After having discussed the “costs of studying and living in France” and completing our series of articles on studying in France, there remains the subject of French customs and traditions. The goal is to help you adapt to society and make the most of your stay in France.
Customs and Traditions in France
First of all, official working hours in French governmental and private institutions are generally from Monday morning to Friday evening. Weekends are Saturday and Sunday, work resumes on Monday, and so on.
Then, the working hours start from 8:30 in the morning until 12:30 in the afternoon. Afterward, there is a lunch break of one and a half hours. Then, work resumes from two in the afternoon until half past five in the evening.
In addition, some schools start half an hour or an hour late at most. Others extend their hours by an extra hour or half-hour after five. Others, on the other hand, end at four o’clock, depending on the internal regulations of the various institutions.
On the other hand, banks start their official activities by receiving clients at nine o’clock in the morning. They end at five o’clock from Monday to Friday. In addition, many different banks open their doors on Saturdays from nine o’clock in the morning. They close at one in the afternoon. On Sundays, all banks are closed.
Post offices follow the same working system as banks. But on Saturdays, they are open from eight in the morning until noon. Otherwise, in many different large French cities, there is a post office that operates continuously.
In addition, the official holidays are New Year’s Day, Easter Day, Labor Day, Allied Victory in 1945 (May 8), Ascension Day, Pentecost, Bastille Day (July 14), Assumption Day (August 15), All Saints’ Day (November 1), Armistice Day 1918 (November 11), and Christmas (December 25).
Habits and traditions of the French society
Every society has its own habits and traditions, some positive, some negative. French society also has its positive and negative sides. We can summarize these French habits and traditions by the following points:
French society has many different habits related to etiquette. They are related to the way of sitting, greeting, talking to women, and eating. The French way of life depends a lot on these etiquettes.
The French pay a lot of attention to formalities when talking to foreigners. In addition, they prefer to speak in low voices, especially when eating.
French society is very proud of the French language. Therefore, it is important to learn this language.
French society is also proud of its eloquence in dialogue and debate. They attach more importance to this than to the purpose and logic of the debate.
In addition, they do not prefer to exchange glances with strangers or smile at people they do not know. It is considered rude if the person in front of them does not introduce themselves or say why they are looking in their direction.
Despite the hospitality and the fact that the French are very close to their friends and family members, they are very serious and formal with strangers. In addition, they often use the words “monsieur” or “madame” when addressing people they don’t know. And they demand that you do the same with them.
It is a fact that French society respects women very much. Therefore, you should not address a woman or girl in front of other people without using the word “madame” or “mademoiselle”. Also, the rules of decency and gallantry towards women must be respected at all times in public.
French society is very streamlined at work, with literally many different rules and procedures to follow.
In addition, they are very picky about punctuality, especially at work. It is therefore frowned upon to arrive late to the office or to keep someone waiting for more than 5 minutes in a public place.
In addition, the French do not want to try to close a deal during a meal. This would degrade the atmosphere of the meal as the guest would feel trapped.
The French prefer a quick handshake when they meet. Warm greetings are reserved for family members and close friends. In discussions, they are very practical and like to get straight to the point.
Finally, gastronomy is inseparable from French society. In fact, it is one of the best-rated cuisines in the world by UNESCO. Moreover, UNESCO has added French cuisine and the rituals of its presentation to the list of intangible human cultural heritage. Basically, French cuisine is characterized by its good taste. And it has had an impact on many different cuisines in Europe.