Learn about the customs of French society

After we clarified “the costs of studying and living in France”, and to complete our series of articles about studying in French, we put in your hands the customs and traditions of French society article to help you adapt to the society and to make the most of benefit from your stay in France.

Customs and Traditions in France

First of all, the official working hours in the French governmental and private institutions are generally from Monday morning to Friday evening. Weekends are on Saturday and Sunday, work resumes on Monday and so on.

On the other hand, working hours start from eight-thirty in the morning until twelve-thirty in the afternoon. Then a lunch break for an hour and a half. Afterward, the work resumes from two in the afternoon until five-thirty in the evening.

Moreover, some institutions start late by half an hour or an hour at most. While others extend their work hours for an additional hour or half an hour beyond five. On the other hand, others end their work at four o’clock, and this depends on the internal regulation of different institutions.

Furthermore, banks start their official business by receiving customers at nine in the morning, and they end at five o’clock, from Monday to Friday. Besides, most banks open their doors on Saturday from nine in the morning until one in the afternoon. Sunday all banks are closed.

Post offices follow the same work system as banks, regardlessof the official working hours of Saturday, which are from eight in the morninguntil twelve noon. Basically, in most major French cities there is a postoffice that works all the time.

Additionally, official holidays are the beginning of the New Year, Easter Day, Labor Day, Victoria Day, Coronation Day, Pentecost, White Monday, Pastel Day, Virgin’s Day, Saints Day, Warriors Day, as well as Christmas.

Habits and traditions of the French society

  • Each society has its own customs and traditions, some of which are negative and positive. French society, like other societies, has its negative and positive aspects. These habits can be summarized in the following points:
  • French society has many habits related to etiquette, such as how to sit, greet, talk to females and eat. Basically, the French lifestyle depends heavily on them.
  • Moreover, the French people make attention to formalities in talking to strangers, and they prefer using a low voice in talking, especially when eating.
  • French society is very proud of its language. Hence, it is better to learn the language.
  • Likewise, French society is proud of its eloquence in dialogue and debate and is not concerned with the focus of the debate as much as the logic behind it.
  • Besides, they do not prefer exchanging looks with strangers or exchanging smiles with people who have no prior knowledge. They consider staring at them as insolence, which may not be praised if the person in front of them does not introduce himself or clarify the reason for his looks at them.
  • Despite the hospitality and intimacy of French society with friends and close relatives, and their will to maintain friendly relations with each other or with their neighbors in the neighborhood in which they reside. They are serious and official with strangers. Moreover, they use the word sir and madam to talk to strangers and expect the same way of dealing with them.
  • As a matter of fact, French society greatly respects women. Therefore, it is not permissible in any case to talk to a woman or a girl in front of others without using the word madam or miss. Also, the rules of decency and gallantry in dealing with females must be followed in front of others in all cases.
  • French society is rational at work and does not depend on the emotions at all. Moreover, they respect those who deal with them the same way.
  • Besides, they care greatly about the accuracy of the appointments. As an illustration, any delay, no matter how little, is considered disrespect and offense to them.
  • Furthermore, the French prefer not to finalize a business deal over a meal, especially lunch, which they consider the most important meal since they enjoy it very much.
  • French people prefer a quick handshake when they meet each other. As for the warm welcome, it is limited to those close to them and friends only. They are very practical and like to target the main topic.
  • At last, French society is very caring about its cuisine. Indeed, it is one of the kitchens that has got good evaluation from UNESCO. Moreover, UNESCO added the French meal and rituals of its presentation to the list of intangible cultural human heritage. Basically, French cuisine is characterized by its wonderful taste and had an impact on most of the other kitchens in Europe.

Check also our ultimate guide about Studying in France

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