French culture: 10 rules of table manners

To integrate well, it is also important to understand the rules of French etiquette, so as not to be considered rude or ill-mannered. So, I have listed the most important ones, there are others to know, but if you know these ones, you should be fine! The rules of table manners in france

The most general advices we can give :

1 – First of all, know how to behave at the table: you stand up straight and sit well on your chair: not slumped on his chair (cf image), it seems simple, but it is an important base.

2 – You bring the fork to your mouth and not your mouth to the fork. Basically: you stand straight and do not lean your head into your plate, but you bring the fork to your mouth.

3 – You don’t put your whole forearm on the table, like the man wearing a blue shirt in the picture. It looks soft… and shows that you have no energy… especially since this position encourages you to lean your head towards your plate (see n°2).

4 – You use your cutlery correctly at the table, there is a very good video here :

Once you are comfortable at the table: Make French friends!


5 – Don’t make noise : No mouth noise. We close our mouths when we eat (so that everyone doesn’t hear the sounds of chewing or sucking (soup), and we don’t burp at the table (oh no! Very rude!). Or sucking (soup), and we don’t burp at the table (oh no! Very rude!). An essential rule of good manners!

Here comes the detailed advices :

6 – We don’t spit on the ground. Indeed, if you don’t like a food, (or if you have bones in your meat) you have to put it on the side of your plate, at the top of the plate (the farthest from you).

7 – We don’t talk with our mouth full, wait until you have finished your meal before speaking or answering someone.

8 – Do not put your hands under the table, they must remain visible.

9 – Do not put your arm in front of your neighbor to catch the salt, ask him politely.

10 – We clean our plate, if there is food in it: roughly, we put what we did not eat in a corner of our plate, with a piece of bread if necessary. This facilitates the work of the one who cleans (the hostess), it is a sign of respect.

Finally, a little advice as a gift! We don’t say, « That’s not good! « . But we say « I don’t like it », no I’m kidding, we don’t say anything, of course! And we finish our plate with a smile! ?

The vocabulary to help you understand everything at the table:

Une règle : here, a way of doing things, a habit.

Un savoir-vivre: knowledge and practice of the rules of politeness and usage.

Un/e Malpoli/e : one who is not polite.

Un/e mal élevé/e : rude, impolite, uneducated (raised).

Répertorier : to classify.

Avachir : to make soft, without energy.

Inciter : encourage to… , push to…

Une mastication : the action of crushing food with the teeth.

Une succion : to suck a liquid through the mouth.

« En gros » (expression) : in the main, for the most part.

La maîtresse de maison: the person who runs the house, who receives guests (not used much nowadays).



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The rules of table manners in france