Friday, December 08, 2006

More Observations on the French Way of Living

(Manners Edition)

Please bear in mind that these are generalities that I have observed and are by no means to be taken as statistics out of an etiquette book! :)

* In France, it is bad manners not to have both hands on the table (in direct contradiction to the American version of table etiquette)! Children are constantly reminded, "Met tes mains sur la table."

* On the other hand, it is NOT bad manners to put your elbows on the table. This is preferable to having your hands beneath the table, in your lap.

* In France, it is bad manners to put your portion of bread on your plate. It must be placed on the table next to your plate, except on very special or formal occasions when it is placed on a little bread plate provided for just that purpose.

* This portion of bread (and YUMMY bread it is too!) must be torn into bite-size pieces before being eaten. To bite directly off the piece of bread is considered eating like animals. (They have a point...)

* In France, it is bad manners to push food onto your fork or spoon with your knife. Knives are for cutting and that seems to be their sole purpose. The aforementioned (and ever-present) bread - in bite-size pieces, mind you! - must be used for the task.

* In France, one does not take a drink of any sort with their soup (first course). This seems to be very wrong. In some cases, glasses are not even put on the table until the soup has been cleared away.

* And when it comes to restaurants, do not tip your waiter (should you happen to be in restaurant in France, that is). The tip is factored into the total before you're billed and an additional tip is not expected.

Donc, voilĂ !

It's incredible how much can differ between two "first world," western countries!!


MrsDoc said...

I'm afraid I would flunk "French Manners I" -- hard to teach an old dog new tricks! But I hope you are passing this course since manners can be a part of Christian charity and civilization!

Thanks for part 2 of your fascinating observations! Looking forward to more later on!
Love, Mom

Anonymous said...

How interesting!!! Thanks for the cultural lesson.

Funny, we have FOUR towels in our kitchen--one for hands, one for dishes, one for wiping up the counter, and the last is for floor spills!

Keep those observations coming, and I hope all is well for you!!!

Sara Jane III said...

When I worked in a restaurant, we hated to serve Europeans on account of their horrendous tipping habits, or lack thereof! ;) Especially the British. haha!! Hope you remember this when ya get home or you may just get some glares when eating out. ;) Thanks for the insight.