Understanding French culture

France has a distinctive culture, reflecting its long and proud history as a great nation. Every culture has its quirks; what are some of France’s? Let’s take a look.

How to Kiss a Frenchman

French people often greet each other with kisses on the cheek and this custom invariably flummoxes foreigners. How many kisses? Which cheek do you start with? How well must you know someone before you graduate from handshakes to kisses?

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The Art of Being French: The French Waiting Room Protocol

France is a country with a lot of social rules. You say bonjour when you enter a store. You have a salad at the end of a meal rather than the beginning. You kiss your friends rather than hugging them. And then there’s French waiting room protocol; it’s very serious business in France.

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Driving in French

The French road system is excellent. The country is covered by a comprehensive network of autoroutes, along with plenty of secondary roads. These roads are in uniformly good condition and are well-marked so you can find your way.

If there is any downside to the French road system, it would have to be… French drivers.

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Comparing France and America

How do the French and the Americans think about money? How do you politely disagree with someone? And just how long should a dinner party last? I examine these and other questions—you might find the results interesting.

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Do you have examples of cultural differences to share?

About the Contributor

Keith Van Sickle

I am a lifelong traveler who lives part of the year in Provence. I am the author of Are We French Yet and One Sip at a Time, as well as the upcoming An Insider’s Guide to Provence, all available at Amazon. You can follow me on Facebook,  Twitter and keithvansickle.com.

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