Travel Etiquette Series: France

by GuestBlogger


Our Flightie Adam Barralet has been all over the world and has learned a lot of valuable tips along the way. Each week he’ll take us to a different country and offer his tips on what to expect and what manners are acceptable:

Did you know you can go skiing in Hawaii? Or that Liechtenstein, Singapore and Norway have no official statutory minimum wage rate? Surely you know that Pamela Anderson, Sir Paul McCartney and His Holiness the Dalai Lama all won’t eat KFC due to the fast food giant’s lack of responsibility against cruelty to animals? It’s easy to get concerned with your little lot in the world and forget that life is different in other parts of the world. When it comes to etiquette and manners, we know you should keep your elbows off the table and always bring a gift to a dinner party, but is this applicable everywhere in the world? I invite you to join me over the coming weeks as we zig zag around the world to explore the differences of etiquette around the world.

First we stop for a romantic rendez-vous in France. As a child I still remember lazy Sunday dinners, drifting into a food induced coma from too many roast vegetables only to be jolted back to reality by a sudden whack from my Pop for resting my hands or elbows on the table. If only I had of known then what I know now, that I was simply honouring my French background. Unlike in countries such as Canada, Australia and England, in France you must keep your hands ON the table.

There are numerous differences in French table etiquette to the upbringing you may have had. For example for the French is that it is bad form to touch the crockery. Therefore don’t tilt the soup bowl to get the last few drops. At the onset of the meal bread or breadsticks may arrive at your table. In France, these are an accompaniment to the meal so don’t start nibbling until the food arrives.

Start your meal by waiting for the host or hostess to begin eating and then say Bon appétit before taking the first mouthful and do not say it again. During the meal don’t eat food with your hands, even sandwiches or fruit and if you enjoy a cool drink, know in France ice will only be added to your drink upon request. At the end of the meal, always leave a little on your plate to show that you have “eaten well”.

Before we jet off to our next stop, you may feel like a coffee but it’s not commonly drunk after 3 – 4pm in France so don’t be surprised if you get funny looks if you ask for one. It’s not really a faux pas but useful to know.

Want more tips from Adam? Let us know where you’re travelling next and he’ll write about it! Adam Barralet is Assistant Manager at our Flight Centre- Sheppard Centre in Toronto and can be reached by E-mail, or by calling 1-866-828-1390.

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