What NOT to do in France: Avoid These Faux Pas in France!


Salut youtube today I wanted to chat
about some of the things that I’ve learned through living in France over
the last five years around the things you do NOT do in France, whether that be you’re visiting or you just moved here or you’re living here I’m talking about
those kinds of social faux pas. Faux pas is of course a French word and it
literally means a false step but we’re talking about those social blunders
those things that kind of violate social norms and the things that are just gonna
make you stand out here you’ll probably notice as we go through the list that I
am speaking from experience in most of these cases the times that I’ve
absolutely embarrassed myself where I wasn’t really sure of the etiquette and
so I’m sharing these hard-earned lessons with you guys so that you don’t make the
same mistakes so with all that said and done let’s move on to the things that
you do not do in France. The first thing that you should not be doing here in
France is speaking too loudly if you’re in a public place if you’re in a
supermarket if you’re standing in a queue if you’re on the metro system in
Paris you definitely should use your inside voices and don’t speak too loudly. The French definitely have quieter more subtle voices and they don’t come
across as very loud and very brash and very overly excited and
enthusiastic and loud when they’re in public places at least I’ve noticed that
the French can be quite adverse to noise in general so you will definitely get
dirty looks if you’re speaking too loudly you’ve got to just group together
stay a bit hush-hush and talk amongst yourselves.You’ll notice if you take the
metro in Paris for example that it’s almost always deadly silent not only
speaking with a super loud voice and saying hi how are you not only is it
disturbing to the French ears I think but it also immediately pinpoints you as
a foreigner and it can you find an easy target for pickpockets.
The next thing that you do not do in France is to ask a French person what
part of Paris they come from because a lot of the French people in Paris are
not from Paris and they’re very proud of the fact that they’re not from Paris
there’s definitely like this national thing between people who live in Paris
the Parsians versus the French people that live outside of Paris as many many
French people tell me Paris is not France if you ask someone who’s here for
the weekend from the Pyrenees and you meet them and you say “oh what part of Paris are you from?!” they’ll be like ah typical ignorant tourists and we do not
want that! The next thing that you do not do in France is not to control your kids
in France the approach to parenting is perhaps a little bit more structured and
disciplined than what we’d be used to in u.s. Australia New Zealand maybe even
the UK and in general as a result you do find that it kids are quite quiet and
well behaved in public I know what you’re thinking kids will be kids but
I’m just warning you that it could come with some pretty dirty looks I’ve been
on the TGV train system a few times here in France and there have been you know
little six-month-old babies playing with keys and obviously when you’re banging
keys on a table and stuff it makes a clanking kind of noise there were
several French people who were giving the parents eyes like this like they
were even woman who was sort of turning around and going shhh and they start sort of
getting quite agitated and they may even huff and puff if you aren’t showing
that you’re in control of your kids and making sure that they’re respecting
their environment around them and keeping the noise levels low you may be
told off or scorned by French people so although we may be used to letting our
kids run free in restaurants because they’re too bored sitting at the table
that’s not really okay here The next social faux pas will come in
handy if you are to eat with the French or be invited around to French home to enjoy a meal just note that you never start eating before
every person at the table has been served and there’s a definite moment
where you can tell where it’s okay to start and usually that’s by the host or
hostess who will kind of pick up their cutlery and say Bon Appetit and they’ll
start making the gesture that it’s okay to start eating and that’s when you can
start eating. On that note, never serve yourself a drink before offering to
serve everyone else at the table The next social faux pas to keep in mind is don’t flaunt your money really not appreciated to flaunt successes and
riches you know the big blingy diamonds talking about how you got a big
promotion and a big raise at work these kinds of things are definitely not
appreciated in the French culture you should never make people around you feel
inferior to you and so showing off your money could potentially be a way to make
other people feel inferior to you or that they have less than you you may not
even realize you’re doing it it may be as simple as talking about your brand
new car and then mentioning the price that you bought it at while that might
be sort of okay for us to talk about money, in France in front it could be seen as
bragging or sort of sending signals about how much wealth you have so just
be careful about that kind of thing. If you’re lucky enough to be invited to a
party in France be careful not to show up on time in France you do hear about
this ‘quart d’heure de politesse’ and it basically translates to the polite 15
minutes which means in general you should show up maybe 10 to 15 minutes
late but it completely depends on the people it depends on the region but just
keep in mind that turning up perfectly on time may it be a source of stress or
inconvenience for the host or hostess because they may not be perfectly ready
yet I think in general your plane at safe if you turn that maybe 10 to 15
minutes late and speaking of showing up to parties
don’t show up to parties without bringing something I know that this is
be quite universal but even if the host says no no no don’t worry about it
don’t bring something really sort of insist and a really classic thing to
take just so that you don’t turn up empty-handed a classic is at least a nice fresh baguette from the bakery if you’ve been invited round to dinner for example. The
next social faux pas would be to turn up to any sort of social gathering or
situation whether that be with two people or ten people and not say hello
to everybody and when you leave say goodbye to everybody and yes this can be
a hassle like if you’re in a party with 40 people it can be quite annoying going
around the whole room doing the bise saying Rosie, enchanté, Rosie, enchanté, you
know it is a little bit repetitive but it’s very important and when you say
goodbye ideally it would be nice too if you said goodbye to every person as well.The next thing not to do in France may seem a little bit illogical but don’t be
too friendly so I remember when I arrived in France one of the first
cities that I went to was Montpellier I just did the New Zealand way so I got
onto the tram system with people public transport and I’d smile at people and
say Bonjour and sit right beside them and say Comment Allez-Vous? and once this little old lady actually took her handbag and slightly turned
away from me like please steal my bag and it was in this moment where I
realized this is not normal here and this was in the South of France I mean
it’s even worse in Paris if you’re smiling at people they may get a bit
freaked out they may be a bit skeptical of you like what does this person want
from me and then actually even when you get to know people a little bit more
don’t get too personal too quickly so even though you may be completely
comfortable talking about love, sex, that boss you hate, the fight you and your
partner had the other week that may make some French people feel a little bit
embarrassed that’s a lot you know up front for them
for someone that they don’t know so well so definitely just let them take the
lead in terms of the level of conversation and see where they go with
it because you don’t want to come on too strong too soon. The next one may be
obvious because you are of course in France that sometimes it’s pretty hard
to resist don’t hug French people well at least the ones
that you don’t know very very well I think in France sometimes family members hug sometimes in France of course you’ve got
to do La Bise the cheek kissing because if you hug a French person they’ll
probably feel very uncomfortable like what is happening what is happening that
feels so intimate for them I know for us the thought of kissing is very intimate
and we’re like wow that’s so intimate that you have to kiss strangers but for them
a hug you know it’s full body to body and actually for them that’s a lot more
intimate than the cheek kissing. The next faux pas is when you’re eating out
in a restaurant for example in general I wouldn’t ask for a doggie bag, you’ll find in France that they’re pretty good at serving you the right portion sizes
anyways I have had some French people advise me as well that you shouldn’t
have a soft drink with lots of ice of it with a good meal I would also say just
while we’re on the topic of eating out in France is not really to ask for a lot
of modifications to the meal you may ask to get your eggs benedict with your
hollandaise sauce on the side or you may order a salad and ask for the dressing
to be put on the side so that you’re in control of how much dressing that you
put on in France again this is something that they usually are quite good at and
they usually do get right so there’s not usually any need to ask for these kinds
of modifications to the meal. The next faux pas is not to complain too much
about things that the French have fought really hard for and a concrete example of this is complaining that there’s no shops open on the Sundays for
example so are no shops open on Sundays I don’t know how you guys survive it’s
so inconvenient or the fact that the French only work 35 hours a week you
know France has a long history of fighting for their rights and achieving
extremely high levels of social protection so just be a little bit
careful when you’re making jokes on these kinds of topics because they may
be a little bit sensitive to those. That’s all I had on my list for today
guys I’ve got some awesome French people who are subscribed to my channel so I
hope they’ll help us out down below my mentioning some more things that could
be seen as a bit of a social faux pas but in general of course if you are
coming to France for the first time or thinking of visiting again just
remember that Paris is the number one tourist destination of the world so if
you do make any little faux pas honestly they would have seen it all
before don’t be too worried about it don’t be
stressed about coming I just hope that this might help in a little way so that
you don’t make any of the major ones. That’s all from me for this time guys I
hope you’re having a fantastic week until next time, à bientôt!

100 thoughts on “What NOT to do in France: Avoid These Faux Pas in France!

  1. Salut Youtube! The French culture is rich and amazing but also full of unwritten scoial rules.. If I have missed any major ones, please add them dwn below! 👏🙂A bientôt !

  2. Bonjour 🙂 bravo, et c’est assez exhaustifs sur ce les faux pas 🙂 je comprends la probematique car je suis parti vivre dans un autre pays 🙂 continué comme ca 🙂

  3. Theres one thing here that is wrong :

    do NOT bring a baguette when you're invited to eat at someone's house,
    Pretty much everyone has one and your host will probably buy one if he invite you to dinner anyway.

    Instead, you could bring wine, flowers or (i don't remember how these are called in english) pattisseries.

  4. Jamais entendu parler du quart de politesse et personnellement j'ai plus tendance à mal voir les gens en retard que les gens à l'heure. Si ils ont pas fini de préparé, c'est de leurs faute, l'heur c'est l'heur.

  5. Très bonne analyse. Chaque particularité de notre culture est expliquée (ce n'est donc pas juste un tas de détails bizarres, il y a de vraies raisons à nos habitudes).
    Le point de vue est modeste et sans jugement. Merci 🙂

  6. Un autre truc, au restaurant, (j’ai fait ce toute mon enfance et c’est vrai que c’est énervant 😂) on évite d’aspirer avec sa paille la fin de son verre

  7. Putain, I didn't realized that we where such assholes!
    But not all french people are that sensitive! You can shout out in my subway if you want, and I'll be glad if you come right on time to my party, even if you don't bring anything 🙂
    Kiss from another french person (you're here for 5 years now? That makes you quite a french person too :p)

  8. Message du peuple brésilien à Macron, chez vous en France, prenez soin de votre vie Marine Le Pen arrive, vous avez laissé notre église incendiée.

  9. I'm french, and I just can't stop laughing! It's so, true ! Exept for the baguette, they probably already have enough fresh bread, no need to bring any. I usualy bring wine, in France a good bottle doesnt have to be expensive.

  10. I'm a French girl, and a mom, and honestly I think people are sometimes very intolerant with kids. What you said is true but some people are very oppressive when you have kid. And also, many French people dislike doing "La bise". It's hard to find strategy to avoid it! But sometimes, especially when people are many, you can Just say "hello" 👋 to everybody

  11. What I think about france: frog leg, baguette, onion, awful car brands that used to be top notch, pissing in streets of paris, eiffel tower, french kiss, fragile men, parkour, napoleon bonaparte and the last but not least: SURRENDERNG at the spot. Get offended french people lol

  12. Toute attitude qui peut paraitre hautaine, arrogante est mal vécue ici, même si certains français ne s'en privent pas mais généralement on est plus enclin à apprécier une personne humble.

  13. 5:59 Bonjour, je suis française et je peux vous dire qu'il faut arrivé a l'heur ! c'est faut après tu ne peux pas tout savoir c'est pas grave sinon le reste est plutôt vrais et mêmesi pour moi cela parais logique,tu a raizon de préssisé certaine chose Bonne journée,A+

  14. Je suis d'accord sur tout sauf le coup de la baguette. En vrai ça ne se faiit pas vraiment de ramener une baguette, en général on ramène plutôt du vin ou des fleurs.

  15. Wow so basically no visual/physical contact😂 I gotta say its so hard for me as a latina we are super social and empathic with almost everyone.

  16. Omg, i remember i once went to paris to visit my younger brother, and we took the bus, and as we were getting on it, some people started to complain loudly about how crowded the bus was, then my brother let out a " on se calm s'il vous plait" which roughly means " take it easy guys"… then the bus went dead silent… i was amazed.

  17. J'aime, je suis français et déjà le premier point je le respecte pas ! 😂 j'ai tendance à parler fort dans les métros surtout

  18. Good manners and "savoir-vivre" also vary greatly depending on the friendly proximity of people, the social, cultural environment…Two very rude things, saying "enchanté" and wishing "bon appétit" : never to do, it's very vulgar !
    For example, at a formal dinner, at a certain level of society… we arrive empty-handed. It is good practice to have flowers delivered the day or the day before, to send a thank-you note the next day. Table placement is also very important. The most important person is always to the right of the Mistress of the house. At the table, "les bonnes manières" are very important : wipe your mouth before drinking and after, do not use the bread to finish the sauce (even ultra-delicious), do not put your elbows on the table, do not cut the salad with a knife but fold it with your fork with a piece of bread, wait for the housewife to give the signal to eat, the position of the cutlery on the plate indicate if you have finished eating or continue, some topics should not be discussed at a dinner: politics, money, religion…. it is quite complex and can vary greatly from one social environment to another. stand up straight, a woman never crosses her legs…. @laurenrd2c #laurentd2c

    Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator

  19. Je suis française, et toi ce que tu as cité, pour moi c’est tellement normal et je n’y fais plus attention, car c’est comme « automatique ». Mais c’est vrai que le fait d’expliquer comme tu l’as fais, c’est vraiment instructif et quand y réfléchis c’est même plutôt, bizarre !

  20. In the subway strangers don't talk to each others but if you know someone of course they can speak but it is true that they won't speak loud. People look cold because we are strangers to each others and so it would be strange to smile to people or talk to them, so people avoid eye contact and just don't speak. But when someone smiles at you, people would smile back unless this person is confused or shy or in a bad mood. In general, we smile when we made eye contact with someone else for a approximatively 3 seconds, because it's awkward.

  21. I would add: keep a good distance to a person, never come to near or even touch a person, if you its a family member or a friend. La bise is a fake kiss, just slightly touching the cheeks and just moving the lips for a kiss, beginning at the left side, 2, 3 or 4 times. Bring a bottle of wine or home made chocolates (from the best patisserie in town).

  22. Might be hard for someone with autism or dispraxia to not be loud. I tend to laugh loud or get loud if I panicked but not so much other than loud laughing.

  23. You should probalby give some advice on the facebook goup "New Zealand Backpakers" cause I've spent a few mouths in NZ and your videos, if I had discovered them earlyer, would have saved me a lot of awkward situations… Anyway, I love what you do and even though this video is quite old, I hope you get the chance to read that comment !
    Best regards !

  24. Im sorry but if anyone gives me a dirty look over one of my nieces being loud or wtvr then HE is the one making the faux-pas or wtvr and he can suck my fkn dick. I dont put up with assholes who will feel bothered because they cannot comprehend someone is 3 or 4 years old.

  25. Some years back whilst in France we'd had so much work to do to a property before we were to leave to come back to Australia and we were running out of time when an old school friend and his wife came to help out with last minute jobs. I was so grateful to the husband for helping my stressed out boyfriend that I hugged him…yikes! He was very uncomfortable and his wife was horrified! She grabbed my boyfriend and hugged him in a loud and sarcastic way. This haunted me for a couple of years until I finally understood that they do not hug. I do however think her response was a little OTT !! Anyhow, time has shown her that I was not making a move on her man, in my kitchen, in front of everyone grrr!

  26. just dont go esp paris you will not get a moments rest from scammers from the taxis to the hotel to the shops, cafes and on the street – only place you didnt get scammed was notre dame

  27. I am almost OK with your description of the "french etiquette" except two points : Do not bring a baguette when you are invited by French friends …unless you want them laugh, you can bring a bottle of wine, flowers or more interesting a little thing from your country ! Then I am not sure the 10-15 minutes will always be correct, particurlarly at the restaurant or for a rendez-vous.

    Two other important points : Say "Bonjour" when you enter a little shop (not for a big shop like Galeries Lafayette, of course) and "Au Revoir" when you leave. And, very important, hold the door when you enter or leave a shop, to the closely following person … a lot of french people do not hold the door in such situation and they really are considered as very malpolite people.
    (Excuse my poor english, I'm french)

  28. Les gens en France, est-ce qu’ils utilisent les espèces ou carte? Est ce qu’ils misent d’argent sur la table aux magasins?

  29. HUGE faux pas: shake the hand of a girl you're meeting for the first time whereas it's not a professional meeting. if it's professional, you have to shake hands of course, but this is the only case. If you shake the hand of a girl you're meeting for the first time it either mean you're extremely polite (far too polite) or, and that's how she will interpret it: you're thinking she's a boy.

  30. At the end every one have his/her own personality, you're not forced to do things you don't like or believe in.
    You just be you, remember your values and priorities, and they'll respect that.
    I'm from France by the way ✌🏼

  31. Not showing off your finances , wow I wish it was bad manners here in North America , when I look around my family and friends and see their wealth , the way they brag about it and I have none . It is easy to figure out how I feel.

  32. On pourrait rajouter: ne pas respirer trop fort, cela peut irriter ton voisin, dire absolument Bonjour avant de s'adresser à quelqu'un. Essayer de parler en Français avant l'anglais. Etre coquette même pour acheter ta baguette et apporter une pâtisserie, un gâteau, le plateau de fromage à un dîner.

  33. the french, the arrogance is unbelievable.. the misplaced feeling supriority also very anoying. also the slowness of getting things done is irritating and what about their lack of the english language.

  34. 35 hours a week sounds wonderful. I wish I could just work 40 hours and have the money I need.

    Wish I could move there.

  35. I smile so much , it’s hard for me to be very friendly… good thing to know not to hug people! I’m a hugger 🤦🏼‍♀️😂! I may be moving to France I’m in January I need to practice not doing that.. Very interesting video!

  36. c'est sur on ai moins bruyant que les espagnols le mieux c'est en suisses ou l'on entend les mouches volé en pleine rue!!

  37. I love my country even more when I listen to strangers talking about it hahaha
    If you wanna know who you usually can hug in France, that's quite simple : hugging is mostly for couples. Hugs are a love proof, in France, while la bise is more about friendliness.

    The the cheek kissing really needs some practice, because you really have to feel if the person in front of you is ok with it or if you have to shake his hand. Depending of the context, you can use it with complete unknowns. It really depends of the feeling -and of some rules that are written in this comment. Sometime, your coworkers and managers will use the cheek kiss and in other compagnies they won't.

    Mens will stick to the hand-shaking with other mens in some regions even if they are friends while in other parts of the country it's okay to cheek-kiss between mens. But when they are relatives, mens can cheek-kiss quite everywhere in the country but it depends of the wealthyness of the familly. Old wealthy families (not the startupers, the new rich peoples etc.) can be quite strict about how you greet people and even siblings.

    Back to the hug : so, as said before, the hug is often a proof of love, here. You can hug people you usually wouldn't, when they're having a hard time but else it's for really, really good friends, for your girl/boyfriend or your parents. In the familly, it depends but it's often restricted to parents and siblings or a relative that your are especially close with.

    And YES, always say "Bonjour" and "Au revoir" . Always greet people. Even if you're late and you don't want to disturb people, greet them -else they get really rude, they won't try to understand that it was well intentionned. An extra advice : you can use "Bonne journée" (have a nice day) or "Bonne soirée" (have a nice evening) instead of "Au revoir" , it's nicer. Less formal (still formal) but nicer.

    That's mostly it ! If you read this before visiting France, you'll be more ready than any one to greet french people 😂

    PS : if you wonder, it's UN pain au chocolat, UN croissant and UNE baguette.

  38. C'est extrêmement drôle de voir comment on est caractérisés, je ne me rend pas vraiment compte. Apres je dois dire que le bébé de 6 mois qui fait du bruit…c'est abuser. Mais c'est vrai que enfaite on est grave silencieux 😂😂

  39. One thing I noticed as a Dane while living with a French family for a week was that helping out with the dishes as a guest wasn’t seen as the polite gesture that it is where I’m from.

  40. K that first point – my cousins in France are probably the loudest people i know. They don’t care and are usually loud for example on the tube

  41. Vous êtes très intelligente et respectueuse… J'espère que nos compatriotes expatriés à l'étranger le sont tout autant…

  42. The main difference in American culture, and French culture is that, when we Americans encounter a person(s) from a foreign country, we always understand that the foreign person is in an unfamiliar country and we'll be quick to help them in any way we can. We'd never snub them, criticize them, make fun of them, laugh at them, or make them feel uncomfortable in any way — unlike the egotistical French.

  43. This actually counts in all european countries. Parents not controlling their kids are super annoying and means they, the parent's don't care and have bad manners.

  44. French and Dutch people are so freaking grumpy and complaining about everything 😤 so tiring! Thank God not all but most of them 😳

  45. "Si vous souriez aux gens, ça peut leur faire peur et ils peuvent se poser des questions" mdr tu as touché un point sensible.
    Sinon, je ne sais pas qui t'a conseillé d'amener une baguette pour une invitation a dîner, mais il doit encore en rire !

  46. On aime pas quand on ne parle pas français chez nous aussi car quand on va à l étranger on est obliger de s adapter avec l anglais et normalement sa doit être l inverse et vois devez faire l effort en retour car on parle pas très bien anglais en france

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