Tutorial Transcript

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!