French Friday: Table Manners

Even after being with my French husband for eight years and despite the fact I lived in France for three, I just learned a very interesting French table manner fact that I was completely unaware of!  I read it in a blog last week and can’t for the life re-find the post (if it was YOUR post please comment and let me know so that I can credit you!).

I wanted to share it with you because I always feel that when I travel to other countries I should be as educated as possible on the local customs to avoid those awkward faux-pas and I am thinking you might feel the same!

So here it is:

If you ever attend a dinner party and plan to take seconds you must take seconds of all the dishes.  For example, if the meal consists of a meat, potatoes and a vegetable you cannot just take a second serving of the potatoes, you must take a second helping of all three otherwise you will insult the host.  It makes them feel like you only liked the potatoes so that is all you want to have again.

Fascinating, right?  Although just so you know it is uncommon for the majority of people to take seconds in the first place. That’s maybe why the whole moderation thing works.  It is quite a commitment to eat a second serving of an entire meal!  Instead the French just really enjoy the first serving, eating it slowly with conversation and wine instead of shoveling it down!

I am sure you have heard before that it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to tell your stomach it is full, so if you don’t take the time to eat slowly you will overeat.  I speak from experience as I just this past Sunday had two servings of cassoulet which is incredibly rich and filling and I was unable to do anything but sit on my bed in moan from being way too stuffed to do anything.  I am such a greedy gourmand, I couldn’t help myself and I suffered for it!

In any case, I now have another French cultural etiquette fact in my arsenal to

How about you? Do you have a cultural table manner tidbit to share?

About Andi Fisher

I'm a lifestyle blogger focused on travel and food. I love to travel via my stomach eating and seeking out local artisans to feature here. I'm a big supporter of the blogging community and love highlighting travel and food bloggers for you to meet.


  1. Really interesting fact!

  2. That makes perfect sense about taking “seconds”. I often wonder what the French think of American table manners – I’m sure they are not kind thoughts!

    • @Jennifer, I don’t think they are entirely unkind, but different. I often tell my husband that we are just taught different things and what is appropriate in our culture is not in his and vice versa.

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