The do’s and don’ts of France are quite simple, and if followed, will help you avoid any potential mishaps while on your travels.
Firstly, it is important to be aware that the French tend to be more formal than many other cultures, so it is always best to err on the side of formality when in doubt. This means using formal titles such as “Monsieur” or “Madame” when addressing someone, and avoiding excessively familiar body language such as hugging or kissing on the cheek (unless you know the person well).
It is also important to note that the French take their food very seriously – so much so that it is considered impolite to start eating before everyone at your table has been served. Also, try not to order anything too messy or difficult to eat (e.g. spaghetti) in polite company – it will likely just end up making a mess!
In terms of what NOT to do in France, perhaps the most important thing is not to get into an argument with a Frenchman about food! The French are very proud of their cuisine and are unlikely to take kindly to criticism about it. Similarly, avoid talking too loudly or being excessively rowdy in public – this will not.
DON’T eat with your fingers!
Another big no-no is eating on the go. In France, mealtimes are meant to be enjoyed and savored, not rushed through. So find a seat at a café or restaurant, order something delicious, and take your time enjoying it. You’ll definitely get some funny looks if you try to wolf down your food while standing up or walking around!
When about drinking, avoid ordering alcoholic beverages during lunchtime – this is generally seen as too excessive (even if it’s just wine!). It’s perfectly acceptable to have wine with dinner though, so go ahead and order away in the evening hours. And of course, never drink straight from the bottle – use a glass instead. Cheers!
DON’T eat on the street
In France, eating on the street is considered to be very rude and bad manners. If you are caught doing it, you will likely be scolded by a passerby. If you must eat on the go, find a park bench or sit at an outdoor cafe.
DO drink wine with your meals.:
Wine is an integral part of French culture and cuisine. It is perfectly normal (and expected) to drink wine with your meals, whether you are dining out or cooking at home. Red wine is typically served with meat dishes, while white wine goes well with fish or poultry. There are also many delicious ros s to choose from!
DO mind your manners.:
In France, etiquette and good manners are highly valued. Table manners are very important, so be sure to brush up on your skills before dining out! When in doubt, observe what others around you are doing and imitate their behavior. And always remember to say “please” (s’il vous plaît) and “thank you” (merci).
DON’T start eating immediately after being served
One should wait for the host to start eating first.
It is considered rude to begin eating before the host has started. Additionally, it is proper etiquette to wait for all guests to be served before starting to eat.
DON’T take a bite from a whole piece of bread
When in France, one of the things you should avoid doing is taking a bite out of a whole piece of bread. This is considered to be very rude and will likely offend the person who gave you the bread. If you want to eat bread, tear off a small piece and then eat it.
DO expect a glass of wine with dinner
If you are used to having a drink with dinner, don’t be surprised if your French hosts offer you a glass of wine. It is perfectly normal to drink wine with dinner in France, and it is considered impolite to refuse. However, if you are not a big fan of wine, it is perfectly acceptable to say so and ask for something else instead.
DON’T be afraid to speak up if you don’t like what you’re eating.:
If you are served a dish that you don’t like or can’t eat, don’t hesitate to speak up. Your French hosts will understand and will likely be happy to accommodate your preferences. In fact, many French people enjoy hearing about different food preferences and might even offer some suggestions for what you could try next time.
DO take your time when eating.:
In France, mealtimes are meant to be enjoyed and savored. This means that it is perfectly acceptable (and even expected) to take your time when eating. Don’t worry about appearing rude by taking too long – your French hosts will understand. In fact, they might even appreciate the chance to relax and enjoy their own meal without feeling rushed.