French Galateo: Spend the Weekend With Friends

First things first, the hostess's polite "make yourself at home" is not to be taken literally! You are not at home, obviously. When it comes to the basic rules of manners that have been passed down from mother to daughter for generations, Parisian women are very strict. When invited by friends in France, some basic good manners to remember are:

sapervivere21. Participate enthusiastically in the activities organized by the hosts and even if the local History Museum is the least interesting place on earth, go with a smile! The hostess has put a lot of effort into making your stay a pleasant one, the least you could do is hide your lack of interest.

2. Repeatedly offer to help: "Where are the plates?" "I would like to help."

3. Before leaving the bathroom, rinse the shower or the bath. Everyone cleans up after themselves. This is the first thing learned by the sons of great ambassadors and presidents in the very, very chic Le Rosey school in Switzerland!

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4. When you leave, take off the sheets and put them where indicated.

sapervivere45. During the week or 48 hours after, write a postcard thanking the hosts for their company during your weekend trip. This is the famous "thank-you letter". One is written even if you were invited to sleep in a caravan!

6. And of course... you must ask permission before going into the kitchen and having a look around the fridge!

Brigitte - Social circles

Bonsoir, my name is Brigitte. I’m the ultimate Parisian. There isn’t a VIP evening that I miss out on. When I was 18, I hunted autographs and stole photos of stars walking the streets of Paris or in concert. Vanessa Paradis, Catherine Deneuve, Jean Dujardin... they’re all in my book. It wasn’t very difficult as my parents produced concerts and I grew up in this fascinating world. I’ve turned it into a profession since I’m a people journalist! I now set up meetings with the stars and can question them without their bodyguards getting rid of me like they did in the past. I’d love to tell you more about these so French VIPs…

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