Customs in France

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French is the official language of France spoken by over 88% of the population.

The currency used in France is the Euro (EUR) - €

French households are typically a nuclear family dynamic. Members of extended families usually live within close proximity, providing one another with a financial and emotional support network.

Customs and Etiquette in Everyday Life and Socialization

When greeting someone, a quick handshake with a light grip is customary. Upon entering a shop or place of business, it is expected that you say "Bonjour Madame/Mademoiselle/Monsieur" (Good Day, Sir/Ma'am/Miss) or "Bonsoir" (Good Evening) and "Au Revoir" (Good-Bye) when you leave.

If you are invited to someone's home for dinner, bring flowers or a fine wine. If you are bringing flowers, give an odd number (excluding 13) and avoid giving the following: white flowers, red carnations, chrysanthemums and white lilies.

Dress stylishly and arrive on time. Wait to be seated and do not begin eating until your hostess says, "Bon Appétit". Use utensils on all of your food except for bread, which you should not bite into; tear pieces from it. Fruit should be peeled and sliced before eaten. Do not leave food on your plate, as it is considered impolite. The day after the dinner, send a handwritten thank you note to your hostess.

When it comes to gratuity, tipping is accepted and appreciated in France.

• Restaurants: If your service was good, round up the bill or tack on an extra 5%, restaurants are legally required to include a service fee in their bill.
• Taxi drivers: 10% of the cab fare
• Porters and Bellhops: 1.50 Euro per bag
• Hotel housekeepers: 1.50 Euro or more per night

Customs and Etiquette in Business

Appointments for meetings are necessary, and must be made at least 2 weeks prior by telephone or in writing. Avoid scheduling meeting during the summer months, as that is when a majority of the French take their holiday leave.

In a business environment, men should dress in dark colored suits. Women should wear conservative yet elegant dresses or suits accessorized with fine, tasteful jewelry.

Have business cards handy to exchange with others in the office. Have one side printed in French, and make sure to list title and academic degree(s).

Avoid making overzealous statements, as the French are wary of too much "talk".

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