When travelling to France, there are a few things that you should avoid in order to make the most of your trip. First and foremost, try to avoid speaking English as much as possible. The French are notoriously proud of their language and culture, and speaking English in public can be considered rude. If you need to communicate with someone who doesn’t speak French, try using body language or writing down what you need to say.
Another thing to avoid is being too loud or rowdy in public places. The French tend to be more reserved than other cultures, and they expect people to be have respectfully in public places like restaurants, cafes, and shops. So keep your voice down and avoid disturbi.
Never Underestimate How Far a Few French Words Can Go
Despite what you may have heard, the French are a friendly bunch and they love it when foreigners try to speak their language. A few well-chosen words can go a long way in France, especially if you’re making an effort to speak the language rather than relying on English.
Here are a few tips to help you get by in France:
1. Greetings – The most important thing to remember when greeting someone in France is to use the correct title. Monsieur (Mr) for a man, Madame (Mrs) for a married woman and Mademoiselle (Miss) for an unmarried woman. If you’re unsure which title to use, it’s always better to err on the side of formality rather than informality.
2. Please and thank you – These two little words will take you far in France. Remember to say please (s’il vous plaît) when making a request and thank you (merci beaucoup) when someone does something for you, no matter how small.
3. I’m sorry – Another essential phrase is ‘je suis désolé’ or ‘excusez-moi’, both of which can be used for apologizing or getting someone’s attention politely.
4. Where is…? – Asking directions is one of the most common reasons people need to speak French while travelling so it’s worth learning how to ask ‘Where is…?’. The phrase ‘Où est…?’ will come in handy whether you’re looking for the nearest toilet or trying to find your hotel after dark! You can also use it.
Never Wave Wildly at a Waiter to Get Their Attention
When dining out in France, never wave wildly at a waiter to get their attention. This is considered very rude and will not get you the service you desire. Instead, make eye contact and wait patiently for them to come to your table. If you must get their attention quickly, simply raise your hand slightly and make sure not to wave it around too much.
Try Not to Speak Louder Than Everyone Else, Particularly at Night
It’s no secret that the French love to talk. They are, after all, a nation of garrulous gourmands, passionate pundits and eloquent intellectuals. So, when in France, do as the French do and strike up a conversation with anyone and everyone – from the bartender to the baker to the chic woman sitting next to you on the train.
But there is one thing you should avoid doing if you want to fit in with the locals: speaking louder than everyone else. In France, speaking loudly is considered impolite and will likely earn you some dirty looks from those around you. So instead of bellowing your order at the café counter or shouting across a crowded room, take a cue from the soft-spoken French and keep your voice down – particularly at night.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should whisper your way through your entire trip – that would be even more rude! Just use your indoor voice when appropriate and save your outdoor voice for when you’re enjoying a leisurely stroll through one of France’s gorgeous parks or taking in the sweeping views from a top one of its many majestic mountain peaks.
Never Leave Your Cell Phone Out When Having a Coffee Meal With Friends
If you are planning on spending time in France, it is important to be aware of the local customs and etiquette. One thing that you should avoid doing is leaving your cell phone out when you are having a coffee or meal with friends.
In France, it is considered rude to have your phone out when you are with other people. This includes having it on the table or even in your hand. If you must take a call, excuse yourself from the table and step away from your companions.
It is also impolite to use your phone while walking down the street or in any other public place. If you must use it, make sure to keep it at a low volume so as not to disturb those around you.
While there are many things that visitors to France should be aware of, following these simple tips will help ensure that you have a respectful and enjoyable trip.