France Culture

Austin Delp


"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)
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Communication Style

  • 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

Respectful Gestures

  • 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.
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  • 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.
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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

Dress Code

  • 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
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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!
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