How to work in France: business étiquette

how to work in France

How to work in France when you come from a foreign country?

In this section, we are going to teach you a bit about the do’s and don’ts when doing business in France.

Lunch time

The first thing you should know if you want to know how to work in France is  that in France, lunch time is sacred. In each company, everybody gets a one or two hours break for lunch time. This is a time they use to relax and meet their friend. If you need to make an appointment or a call with a French person, please schedule it outside lunch time. If you are not available outside these hours, you can always invite your French business partner for a lunch in a restaurant.

Speaking of eating, whether you are at a restaurant or not, always wait that everybody is served to start eating. Usually Frenches wish to each other “bon appetit” before starting. Also, do not put your elbow on the table while you are eating, and do not hide your hands under the table.

Courtesy at work in Frane

Secondly, when you address a business partner in French, use the terms “monsieur” or “madam” (mister or misses). Also, always use the pronoun “vous”, more polite than “tu”. Once you’ll have a good relationship with your business partner, you may switch to the “tu”, but not before. However, if you work in a start-up environment, you will notice that people tend to use the “tu” at first.

 If French people are known for “la bise” and never hug to say hi, always greet your interlocutor with a handshake. This must be a light handshake, made while saying hi and looking at the person in the eyes.

Language: speak like a French! 

If you’re planning to do business in France, learn some French! At least a few words like “bonjour”, “merci”, and “au revoir” (hello, thank you and goodbye). The French people you are working with will appreciate the effort and it will help you to build a good and trusty relationship with them.

Style: even more important  at work

French are known to be classy and stylish. If you have a meeting with a French, always mind your style. Usually, people wear a costume, with a shirt and a tie of neutral color if you are a man, and a costume, or a dress/skirt with a shirt if you are a woman. It is important for your image and the first impression to be always proper and well presented. 

If you want to learn more about french style, visit :

Appointment when you work in France

How to make an appointment in France? If you want to plan a business meeting, you should do it in advance (1 or 2 week). Indeed, French people schedule their meeting in advance, and if you notice them at the last moment, there is a very few chances that they will be available. Also, arrive on time at your meeting: French people are punctual.

How to work in France? When you are doing business with French, you should always leave a written proof of what you said during a meeting. For example, after a meeting, you can send an e-mail summing all the information you exchanged and what you finally agreed on.

Here we are, you know everything about how to work in France, make good use of it!

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