Can you say “bonjour”?

When you go into a store or a small shop in France, remember to say Bonjour!

This is another important part of the cultural code in France that should be number one on your list – whether you are a tourist or a newly arrived resident from “other parts” as we say in Texas. Y’all don’t want to be considered rude, or worse, lacking in “savoir faire” (knowing what to say or do at the right time, or the right way to act in any given situation).

Believe me, they know you’re not French by your accent, but using this one word opens the way to a positive exchange with the vendor or salesperson.

Turn this around and look at it from your own view of the French cultural code. You walk into a shop, and don’t say anything. Then, when you try to buy something or ask a question, you get a sort of stonewall response. You think “I heard the French are rude, and I believe it.” What’s happened? They don’t understand why you haven’t been polite enough/cultured enough to say “Hello”. The Hello/Bonjour acknowledges them as an individual. Think about it.

By the way, if this sounds “teachy”, let me just say that I learned the above by making the mistake.

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