• Slovakia!

    Slovakia: Tatra Mountains. Go Now!

    Slovakia
    The Tatra Mountains (pictured) form the backdrop of this rural country, whose culture is rooted in this beautiful landscape. Go Now!

  • Italy!

    Italy: Rome' historic buildings. Go Now!

    Italy
    Crumbling buildings in Rome (pictured) only add to the atmosphere in a country where old is redefined and western civilization begins. Explore Italy!

  • Ireland!

    Ireland: Cliffs of Moher! Go Now!

    Ireland
    The Emerald Isle is world famous for its landscapes, foods, beers, and culture. Explore Ireland!

  • Serbia!

    Serbia: Houses in the mountains. Go Now!

    Serbia
    Serbia is a historic power now looking internally to re-discovery their identity and future. Explore Serbia!

  • Armenia!

    Armenia: Noravank Monastery. Go Now!

    Armenia
    With a unique language, foods, architecture, and identity, Armenia is a fascinating country and culture unlike no other in the world. Begin Your Journey!

  • Finland!

    Finland: Finnish Sauna. Go Now!

    Finland
    Unlike its neighbors, the Finns are unique ethnically & linguistically, but are wholly European in many other ways. Begin Your Journey!

Social Life in France

Behavior

The French are very well aware of the world around them as well as the differences in opinions and behaviors. Because of this they are somewhat understanding of various cultures and foreigners so odd behaviors are generally accepted, although they may be looked down upon.

Your behavior should begin with modesty as being loud, rude, showing off wealth, or dressing provocatively will get you stares. Likewise, placing yourself above others or boasting is viewed negatively.

As a visitor to France, just try to follow the lead of the locals by dressing in like manner (see below for details), dining in the local etiquette (see our France Dining & Food Page), and avoid sensitive conversation topics, such as politics, finances, and business unless initiated by your local counterpart.

Dress

The traditional dress of France is heavily regional and was always changing. France is and has been a leader in the fashion industry for some time so clothing trends in the country have been in constant motion. None-the-less, there are some historical clothing items that are widely recognized and often times considered to be "traditional clothing" although most of them were never widely worn across the entire country as it is today.

In generally, the women of France historically wore long dresses, while the men wore pants and shirts. Many stereotypes of this dress comes from the region of Alsace, where women generally wore a loose-fitting blouse with a wide skirt or dress and a large bow or hat in their hair; the shirts were generally white, but the dress could be in any color as black, red, and purple seemed to be popular. For men black pants of knickers with a white shirt, red vest, and black hat was the traditional outfit of Alsace. The Breton shirt, which is a simple white shirt with thin blue horizontal stripes, was also common in areas as was the beret.

Today the Breton shirt and beret can still be seen, but the dress is much more varied than this. Fashion is king in Paris and the clothing styles are always changing, which leads to a significant amount of diversity. As a visitor to France try to dress fashionably, but not in a way that you stand out. Also dress for the occasion as churches require long pants and more conservative dress, while on the other extreme little clothing seems to be the norm on the southern beaches (although you should still put some clothes on when you leave these beaches). Although, sunbathing naked or women sunbathing topless is only permitted in certain places so always be sure to know where this is allowed before doing so. Lastly, France has banned the covering of one's face in public so any facial covering is illegal, including the Islamic niqab.

This page was last updated: November, 2013