Monday, November 12, 2012


Cute melamine plates to remind French youngsters of a few of the règles d'or of table manners. From left to right starting at the top: my hands are kept on the table; I always say please and thank you; I don't put my knife to my mouth; and I only start eating after the hostess has begun. As for the childish and emphatic "pretty please," the French would simply pronounce an imploring, "Dis-oui!" Say yes!

Some readers might find the first rule to be surprising--but the etiquette in France is to always keep  both hands visible and on the table when dining; they are never placed on the lap. The most common and comfortable position is one in which the wrists are kept resting lightly on the edge of the table. The reasoning behind this long-standing custom was to guard against surreptitious goings on under royal tables--like the drawing of concealed weapons or the passing of conspiratorial notes.

un règle d'or:  a golden rule
avoir des bonnes mannières:  to have good manners
savoir se tenir à table:  to have good table manners, literally to know how to hold oneself at the table

©2012 P.B. Lecron

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