How to Master French Table Etiquette

Ever seen the French eat in a restaurant? Not just eat, but their entire table manner, the way they speak and the constant feeling of passion they exude. It’s all quite a mouth full to be exact and while no one will tell you how to act or eat in a France or in a French restaurant anywhere in the world, it’s always nice to, in this case, blend with the French and keep it classy.

There are many things to learn and while these manners might seem irrelevant to both you and the rest of society, it’s quite important for them. Above all, it demands respect, which is quite difficult to obtain when it comes to the French.

French Etiquette

It all starts with the fact that you have to wait for your host before you start eating or drinking, which is one thing everybody else seems to get wrong daily. Nowadays, there are few that, except for going to a restaurant, even eat at the table with their families or friends. Sitting together and enjoying a meal is important to the French. By simply not following the rule of waiting for the host of the table could already put you in the red and there’s not a lot of greens, so time to French up.


Sitting and Leaving the Table

While this might sound easy and normal, the hostess of a French table will seat their guests themselves. Unless they put nametags on your seat, he/she will most probably show you where to sit. If ever there is a guest of honour, they will always be seated to the right of the host. There are also rules such as couple sitting across from one another and not next to each other, men usually pull out the chairs for their ladies and the men are not seated before the hostess is seated. Before eating, the hostess will usually say “bon appétit. Only then are you allowed to eat.

Something important to remember is that you are not allowed to leave the table during the meal which could potentially, in French fashion, last several hours. So, be sure to use the restroom before you sit at the table.

Politely Either Accept or Refuse Food in French

A French table is somewhat different when it comes to food and different courses. The French usually goes all out and will not only servethea main course but also serve salads, cheese platters and desserts. While accepting a second serving of the main course might please the hostess, be sure to not eat too much as declining everything else might not be so pleasing.

To acceptthea second serving, you could simply say “volontiers, c’est délicieux“, which means that you’ll accepthe a second serving with pleasure anadding a complimeng t that it is delicious.

To refuse, simply say “non merci, c’est délicieux mais je n’ai pas tres faim”, meaning “it’s delicious, but no thank you”.

Don’t Like Certain Foods?

No problem. You can always just eat what you like and leave what you don’t. Be sure to leave what you don’t like on the side, don’t push your food apart and pick a couple of bites as this is considered quite rude to the French.

The French take their culture and food very seriously and you’ll be impressing them if you can lock the etiquette down. You’ll be feeling like the French in no time.