GIFT GIVING IN FRANCE*
- Gift Giving Etiquette
BUSINESS GIFT GIVING
Selecting and presenting an appropriate
- Be aware that displays of warmth and
generosity between business associates are not the norm in French business
culture. Giving presents is acceptable here, but exercise discretion.
- Gifts are expected for social events,
especially as thank-yous after a dinner party.
- Don't be overly concerned about whether
your gift is too expensive or inexpensive: select something you think the
recipient will appreciate.
- Esoteric books and music are often
valued as gifts. Make sure, however, that you are reasonably acquainted
with the recipient's interests and tastes before making this kind of gift
- Good gift selections can also include
coffee table books about your home country, or anything that reflects the
interests of your hosts and is representative of your country.
- French business etiquette dictates that
you don’t include your business card with a gift.
PERSONAL GIFT GIVING
- If you are invited to a French home,
consider it a rare honor. Bring flowers, quality chocolates or liqueur to
the host, and present your gift before the entertaining proceeds.
- If you decide to bring flowers,
remember that chrysanthemums are for funerals, red roses for lovers. A
gift of carnations can often be interpreted as a sign of bad will.
Moreover, ensure that the bouquet is in odd numbers, in accordance with
the old European tradition.
- Don't bring a gift of wine, since the
host usually prefers to make the evening's selection. The only possible
exception can be a special French dessert wine or high-quality liqueur.
- If you have been guest at a dinner
party or similar social gathering in a home, ensure that you send a
thank-you note to your hosts the next day. Preferably, your note should be
handwritten and delivered by messenger. Sending flowers or a basket of
fruit is another thoughtful gesture.
- Holiday cards can be appropriate,
particularly as an expression of thanks to your business associates. The
practice in France is to send New Year's greetings and this can occur
during the whole month of January but not later.
*Contal, Maurice. France Business
Etiquette - Gift Giving. Executive Planet. 29 July 2004
Above: The flag of