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Moving to France: French Customs

Are you facing removal to France? Or are you only going there for a few days? Whatever your reason for visiting the country is, it’s a good idea to learn about the customs there before you arrive. After all, no one wants to score a blunder – or as the French say, a faux pas. In the country from which the phrase savoir-vivre originated, one must adhere to a certain pattern of behavior to come off as a decent citizen. So, what are the customs in France?

Greetings in France

When going to France, you need to know that greetings are much more common here than in our country. The code of good manners dictates that you should greet each other when entering a state institution, office, or store. Don’t be surprised if a random person addresses you on the street by saying Bonjour madame/monsieur – frequent greetings are in the nature of the French people. 

Friends in France do not spare kisses for greeting and farewell. Their number depends on the region’s customs – for example, in Paris, there are four kisses, and in Provence – three. In turn, shaking hands is considered a gesture of inviting conversation.

How to behave at the French table?

Although, in reality, these customs are not always kept, it is worth knowing what exemplary behavior at the French table should look like. First of all, it is the master of the house who designates the seats for guests – on the right side of the hosts, as a rule, the guests of honor are seated. Napkin, which is always next to the plate, you should place on the lap and use to wipe your lips with it before reaching for the glass each time. Remember that drinking wine will be considered coarse if the host has not yet given a toast and begun the feast.

Being a guest in a French home

If your French friends have invited you to visit them at their house, the visit is bound to take place at dinner time. Remember not to show up empty-handed. A bouquet for the lady of the house and a bottle of wine for the host is the safest choice. Interestingly, in France, there is no custom of removing shoes when entering someone else’s home. That gesture symbolizes intimacy with the family in question.