French Manners & Etiquette

Eating a French Meal: History and Etiquette

Eating a French Meal: History and Etiquette

Imagine the scene: Marie-Antoinette in the beautiful Palais of Versailles. Pre- Head being chopped off ofcourse. She is inviting you into a beautifully lit room, chandeliers glittering, the best cristallerie out on display for you, an elaborate dining table set up, and a large bountiful spread of dishes […]

10 American dining habits that French People find strange

10 American dining habits that French People find strange

Living in France for so long, there is always a bit of a culture shock every time I return “home”. There are just those small little things that are not like what I’m now used to in France, and make me stop and think “oof, […]

When in France, hold the ketchup!

When in France, hold the ketchup!

Eating French food is like eating with your parents. The waiters (aka your very grumpy parents) will frown at you as if you were a child, and get annoyed. “Yes, you have to eat everything, no substitutions, and no changes!” My personal theory is that […]

French children: Sage or Sauvage?

French children: Sage or Sauvage?

Even the fondest parents will agree, little kids can be little monsters. We just don’t expect anybody else call them that! “How dare anyone suggest that they are anything other perfect little angels!?”  Brace yourself.  In France, there is an expression “l’enfant sauvage”.  But let’s […]

How to say Nice to Meet You in French (Version James Bond)

How to say Nice to Meet You in French (Version James Bond)

Being introduced to people in France can be quite a formal affair. When you walk into a party, you do not just walk in and say “Hey y’all” to the crowd and settle in. Even James Bond would be shocked, and he’s British. In France, […]

The Proper Way to eat a burger in France

The Proper Way to eat a burger in France

Picture the scene, my first day at a new job in a new country. It was a beautiful sunny day, and the entire team decided that we should go out for lunch.  (It rains in Paris almost as much as it does in London, so the […]

Your guide to a typical French Christmas

Your guide to a typical French Christmas

The French take their food very seriously. They also take Christmas very seriously, so as you can imagine French Christmas traditions are quite the affair! In North America, we tend to cook a big turkey, some stuffing and side dishes, and then sit down and […]

A French etiquette controversy: Who is ready to pour the wine?

A French etiquette controversy: Who is ready to pour the wine?

I hesitated to write about this next item on the list of French table manners because it certainly smacks of sexism.  It doesn’t belong in the 21st century. But if you happen to be dining with an older French person, even en famille, they may remark upon it, which […]

Ready to drink tea from a bowl like the French?

Ready to drink tea from a bowl like the French?

The first time I came across it, I was baffled. And then irritated. We were at a beachside hotel near Saint-Malo and they seemed to be missing a few cups and mugs at morning breakfast.  My husband helpfully pointed me towards the bowls. Apparently, French […]

Table Manners in France | An Expat’s Elbow ballet

Table Manners in France | An Expat’s Elbow ballet

After living in a foreign country for several years, it’s funny how suddenly you notice something that you never noticed before.  With hindsight, I realized that being an etranger no one will tell you “Oh that’s rude!”.  They just put it down to you being a foreigner and keep […]

Secrets of the Art de la Table à la française

Secrets of the Art de la Table à la française

When I got married, a lovely French friend offered me an elegant set of cloth table napkins.  I’m sure I looked at her oddly, but she let it slide. Was I supposed to use these at home? Weren’t cloth napkins just for restaurants?  Observation skills to […]


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