They say that “manners maketh man,” and I’ve always thought there’s a lot of truth in that. Especially when travelling. As travel bans are about to be lifted, and we’ll be moving around again, I know that many of you – like me – are looking forward to leaving home and getting out to explore again, including enjoying other cultures.
I remember when I first arrived in France many decades ago, I was very aware of the importance of etiquette. Having been raised in a family where a lot of attention was paid to table manners, I was particularly concerned not to get it wrong.
One memorable moment is when I was invited to lunch by rather a grand family in the Loire Valley. They served a cheese soufflé at the start of the meal, and the ambiance at the table was almost religious. A cheese soufflé is notoriously temperamental and apt to sink if not served immediately from the oven. We were ushered to our places well before the savoury appetiser was ready. The grandmother took the head of the table, and everyone followed her lead. We waited for her to be seated before easing into our own chairs, we waited for her to unfold her napkin, and her wine glass was the first to be filled.
This meal made a very deep (and delicious) impression on me, as a young girl still discovering France.
For you here is a light-hearted look at table etiquette. I filmed this video with my friends Octavie and Cécile in their lovely store, Maison du Bac, in the 7th arrondissement in Paris. They specialise in tableware and bring to their work all their family traditions and savoir-vivre. We chat about French table etiquette, manners and customs; family meals and France and more!
I hope you enjoy this little video!