Author Sushant Published on October 12th 2018
Ah, I can't get enough of France. It is the home of crispy baguettes, delicious pastries and exquisite wine which leaves you craving for more. France is all about enjoying the finer aspects of life. Don't be surprised that they have rules and regulations for everything. I have penned some do's and don'ts so that you can blend seamlessly in the Parisian crowd and are a hit at Parisian soirées.
1. SERVICE SAVOIR-FAIRE
Never ever fill your glass. It would be better if you wait. If it has been 30 minutes or more than that and you’re still staring longingly at the wine bottle, play safe and ask your partner or friend if they’d like a top-up. If they say yes, it’s a win-win. If they say yes, you can graciously serve them, and then pour some for yourself.
Also, do round up to the next number when tipping. While the service charge is often included, customers won’t usually ask for their exact change back. You can always tip more if the service was remarkable.
2. BREAKING BREAD
Don't forget to buy two baguettes, not one. The baguette is a commonly available French food item. Don’t ever cut baguette with a knife. We are so used to cutting knife that you may not be able to restrain yourself, but don't do it. Put it on the table on a nice cloth or in its original paper wrapping and slowly tear a chunk from it. Patience and love for food are what the French love.
3. THE ETIQUETTES
Remember to keep both your hands on the table. While it’s normal to keep a hand on the lap in some countries, the French will frown at this behaviour. Make sure your hands are always visible, and your elbows are hidden. Also, refrain from making slurping noises. No matter how much you’re enjoying your drink, it’s counted among bad manners.
4. KNIFE USAGE
NEVER cut your salad. Instead of shredding your greens, fold the salad pieces into little bundles with your utensils and munch!
Do cut the cheese with a specific knife. Each kind of cheese has a specific knife assigned to it – the hard cheese will generally be cut with a tear-shaped knife, while soft cheeses will have to be cut with thin, blunt edge. Remember, French love everything delicate and refined- and the same applies to food.
5. BE EFFORTLESSLY CHIC
Make sure that you leave your casual clothes at the hotel. Pyjamas are off-limits. Don't expect to roam and expect that no one will notice. If that's the case, don’t go out at all. The goal here is to make an effort, but without trying too hard. Messy hair is a strict no-no. A light lipstick or sleek tennis shoes with a chic dress are preferred for women, while men are loved in semi-casuals.
6. THE ART OF THE ‘BISE’
Dive in and air kiss your friend on both cheeks while pouting and making a kissing sound. If you want to make things more interesting, the number of kisses vary by region.
Make sure you greet everyone individually otherwise the French might feel offended. Practice the same ritual when you wish to leave. Don't even try to sneak out. Your friends will spot it and hold the grudge forever.