen as rude or impatient. If you are invited to someone’s home for dinner or a party, it is customary to arrive 10 to 15 minutes late.

This gives your host some extra time to prepare everything and shows that you are relaxed and casual.

5.Do bring a gift.

If you are invited to someone’s home, it is polite to bring a small gift as a token of appreciation. You can bring a bottle of wine, a cheese dish, some chocolates or any other similar gifts. If you are coming from abroad, you can also bring something typical from your country.

6.Don’t talk about money.

The French consider money as a private and sensitive topic, so avoid asking them how much they earn, how much they pay for rent or how much something costs. It can be seen as impolite and intrusive. If you need to talk about money, be discreet and tactful.

7.Do learn to love the comfortable silence.

The French don’t like small talk and meaningless chatter. They prefer to have deep and meaningful conversations about topics like art, politics, philosophy or literature. Don’t feel obliged to fill every silence with words. Sometimes silence can be more expressive than words.

8.Don’t shout!

The French are not very loud people and they don’t appreciate noise pollution. Raising your voice in public and on public transport is considered rude and should be avoided. Instead, use body language to express excitement or emotion.

9.Don’t eat on the go.

The French respect food above many things and they like to enjoy their meals in a relaxed and leisurely way. Eating while walking or on public transport is frowned upon and seen as uncivilized. If you are hungry between meals, find a café or a bakery and sit down to eat your snack.

10.Do speak French.

The French are proud of their language and culture and they appreciate it when foreigners make an effort to learn some basic phrases. Even if your French is not perfect, don’t be afraid to try it out. Many French people will put you out of your misery.

11.Don’t expect everyone to speak English.

Although many French people can speak some English, especially in big cities and tourist areas, don’t assume that everyone is fluent or willing to switch languages for you. It is better to ask politely if they speak English before starting a conversation. You can say: Parlez-vous anglais ? (Do you speak English?)

12.Do dress well.

The French are known for their sense of style and elegance, and they pay attention to how people dress. Dressing formally on the street is respectful to others and shows that you care about your appearance. Avoid wearing casual clothes like shorts, flip-flops, sweatpants or baseball caps, especially in Paris or other big cities.

13.Do follow the table manners.

The French have some specific rules when it comes to eating and drinking at the table. For example, you should always keep your hands visible on the table (not on your lap), never put bread directly on the table (use a bread plate), never cut cheese with a knife (use a cheese slicer), never drink wine without food (it’s considered rude) and always wait for your host to say bon appétit before starting to eat.

14.Don’t tip too much.

Tipping is not mandatory in France as service is included in the bill3. However, it is customary to leave a small amount of change (around 5-10%) if you are satisfied with the service or if you had a particularly nice experience. Don’t tip too much as it can be seen as ostentatious or patronizing.

15.Do have fun!

France is a wonderful country with so much to offer: beautiful landscapes, amazing architecture, delicious cuisine, fascinating history and culture… Don’t let the etiquette rules intimidate you or stop you from enjoying your trip. Just be respectful, curious and open-minded and you will have a great time in France!

You are ready to go to France with these 15 etiquette and good manners tips! You will know how to greet the French, how to dress, how to eat and drink at the table, how to speak French and how to have fun!

You will see that France is a beautiful and welcoming country if you respect its culture and traditions. And you, what are your tips for behaving well in France?

What are the cultural differences that struck you the most? Leave me a comment below to tell me about your experience!

Thank you very much for reading this blog until the end!

I hope you enjoyed this content and that you will share it with your friends! See you soon!


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