Etiquette in Paris: 15 Things Every Visitor Should Know

Read at the Frommer’s travelblog last month :

Out on the Town

When visiting a French home, don’t expect to be invited into the kitchen or to take a house tour. The French have a very definite sense of personal space, and you’ll be escorted to what are considered the guest areas. If you’re invited to dinner, be sure to bring a gift, such as wine, champagne, flowers, or chocolates.

Table manners are often considered a litmus test of your character or upbringing. When dining out, note that the French fill wineglasses only until they are half full?it’s considered bad manners to fill it to the brim. They never serve themselves before serving the rest of the table. During a meal, keep both hands above the table, and keep your elbows off the table.

Bread is broken, never cut, and is placed next to the plate, never on the plate. When slicing a cheese, don’t cut off the point (or “nose”).

Coffee or tea is ordered after dessert, instead of with dessert. (In fact, coffee and tea usually aren’t ordered with any courses during meals, except breakfast.)

Checks are often split evenly between couples or individuals, even if someone ordered only a salad and others had a full meal.

Eating on the street is generally frowned on?though with the onslaught of Starbucks you can sometimes see people drinking coffee on the go.

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