You do not need to love to travel in order to dream of visiting European countries someday in the future. Europe is filled with eccentric countries where each country has its own specialty. Experiencing the romance of France, floating along the canals of Venice in Italy, absorbing the striking architecture of the United Kingdom, tasting authentic pizza and lasagna in Rome, sitting by the turquoise waters of Greece with your better half, and quietly walking along the winding streets of Germany – we all want to live these moments first hand.
While attaining all these may be on everyone’s bucket list, if you ever get the opportunity to go on an extensive Europe tour, you will be surprised to see the vast differences that exist among countries belonging to the same continent. France and the United Kingdom both lie in Eastern Europe and are within very close proximity. They are only 1092 km or 679 miles apart and are separated by the Strait of Dover.
Despite all these, the two countries vary greatly in many ordinary aspects. For instance, eating habits, ways of talking, behavior, and lifestyle.
French people and English people have their separate ways of eating along with distinct eating habits. Every country and even every family has some unique eating habits and procedures that they follow collectively. However, if you ever sit to have a meal with a bunch of French people, keep in mind that they have the norm of saying “bon appétit” before starting a meal.
Bon appétit translates to “good appetite” and is used as a salutation to someone who is about to start their meal. In other cases, it may also mean “enjoy your meal” or “I hope you enjoy your food”. However, the British language or culture does not have this practice. So, when they miss out on saying this before starting to eat, the French often get offended.
Apart from that, the French are also very strict about maintaining their eating schedule and time. This is however more relaxed in the United Kingdom. In France, people usually eat lunch at 2 pm and they have dinner after the clock strikes 7 pm. This is a routine the entire population follows and they expect others in their country or region to follow suit.
So, if you are a British who is making plans to visit France, you better know about their eating habits beforehand to avoid glares!
Words And Gestures
French people have a common set of words and phrases that they routinely use in their daily activities and lifestyle. They are not only limited to saying bon appétit. French people find it rude if others are not vocal with salutations and greetings just like them. Their way of talking is very different from the British.
For instance, if you go to any place with people in France, be it stepping into a store or entering a lift, you are automatically expected to greet everyone else by saying “bonjour” which can either mean hello, good day, or good morning in French depending on the context. The British may tend to be quiet and reserved. However, when in France, a British better adhere to their way of talking!
Additionally, it is also considered rude if you leave a place full of people without properly bidding goodbye. For the French, it is simply saying “au revoir” that translates to “goodbye until we meet again”. The French are very serious and finicky about adhering to such norms and behavior.
If you intend to visit France, then learning some essential terms and phrases will be for your betterment as it will help you meld in with a French crowd and save you from embarrassment. Learning these simple terms should be easy as now language barriers are also minimal.
How the French behave is very different from that of British people. To begin with, French people have their distinctive style of greeting. Apart from saying bonjour upon meeting, the French consider it rude of the British when they are not willing to kiss their friends on the cheek as a form of greeting. This is an extremely affectionate way to greet others for people from the United Kingdom as they tend to be more formal.
While all these greetings by words and actions may make the people of France seem exceptionally polite, truth be told they also do not prefer extreme politeness. British people have different conversations and distinctive ways of talking, such as they abstain from talking about politics and religion in order to avoid sparking differences of opinion during the conversation. However, the French term this as being uninteresting and bland during conversations.
The people in France are particular about another behavioral aspect that is deeply etched into their lifestyle. They expect people to show up with flowers or wine when invited to dinner. If you are not doing so, it is considered impolite and ignorant. This is another thing that the people of the United Kingdom really do not care about. So, they do not practice this very often.
When you are in the land of francophone, try not to give your opinions or suggestions unless they are asked for, especially in places such as restaurants. The British are quite frank regarding their advice and recommendations but the French may feel berated with this behavior. Even if you want to throw in your thoughts with the intention to help, try to avoid it as much as you can in order to avoid denigrating glares and stares.
French cuisine is a supreme delicacy and the entire world would agree with this statement. However, there are some things that may not suit your palette. Especially as the British and French cuisine is very different. Constructive criticism of food may be something that is acceptable in restaurants across the United Kingdom. However, in France, you will receive the snottiest looks.