“Kind words don’t cost much, but they can accomplish a great deal” Blaise Pascal. 

Paris for Seniors’ host Keith Spicer joins Clément from the Boucherie Mouffetard to illustrate the “do’s and dont’s” of Parisian shop etiquette! Good tips for anywhere really but quite important in France where people are much more formal, in general

Here’s the fun video…



In this video, Gracie gives her side-kick (and G-pa, Keith) some pointers on how to order politely in a French restaurant!


ETIQUETTE – The French invented the word, and many of the customs behind it. Even today, perhaps the worst insult you can deliver to a Frenchman is “mal élevé“ – ill-mannered.

The codes are simple and sensible. Among them:

* Universal: Say hello and goodbye to everybody, male, female, old or young.

A daytime hello is bonjour, an evening one is bonsoir – or if it’s bedtime, bonne nuit. Ask any French person how to pronounce these, though people will appreciate even your rough attempts.

* Stores and taxis: use the above words religiously when entering and leaving stores, taxis and homes. They are expected.

* Answer invitations quickly and politely.

* To address someone, other than a child, use the “vous” form instead of the more familiar “tu”  for the word “you”.

* Reciprocate hospitality as soon as reasonable.

* Arrive on time or, preferably, a few minutes late for a meal. Never before the intended time.

* Dress suitably for each occasion – ask your host if it’s at his or her house.

* Participate actively in conversations without dominating them.

* Don’t bother people with intrusive noise, such a talking loudly on your cellphone in pubic places.

* Eat silently and without messing up the table. But converse softly with your neighbors if it’s a dinner-party, enquiring about their interests.

* In a restaurant, do not address your neighbors, unless you need to ask politely for the salt. Politely means s’il vous plaît (Please).

* Anywhere, especially in public transport: Offer your place to anyone who may need it more than you do.

* After a meal at someone’s home : phone the next day to thank them, mentioning the pleasure you had. If it was a special occasion for you, you might send flowers next day to the hostess.

* Beware using slang or vulgar phrases – if in doubt, leave them out!


For more, see the following links: