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Etiquette in France Research Paper


The French people always adhere to harmonized and strong values set by the country. They normally take pleasure in their language, culture, cuisine and history. This is one of the reasons why France has been a leading nation in fashion, architecture, art, food and wine.

The French people embrace originality and new ideas in all sectors of business. The French people also value etiquette and mannerism in the corporate world, eating, and dressing. This paper is mainly about etiquette in France addressing, eating, business as well as persona etiquette.

Greeting and Meeting

The French people normally shake hands each time they meet. When it is the first time that a French person is meeting you whether for business or friendship, they normally consider shaking hands with you.

Shaking of hands is also a common practice every morning when people arrive at work whereby colleagues get to greet each other by shaking hands. This can also happen when they are leaving work in the evening. Families or close friends in France usually kiss their loved one at the cheeks as a sign of greetings (“Etiquette in France,” 2012).

Corporate Culture

French business people do value professionalism at a very high rate since it is the means through which outsiders such as customers are accepted. French people respect and admire hard work in business but they are against workaholics. French people enjoy and encourage well-educated and trained labor force. This is one of the reasons why France a country is successful when it comes to business.

Keeping time and punctuality is one thing that French people value and appreciate in business. This has promoted effectiveness especially when it comes to serving the customers. French business people are usually conservative and most of the time they like being formal. Most business affiliations are mainly professional, accurate and organized.

Every person who goes into any organization in France is expected to provide their business cards to the secretary or leave it to the receptionist when you arrive in the office. All the print cards or academic degree are done either in French or English. This is because majority of people in France speak English and French.

The French government performs a major part in many businesses in France. Whenever you need help with regulatory obstacles, local representatives such as lawyers and bankers are always there to offer you with whatever directions you need. Most business people in France do not normally share their personal life especially with those they do business with.

They normally keep their private life away from business (France – French Culture, Customs and Etiquette, n.d.). This means that nobody is allowed to introduce their personal life in business especially when they are found in mistakes or in cases whereby they have been coming to work late regularly.

French people are quick and that is why they find it easy to get into a business. However they are slow when it comes to decision making process since they normally take their time to reflect on the way the business will go about and how to make it prosper. When it comes to economic planning, French business people lead. This is because they normally make up plans which are detailed and comprehensive which normally lead to success.

Most business institutions in France are federal and they have chief executives who are very influential. Most managers in these organizations are authoritative and domineering. There are specific rooms within the organizations that are selected such that only those with specific ranks are allowed to seat or even enter the room. Anyone who is below the rank is not allowed to set foot on the room unless they get permission from the authority.

When most organizations carry out meetings, they normally follow a set up format which every individual must honor and keep time. The main agenda to be discussed in the meetings are usually detailed and to the point. This helps in time saving and eases the whole process since everyone is aware of the main agenda to be discussed in the meeting. French people are disciplined; they cannot debate or disagree in public forums. They normally control their debates making them more enjoyable and lively.

One of the reasons why business meetings are held in France is to clarify and brief the staff and subordinates concerning certain issues. The intentions are usually stated openly, clearly and directly so as not to confuse the people (“Etiquette in France,” 2012). Before any presentation is conducted, it is usually well written and organized in a clear and comprehensive way before it is presented in professional and formal manner. One of the things that French people dislike most is the hard sell method.

French people value connections and group work. Business meetings held before two weeks or during August, Easter period and Christmas time is usually discouraged in France because during these particular periods of time, most people will want to be with their loved ones hence some may miss the meeting or those who will attend will not be that attentive. Most French business persons do not like to be called at home except if it is an emergency such as fire outbreak or theft cases.

Dining and Entertainment

French people will consider anyone who does not value eating rules to be discourteous. Foreigners are therefore expected to master French table manners. In France, they do not expect anyone to carry flowers to the dining table; they should be either sent before the event or after. Carrying pets or close friends to the dining without permission is highly prohibited in France. The host of an event should be informed well in advance if anyone is to carry a pet or bring a friend for diner.

It will be considered a dishonor if any guest refuses to take the foods prepared for dinner. The only two meals that guests are accepted to reject are curry and oysters. However, the hostess is required to find out the type of meal that the guests would like to take before they begin to supply food.

A normally dinner in France usually takes about two to four hours due to a wide variety of means served separately. All the guests present are expected to eat at least each small portion of the meals served at the table. A glass of French wine cannot miss at the dining table and every guest is expected to serve it. More wine will be added to those people whose wineglass is not full.

The French people love to use knives and forks to eat their meals. Meals such as fish and chicken should be first slashed into pieces and then collected for consumption using particular type of table gadgets such as fork.

The art of using knives and forks by the French people have gone as far as using them to consume fruits. The salad is not to be slashed into pieces instead it should be properly crinkled before consumption. The dining table is usually set with salad knife but guests should not utilize it unless it is the last choice available.

Resting your elbows on the dining table is not allowed and is considered as unethical when it comes to table manners. You should place your hands where they are visible (“A guide to French etiquette,” 2008). The hands should not be placed on the lap.

Those people who are still eating are expected to traverse the equipments they were eating with by placing the fork above the knife on the plate. French people hate unexpected visitors. Friends should inform each other before they come for a visit. Making phone calls before 10am in the morning and after 9pm at night is highly prohibited in France.

It is unethical to ask for a scotch or a martini before they prepare dinner. French people consider those who do this to be palate numbing. After every meal, French people usually serve their guests or family members with liqueurs. Most business people in France usually take their breakfast and lunch while working. However, lunch time is still regarded as private time.

At dinner time, French people do not always talk about business. This is because they see diner time as communal event and period for taking pleasure in the nice meal prepared. There is however some dinners mainly organized to discuss business and in such occasion, spouses are not always incorporated. Male and female guests do not always sit together; the female is expected to sit at the right hand side of the host while the male is expected to seat at the left hand side of the hostess (“France,” 2012).

All the guests are not allowed to taste anything until their hostess or hosts have done it. If in any case there is a toast to be made, you should be patient enough not to drink the wine until the toast has been made. Nobody is expected to smoke during dinner or lunch time when people are taking meals. French people consider it ill-mannered to depart without clearing your food. It is proper to thank the host or hostess after the dinner or lunch meal.


The French people dress with heed and concern hence expects every person in the country to do the same. France as a country are leaders in fashion which means that they are conscious about fashion and that is why they dress in understated and conservative way. It is inappropriate to be seen in the city with casual attire. Everyone should be elegant and tidy every time and every day.

This means that French people are fond of good things and that is also the reason why you find that most people put on valuable accessories. To create a good impression in the public, men are expected to wear conservative suits which are dark in color. On the other hand, women are expected to put on elegant dresses or suits which are stylish but have soft colors. The suites or dresses should be sophisticated with no cleavages and they should not show off their thighs.

In conclusion, the French people always adhere to harmonized and strong values set by the country. They value etiquette and mannerism in the corporate world, eating, and dressing as expressed above.


A guide to French etiquette. (2008). Web.

Etiquette in France. (2012). Web.

. (2012). Web.

. (n.d.). Web.

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"Etiquette in France." IvyPanda, 8 Dec. 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/etiquette-in-france/.

1. IvyPanda. "Etiquette in France." December 8, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/etiquette-in-france/.


IvyPanda. "Etiquette in France." December 8, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/etiquette-in-france/.


IvyPanda. 2019. "Etiquette in France." December 8, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/etiquette-in-france/.


IvyPanda. (2019) 'Etiquette in France'. 8 December.

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