Customs and Traditions of France
According to Countryaah, the official language in France is French. In Alsace and Lorraine, many people speak German dialects, Flemish in Flanders, Breton in Brittany and Provençal in Provence.
Most of the believing inhabitants of France profess Catholicism, adherents of Islam live here much less, and Protestants and Jews make up an insignificant part of the religious population.
Holidays and non-working days in France:
- January 1 (New Year);
- May 1 (Labor Day);
- May 8 (Liberation Day);
- May 20 (Ascension);
- May 30-31 (Trinity);
- July 14 (Bastille Day);
- August 15 (Assumption of the Virgin);
- November 1 (All Saints Day);
- November 11 (World War I Armistice Day);
- December 25 (Christmas).
The peculiarities of the behavior of the French may cause bewilderment among tourists from other countries who are not familiar with local traditions.
In the French metro, it is not customary to give up your seat, it is not customary to talk with fellow travelers, wondering if they will get off at the next stop. Usually in such cases, you can just silently move towards the exit, apologizing if you caused inconvenience.
It is not customary to ask passers-by on the street for a cigarette.
Polite treatment of hotel staff is highly encouraged, it is customary here to greet and say goodbye to those who provide you with a service, even if you are unfamiliar with them.
If you went to a cafe, but do not want to order anything, but you need to be in it for some time, ask to bring a glass of water, and no one will ask you to vacate your seat.
As for the traditions of appearance, France is one of the most liberal-minded countries. In a concert hall, a stadium, a shopping center and a theater, you can dress the same way: in jeans and a T-shirt, for example.
France has its own specifics in business etiquette. So, for example, gifts to business partners are not approved, especially in situations where the acquaintance between them barely took place. It is customary to celebrate the successful completion of a deal or official negotiations with a gala dinner, and it is permissible to give a book as a souvenir to a partner. Business issues in this country are usually discussed both in official and informal settings: for example, during lunch or dinner in a restaurant.
Topics for conversation with French interlocutors can be different: these are discussions related to works of art, historical, cultural and natural attractions of France, as well as politics. Check agooddir for recent history of France.
As a rule, the interest shown by foreign citizens in the culture and social system of their country is perceived by the French extremely favorably. However, it is not recommended to touch on topics related to the personal life of the interlocutor, his income level, relationships in the team, health and disease, and you should not disclose such information about yourself.
Meals in France tend to be long. While visiting, you should not add spices and salt to the served dishes to taste during dinner, with a greater degree of probability, this will be perceived as a sign of disrespect for the owners of the house. Before the start of dinner, guests are served an aperitif, then, during the meal, several glasses of wine, and the dinner concludes with a digestif (a glass of fruit vodka or a glass of cognac or liquor) served after coffee.
It is curious that France also celebrates the holiday known to Russian residents on April 1, but much more magnificently than in Russia, and in many French cities it is accompanied by carnival processions. In addition, in France this is not a fool’s day, as in Russia, but fish. On April 1, it is customary to stick paper fish of the most cheerful colors on each other’s clothes. The national tradition of this holiday goes back, apparently, to the Christian end of religious fasting on this day.