French Customs & Etiquette: A Practical Handbook

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9789833845057: French Customs & Etiquette: A Practical Handbook

The 18th century Sun King surrounded himself with an elaborate and rigid protocol at Versailles. Forms of address followed intricate rules. Unforgiving rules were the code with which the king exercised his absolute authority, projected the grandeur of his function, and punished or rewarded the men who served him. Modern etiquette still advertises our status, education and taste. It helps us acknowledge the position of others and treat our fellows with the respect and consideration with which we would like them to reciprocate. Etiquette eases social intercourse. It is the avoidance of gestures, attitudes and words that will offend. It helps to make the other feel appreciated, respected and welcome. French standards of politeness have evolved. This book takes you through French customs, mores and traditions. It does not aim to be an exhaustive manual on French customs. Its purpose is to help newcomers fit in and get the most of their stay, without losing their soul in the process. The French may appear a little abrupt and unforgiving at times towards what they view as awkward behaviour. What follows is intended to help avoid the most obvious pitfalls. It will help you navigate the subtleties of French politesse and character, their regional differences, gastronomic nuances, and business etiquette. Packed with information, it will help the first time traveller, prospective businessman or long term visitor alike as well as any reader wishing to find out more about France to understand this complex and challenging society. A broad, universal set of values underpins basic social propriety, but local traditions, trends, climate, historical circumstances, social mores and superstitions have moulded differently people's expectations of what is proper behaviour, which is important if one wants to socialise, be appreciated or simply 'do business' and not antagonise people involuntarily.

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About the Author:

Christine Sathiah was born in Paris of a Spanish father and French mother. She studied French Literature and English at the Sorbonne University and also holds a First Class Honours degree in Political Science and International Relations from Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand. She speaks several languages, notably French, English and Spanish, as well as Italian and some Russian. Married to a Malaysian diplomat, she spent many years living and traveling in various countries, including France, Spain, the United Kingdom, the former Soviet Union, Cambodia, New Zealand, Thailand, Brazil and Belgium. Currently, she is living with her husband in Penang (Malaysia) and writing a book on interesting experiences as a diplomat's wife.

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