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French Eating Etiquette

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French eating etiquette

French eating etiquette is markedly different from the American eating etiquette and it is fun to learn these intricacies.  Read on here and take notes.....



The Nitty Gritty Of French Eating Etiquette

Basic French Table Manners

Invitee protocols

  • You are expected to reach the invitation venue at least after 15-20 minutes than the scheduled time.
  • You must bring a small gift as a token of friendship for the lady of the house; flowers and chocolates are the best options; however you should never gift a bottle of wine to the host.
  • You can send flowers before or after the party.


How to seat


  • French table manners support hands on the table but not the elbows.
  • Yawning during the meal is allowed, but it should be done with face covered and in a soundless manner
  • Never place the napkin until the lady of the house places her napkin on her lap
  • If you wish to take a short break before rejoining the table, keep the napkin on the chair, never on the table. For more information on French Table Setting read the blog French table manners.


Table manners


  • Never ask chef for sauce, it is an indication that you have discarded the food.
  • You should not serve yourself wine, let host and his associates do that for you. 
  • Money and recipe related issues should never be discussed on the table.
  • At the end of the meal you should keep the napkin folded in indication that you have finished with your food and are planning to leave
  • At the end of the party when the host will offer the guests orange juice, it is to be taken as a good bye signal.


Essential French Eating Manners

How to eat

  • In French table arrangement bread is placed on table cloth unless it is a formal meal where bread plates are used.
  • When aperitif is served you should wait for the host to lead the way; let the host raise a toast; it is a symbol of honor to make an eye contact and saying “Santé".
  • You should never take a bite from the whole bread; eat it by breaking it into small pieces, and never use a knife for cutting bread. Do it with fingers.
  • If somebody asks you for the salt, pass only salt. In French eating mannerism, salt and pepper are offered separately, unlike the American custom, where salt and pepper are considered as a pair. 
  • As one course is finished, you should wipe the plate with a piece of bread indicating that you are ready for next course. However, in case each of the courses is served in new plate, there is no need to clean the plates.
  • Never leave any left over on the plate, it means you are criticizing the chef's recipe.
  • You should never cut spaghetti or French noodles with knife; it is an insult to the as well as the chef.


Learning French eating etiquette is quite elaborate; however, if you can manage some of them you will find yourself more at ease while attending a French invitation next time.

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French Eating Etiquette