French Dining Etiquette: Both Hands on the Table Mister!

When dining in France I try to remember to keep both hands visible.

This, I’ve been told more than once, is very important.

Sometimes I forget because it’s in direct contrast to the way I’ve eaten my entire life. In the States we’re taught to place the non-dominant hand in our lap unless it’s being used to help with cutting meat, buttering bread, etc.

In France, though, it’s considered impolite and even weird to do this.

I once asked a French friend why and was surprised by her response.

The conversation went something like this:

Me: “Why is it so important to have both hands visible when dining in France?”

Friend: “Well, if only one hand is visible you just never know what someone might be doing down there with their free hand.”

(Long pause)

Me: “What kind of people are you hanging out with?”

So please, when “at table” in France always keep both hands in plain sight.

You just never know ….

8 responses

  1. I believe that is derived from rules of etiquette from other countries, or is at the very least similar to them. In some countries, eating with your left hand is impolite because it’s traditionally the one you wipe yourself with.

    • No, I once read that it comes fom ancient times. They want to see both hands to make certain that you don’t have a knife hidden to stab someone, or poison to poison one.

    • No, it comes from ancient times. One had to keep their hands on the table to be certain that they did not have a knife in their hand to stab someone or poison to poison one.

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