Business Customs


  • Begin by shaking hands, and note that the French typically shake quicker and less firmly than Americans.
  • Avoid first names, instead using their surname with Monsieur or Madame before it.
  • Always aim to dress conservatively and tastefully, with an emphasis on simple elegance.

Business Attire

  • First impressions in France are heavily dependent on appearance. Quality business attire, jewelry and accessories will earn you valuable points in the office.
  • A well-tailored business suit or dress is appropriate and good shoes are a must. Careful accesorising (even of simple outfits), is also widely seen in France. ... An invitation stating “formal” dress usually means formal evening wear, which is very dressy and involves a tuxedo for men and evening dress for women.
  • The French is very conscientious of their appearance.
  • Dress conservative and invest in well-tailored clothing.
  • Patterned fabrics and dark colors are most acceptable, but avoid bright colors.
  • French businessmen do not loosen their ties or take off their jackets in the office.
  • Women should also dress conservatively.
  • Women should also avoid any glitzy or overpowering objects, such as flashy jewelry.
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Lunch is a serious business in France. Keep your hands where people can see them.

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