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Doing Business in France

TJC Global Translation & Interpreting Services since 1985

General Etiquette

When meeting someone, the handshake is a generally acknowledged from of greeting, as well as kissing the person lightly on both cheeks. First names are used for family and close friends, so wait until you are invited before addressing a new acquaintance by their first name. Madame is a basic term of courtesy for women, and monsieur for men. If giving a gift, be careful when selection - flowers such as lilies and chrysanthemums are now used because of their connotations to funerals, and when choosing wine, make sure you find a good quality bottle. When dining, do not arrive late, and obey the continental table manners of holding the fork and knife in left and right hands respectively. It is polite not to start eating before the hostess has said 'bon appetit'.

Business Etiquette

Working hours

Appointments for business meetings are essential, and should be made well in advance. Working hours are generally between 8.30 or 9 and 6 and 7, with two hours or more for lunch break. French workers have five weeks holiday in a year, and at least 3 are taken during the month of August, which should be avoided for business purposes as the whole country tends to come to a standstill.

Business dress

Dress conservatively - men in dark suits, women in elegantly cut suits or a smart, formal dress. Make sure that you maintain eye-contact as this builds respect and trust between parties.

During the meeting

Business etiquette requires formality and courtesy. If you do not speak the language, it is polite to apologise for this, and to try to learn a few key phrases. It is wise not to appear overly friendly, as the French tend to separate the work from the social aspects of their life, and trust is gained through appropriate, direct and formal behaviour. Business tends to be hierarchical, and skills in debating and keen-minded analysis will be respected, with any mutual decisions or finalised documents being produced in a formal layout.

If you would like to know more about France, please visit our country profile page.

For further information about our language services, please see our French interpreting and French translation pages.

Travelling abroad and need an interpreter or translator? TJC Global can help!


Areas in which we provide interpreting services include:

Areas in which we provide translation services include:

For more information regarding these services, please visit our main Translation Services page.

Some of the 180 languages for which we provide interpreters:

Arabic Interpreting Italian Interpreting
French Interpreting German Interpreting
Spanish Interpreting Korean Interpreting
Chinese Interpreting Japanese Interpreting




For other languages, please visit our Multiple Language Services Interpreting page.

Some of the 180 languages for which we provide translators:
Arabic Translation Italian Translation
Chinese Translation Japanese Translation
French Translation Korean Translation
German Translation Spanish Translation




For other languages, please visit our Multiple Language Services Translation page.


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