A Guide to French Etiquette for International Students

A Guide to French Etiquette for International Students

A Guide to French Etiquette for International Students
A lot of visitors to a foreign country are daunted that they may offend someone in their stay. They are nervous and carefully act to prevent themselves from committing a faux pas.

If you are planning to study in France, it is customary that you follow their cultural norms and respect their traditions. By doing this, you make yourself acknowledge their culture and inheritance which makes them respect you even more.

French locals are known to be closed and inattentive most often. But as someone who lives in a foreign country, you need to understand their actions and behaviors.

Here are some etiquette tips that may be useful for you:


If you are living in France, you are expected to speak French, even the simple ones. At least try to make an effort to greet locals with “Bonjour” in the mornings, and “Bonsoir” in the evenings. Although it may be daunting to speak a new language that you think may embarrass you with the pronunciation, you should give it a try. Doing this will benefit you as locals will provide you with better service. They won’t remember your mistakes but instead will appreciate your effort.

Moreover, you need to keep in mind that their first language is not English. So, you must speak slowly when you use English in conversations. Avoid any awkwardness by speaking slowly for them to fully grasp what you’re trying to say.


Dining in French restaurants usually includes a service charge. Tipping is not required, but you can give if you’re impressed by the server’s good service. Tips help because waiters only receive the minimum wage. Drivers also need not be tipped but if you got yourself a very nice trip, you can add some extra EUR to your fare. For tour guides, tips are customary. You can give between 5€ and 20€ for a group tour.


France has an excellent palate for coffee. Unlike many countries, to-go coffees are not a thing in France. French locals take their time and enjoy what they are doing at the moment. So, if you want to grab a coffee, try to take a seat and relax while sipping it, then munch on a French-classic croissant.

Waiting in line

The people in France are very orderly, up to bus stops, stores, markets, and everywhere else. They wait in line until their turn. So, if you see a line, do not squeeze yourself in and understand that everyone else is also waiting.


In the country, it is common to “Faire la bise.” A simple thank you and goodbye is a gesture that everyone in France acknowledges. You might even be confused about whether to kiss or not to kiss a person when meeting them.

The key here is paying attention. Watch everyone else and follow their lead. But usually, two kisses are given, one each per cheek. And it is up to you whether you will land your lips to their skin. French people are not sensitive to this kind of gesture. In fact, they are very affectionate and will show you their love when they want to.

Explore France from a new perspective by checking out more articles here at MSM Unify.


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