Notices

Correct greetings in Paris

Old Feb 20th, 2012, 01:38 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 877
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Correct greetings in Paris

I understand that it is considered rude to walk into a shop in France and say simply, "bonjour," that one is supposed to say "bonjour madam or mademoiselle." If you are not sure whether the shop keeper is single or married, which is the more proper greeting?

Are there any other etiquette gaffes to avoid? Thanks
CYESQ is offline  
Old Feb 20th, 2012, 02:16 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,168
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Mademoiselle, or monsieur as appropriate, I believe.

Be sure to say something polite when you leave as well: you will hear 'au revoir" or "bonne journee" or often both. But I don't remember anyone adding the "madamoiselle".

Don't touch the merchandise except maybe durable goods in a place like a hardware or book store.
Ackislander is offline  
Old Feb 20th, 2012, 02:58 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 2,056
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
This is news to me. I think a pleasant bonjour or bonsoir is perfectly acceptable, although in some cases you might naturally add madame or monsieur.
tarquin is offline  
Old Feb 20th, 2012, 03:01 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 2,552
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Simply saying "bonjour" without adding monsieur or madame/mademoiselle is fine. That way there's no awkward situation in confusing a madame with a mademoiselle. When you leave either "au revoir" or "bonne journée"/"bonne soirée" is fine. Smile and make eye contact too.
FrenchMystiqueTours is offline  
Old Feb 20th, 2012, 03:03 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 2,505
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
It is one of Fodor's urban legends. Saying "bonjour" is perfectly acceptable.
Pvoyageuse is offline  
Old Feb 20th, 2012, 03:46 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 32,129
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Où sont les journaux américains? ... will also break the ice.
colduphere is offline  
Old Feb 20th, 2012, 04:14 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 26,710
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
How about

Yo Mama, quoi de neuf?
Aduchamp1 is offline  
Old Feb 20th, 2012, 04:39 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 2,642
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
<Yo Mama, quoi de neuf?> Ca gaze!
cocofromdijon is offline  
Old Feb 20th, 2012, 05:16 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 290
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
For me, it's not so much single or married, it's the feeling I must be looking OLD when people "madame" me On the other hand, some women object to "mademoiselle" for feminist reasons. So yeah, while I find French people usually do say "madame/monsieur/mademoiselle", you're fine not doing it. I hardly ever do, and no-one's run me out of town yet. And it's "bonsoir" at night, if you remember.
gwan is offline  
Old Feb 20th, 2012, 05:33 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 34,011
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I wonder who makes up these rules that the OP cites. Never heard of that, and that would make a lot of French people rude since that is what they do (often say only bonjour). Madame is normal if you are not obviously pretty young, it doesn't mean you "look old." The use of Mme and Mlle in French is kind of clumsy because they don't have a good use of something similar to Ms, although Madame pretty much is used that way for women past the age of 35 or so, I think.
Christina is online now  
Old Feb 20th, 2012, 05:38 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 290
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
"Madame is normal if you are not obviously pretty young" - exactly... I've lived in France for a few years now, and definitely over that time the number of people calling me Madame has increased and the number calling me Mademoiselle has decreased. Hence it makes me feel old.
gwan is offline  
Old Feb 20th, 2012, 05:46 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 32,129
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
What would you say if you were uncertain if the person was a Madame or a Monsieur? This happens in Canada.
colduphere is offline  
Old Feb 20th, 2012, 05:57 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 64
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Calling someone mademoiselle usually means you are trying to flirt with them or to patronise them. As long as they're visibly over 18, Madame is the standard. But even then you don't NEED to add monsieur/madame...a simple bonjour will do.
Bianca_P is offline  
Old Feb 20th, 2012, 05:58 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 2,505
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
"The use of Mme and Mlle in French is kind of clumsy "

It might be clumsy for foreigners but it is not for native speakers.
Pvoyageuse is offline  
Old Feb 20th, 2012, 06:02 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 18,218
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Bonjour Toutes does for me if there ae many
bilboburgler is online now  
Old Feb 20th, 2012, 06:24 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 2,505
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
"Bonjour Toutes does for me if there ae many"

Might do it for you but not for other people, especially if there are men. They'll feel excluded
"Toutes" = feminine plural.
Why try to make simple things complicated? Use "bonjour" with a smile, that's all.
Pvoyageuse is offline  
Old Feb 20th, 2012, 06:47 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 2,642
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
May I also add there is "à" right after bonjour, like in "bonjour à tous"
cocofromdijon is offline  
Old Feb 20th, 2012, 06:48 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 16,295
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
>

An incomplete greeting. It should be "Yo Mama, quoi de neuf homey?" That has the added advantage of eliminating any age and gender uncertainty.
basingstoke2 is online now  
Old Feb 20th, 2012, 06:53 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 20,199
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
>>What would you say if you were uncertain if the person was a Madame or a Monsieur? This happens in Canada.
PatrickLondon is offline  
Old Feb 20th, 2012, 06:57 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 94,290
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I agree a plain old 'bonjour' is fine. Especially if you aren't sure if madan or mademoiselle would be correct.
suze is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information