Do British women sorely need French etiquette less...

Do British women sorely need French etiquette lessons?

The stereotypical French woman just has a certain way about her, doesn’t she. Sure, the food can be hit and miss (macarons yes, snails no), but there’s no denying they’re seen as poised, highly fashionable, full of charm and grace. And a cheeky holiday with the love of your life in the French Riviera is far more appealing than a weekend in Torbay, the English version of Cannes. I know. Doesn’t really compare.

So Frenchologie, the luxury lifestyle website dedicated to all things French, has launched a French etiquette programme to bring a touch of je ne sais quoi to British women. Its founders, Beatrice Drovandi and Cecilia Cauville, have prepared the guide as an introduction for people who want to navigate the complexities of French social culture, from the correct number of kisses in a greeting to the right way to share a meal with friends.

Which is news to me. When I’m invited for a meal with friends it’s usually a loud welcome, hands flying in the air, heads held in hands while cheeks are kissed, bottles of wine being exchanged, and straight into the kitchen to start the food. Followed by wine, spillages (food and drink), laughter, gossip, and rounded off with a whisky and some kind of game, usually made up by one of the girls. I blame my mental friends and Sicilian upbringing for this. That’s how I share a meal with friends. It seems I’ve lots to learn.

Cecilia Cauville, co-founder of Frenchologie, commented: “French women are renowned internationally for their simple and classic elegance. Our guide to etiquette will allow women to learn a little more about how to comport themselves in a way that exudes the style of les Parisiennes.”

Tips from the guide include:

  • Bring flowers to a dinner party, but make sure you bring an odd number (as long as it is not unlucky 13).
  • Call ahead to apologise if you’re likely to be more than 10 minutes.
  • Don’t start eating until the host says ‘bon appetit’
  • Greet your host with a kiss on each cheek if you have met them before, but a handshake is appropriate if it is your first meeting
  • Make sure you keep wrists above, and elbows off, the table at all times.
  • Eat with your fork in your left hand and your knife in your right.
  • Don’t add seasoning to your food as this implies the food is tasteless or poorly done.

It seems like I’ve got a lot to learn when it comes to French etiquette. What about you? Do you think British women can benefit from our polished French counterparts? Or is your culture’s tradition more free spirit than formal? Let us know in the comments below, or send us a tweet @sixoutoftenmag.