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Six top tips for understanding French restaurant etiquette

Six top tips for understanding French restaurant etiquetteEating out is one of life’s pleasures. In France of course, cafés and restaurants are a key part of the country’s way of life and are integral to French culture.
Let us therefore celebrate some of the things that make dining in a French café or restaurant distinctive.

  • Bonjour, Bonjour… it’s so important we’ve said it twice. Whenever you enter a café, restaurant (and other places too!) you must always say Bonjour to greet the person serving you, and others around you.

  • Patience is a virtue. If you are part of a party, it is politesse to wait for everyone to arrive before drinking from your glass or taking a bite of the bread… You can then toast together and start your meal.

  • Keep hold of your knife & fork. In France it is customary to retain cutlery between courses, unlike in the UK. When finished, French people will place their silverware in the 4 and 8 o’clock position on their plate, never crossing.

  • Bread-etiquette. Yes, that’s right: there is even a word for the do’s and don’ts of handling bread. You should never put the bread on your plate… instead, keep it on the right on the table. Don’t worry though; if you have particularly enjoyed your meal, use a morsel of bread to clean your dish…

  • What’s your cheese? France produces many different types of cheeses, some unique to a specific region. Cheese is always served before the dessert. It is also good manners to never touch the cheese; use only with a knife on the cheeseboard.

  • To tip – or not to tip. In France, when you receive the bill – l’addition – it is inclusive of tax and other charges. Rounding up the bill to include a tip is a nice gesture though if you have received good service.

  • These are our six top tips – please share with us your suggestions!
    Bon Appetit!