"Bonjour" There are many different ways that people in France greet each other, here are some examples...
- Woman Greeting Woman: Light kisses on the cheek or light touching of cheeks (friends and family); handshake or simple nod
- Man Greeting Man: Shake hands (eye contact); light hug; kiss on each cheeks (close friends and family)
- Greeting Between Men and Women: Light kisses (friends and family; light touching of the cheeks; handshake (woman offers her hand first)
- French people tend to be very direct. They will tell you the truth, but in a polite manner.
- French people tend to be very distant until they get to know you
- Most French people will not want/feel comfortable with speaking English
- It is considered extremely rude to not make eye contact when directly speaking to someone.
- Firm and confident handshakes
- Touching is a sign of affection
- Arms length distance or a tad bit closer is suitable for personal space
- Being late is very common, but considered unprofessional when going to a job, meeting, etc.
- Wiping the brow with one hand means “that’s enough” or “I can’t take it anymore.”
- Turning your palm upwards and touching your thumb to your fingers means “I’m afraid.”
- Loosely grabbing your throat with one hand means “unbelievable” or “yeah right.”
- Tapping the side of your nose with your index finger usually means that one is clever/smart.
Things Not to Do...
- Greet people, even if you don't know who they are
- Making a fist with one hand and slapping the top of it with the other hand is a rude gesture.
- It's considered rude to put your feet or desks or chairs
- Don't discuss another persons wealth. Wealth of another person is a topic this is unspoken of
- People who live in France value looking good and like style
- Men: Suits, dress shirts, tie
- Women: Stylish business suits, dresses, blouse
- Professors and teachers often wear jeans to work
Additional Cultural Imformation
- It is important to address people by a title. (Mr., Mrs., Ms., Sir, Ma'am)
- If invited for dinner or get-together, it is polite to bring the people hosting the dinner a side dish, bottle of wine, or a dessert
- Once you turn 18, it is legal for you to drink and smoke. It is illegal though, to smoke in a public building. You must be outside!