French etiquette



From a really interesting article in the NYT:

- eat asparagus with fingers and sorbet with forks
- never say “Bon appétit” at the start of a meal
- foie gras should be eaten with a fork, never spread on bread
- if a woman’s wineglass needs filling, she should play with it until her male neighbor notices and fills it
- don't leave the table in midmeal to use the powder room (if you have to, don't use the word “toilette” when asking the host for directions; say, discreetly, 'May I wash my hands?')

- say “Bonjour” to the driver upon entering the bus
- the woman (not the man) extends a hand for a handshake
- a married woman should fold one hand over the other at the table, the better to show off her jewels

- a box of chocolates is an appropriate gift when invited for dinner, to be deposited at the entrance with a gift card
- flowers can be sent either just before the dinner or, better, the following day
- wine is not an appropriate dinner gift (it's like saying the host doesn't have good taste)
- always arrive at a dinner party 15 minutes late

That is how to be polite in France! (And if you feel like doing a Chirac, raise a woman’s hand to chest level and bend over to meet it halfway and kiss!)