Tuesday, January 9, 2007

French Manners

My husband sent me this BBC article before Christmas and I just now found it in my Inbox. It is an amusing account of an English lady's misadventures at a Parisian high society dinner party. (Actually, an American might fare better since the French do not expect us to have any manners at all.) I felt inspired to do more research on the subject, and so here are some links about French manners, for those of us who are fascinated with different customs and cultures.
http://www.paris-anglo.com/dedent/dedent.php?request=guide/understand/howParisianslive/91.php Share


Anonymous said...

Madame, before I sent my "Princesse" to her studies in France, we examined all of the faux pas she might possibly make. She always spoke French well (far better than her father, which she points out to my exasperation! Accent, Papa. Accent!)

In any event, she learned before she left to eat all her food with her left hand. Never sop up any gravy with bread. To eat a slice of pie or chees from the largest part in order to keep the shape of the pie or cheese until the last bite. never drink more than a half a glass of wine with a meal. Get used to 2 hours of dinner. Oh yes!

She never slipped into using tu instead of the more formal vous. She scheduled her classes later in the day so she could sit and talk to Madame Breateau over coffee and crepes in the morning. Talking is a big part of French life, so she had to learn to talk and listen as well.

Her housemother Madame Breateau, a desendant of La Rochjaqueline, remarked to her how well brought up she was. What a complement to me and her mother.

elena maria vidal said...

To be told that one is "bien-eleve" is high praise indeed!!

When abroad, I have usually ended up dining with English, Irish, Canadians, or fellow Americans, never with French people, sadly, even when in France. However, my husband and I, before travelling, always try to research local customs of the places we will be visiting, to avoid giving offense, if possible. But sometimes, no matter how hard you try, the faux pas DO happen.....Very interesting, thank you for the feedback, Monsieur!!

Anonymous said...

Madame, Of course being of French heritage helps. It was like going home for the first time. She was more put off by the bad manners of the Canadiens, and English (what is one to expect) than by the French.

elena maria vidal said...

Yes, Monsieur, I am certain having the French heritage helps. Also, there are some of us who are just Francophiles. I have no French blood, except perhaps from the Normans, but I have always felt very at ease in France, and more at home there than in some places in the USA.