French Culture

Etiquette

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Basic Etiquette

  • It is common to find people being subtly dismissed by salespeople, waiters or others in the service industry for having poor etiquette or manners. 
  • At a service counter, you are expected to greet the service provider with a brief ‘bonjour’ (‘hello’), even if you are in a rush.
  • It is rude to sit with one’s legs spread apart. Rather, sit straight with your legs crossed at the knee or knees together.
  • Feet should not be placed on tables or chairs.
  • If someone is invited to a restaurant or a business function, it is acceptable to arrive at the specific time. However, when invited for a meal at someone’s house, one is expected not to arrive à l’heure (on time). It is best to arrive about 15 to 20 minutes after the set time.

 

Visiting

  • French people tend not to visit unannounced or uninvited. To do so is considered rude.
  • When invited to a dinner, it is common for guests to ask their hosts if they are required to bring something on the day. Guests may also bring a bottle of wine or dessert.
  • Some French are quite reserved about inviting new people into their homes. An invitation is considered an honour. 
  • Guests are usually expected to dress well.
  • It is seen as rude if you do not greet everyone when arriving and leaving, regardless of how many people are present.


Eating

  • Table manners are highly regarded in France. Thus, there are a number of practices one should observe when with a French counterpart.
  • You are expected to pass dishes around and to hold a dish so your neighbour can retrieve some of the meal.
  • When one begins a meal, they typically say “bon appétit” (enjoy your meal).
  • Dinner guests should not open their mouth or talk when eating, and should gently wipe their mouth after taking a drink.
  • When someone finishes their meal, the fork and knife are placed side by side on the plate on the right. 
  • At a restaurant, guests are generally not expected to share the bill.
  • There are three main meals throughout the day: le petit déjeuner (breakfast), le déjeuner (lunch) and le dîner (dinner).
  • The largest meal of the day is dinner, and is often eaten with the family.
  • Meals comprise different courses. The French take their time eating each course of their meal.
  • Drinking alcohol (typically wine) with one’s meal is common practice.
  • If you do not want any more wine, leave your current glass mostly full to indicate this to your host.
  • It is generally frowned upon to leave food on a plate, particularly when in someone’s home. Each course of a meal tends to take time to make. Thus, one shows appreciation for the efforts of the person cooking through the enjoyment and completion of the meal. 


Gift Giving

  • When invited to someone’s home, try to bring a small, good-quality gift for the host. Usually one will bring a bottle of wine. Everyone will put the bottles of wine on the table and will freely drink what they choose.
  • If you give wine, ensure it is of the highest quality you can offer. French people appreciate their wines.
  • Gifts are usually opened when received.
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France
  • Population
    62,814,233
    [July 2016 est.]
  • Languages
    French (official) (100%)
  • Religions
    Christianity (63-66%)
    Islam (7-9%)
    Buddhism (0.5-0.75%)
    Judaism (0.5-0.75%)
    Other (0.5-1.0%)
    No Religion (23-28%)
    [2015 est.]
    Note: France prohibits state authorities from collecting data on individuals' religious beliefs.
  • Ethnicities
    Celtic and Latin
    Salvic
    North African
    Indochinese
    Basque
    Note: France prohibits state authorities from collecting data on individuals' ethnicity
  • Cultural Dimensions
    Power Distance 68
    Individualism 71
    Masculinity 43
    Uncertainty Avoidance 86
    Long Term Orientation 63
    Indulgence 48
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  • Australians with French Ancestry
    135,382 [2016 census]
French in Australia
  • Population
    31,120
    [2016 census]
    This figure refers to the number of Australian residents that were born in France.
  • Average Age
    41
  • Gender
    Male (50.9%)
    Female (49.1%)
  • Religion
    Catholic Christianity (45.0%)
    Judaism (1.9%)
    Other (11.9%)
    No Religion (35.6%)
    Not stated (5.7%)
  • Ancestry
    French (67.2%)
    Italian (5.1%)
    English (3.4%)
    Australian (3.1%)
    Other (21.2%)
  • Language Spoken at Home
    French (61.3%)
    English (31.1%)
    Italian (1.9%)
    Other (5.1%)
    Not stated (0.7%)
    Of those who speak a language other than English at home, 94.0% speak English fluently.
  • Diaspora
    New South Wales (36.2%)
    Victoria (22.8%)
    Queensland (20.2%)
    Western Australia (11.3%)
  • Arrival to Australia
    Prior to 2001 (54.4%)
    2001-2006 (13.9%)
    2007-2011 (26.7%)
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