Heading to Euro 2016? Here are some French cultural dos and don'ts


Travelling football fans have experienced destinations as diverse as Brazil, South Africa and Ukraine in recent years.

Visiting France is unlikely to present too many cultural hurdles, but here is a brief guide to etiquette in the country famed for its cuisine, romance and stunning sights.

French kissing

Two French football fans kissing
(Matthias Schrader/AP)

People should exchange at least two cheek-skimming kisses with casual acquaintances and friends, and in some parts of France up to four kisses may be exchanged. But the handshake is also a common form of greeting.


Thierry Henry at a film premiere
(Joel Ryan/AP)

Bring your best football jersey! The French are fashion conscious and their version of casual is not as relaxed as in many western countries.


A cup of espresso
(Katie Collins/PA)

Beer may be the drink of choice for most football fans but when out for dinner asking for une carafe d'eau (free jug of tap water) in restaurants is acceptable. Never end a meal with a cappuccino or cup of tea. Instead, order un cafe (espresso).


A blackboard in a French lesson

It is not a good idea to assume everyone speaks English, and it is always best to ask someone if they speak English before continuing to talk to them in your native tongue. You can do this in French, by saying: "Bonjour, parlez-vous Anglais?" If you do not speak French, an apology for not knowing the language may be appreciated.

Mixing with the locals

Zinedine Zidane waves to the fans
(Francois Mori/AP)

You should say "bonjour" or "bonsoir" (good morning and good evening) with the title Monsieur or Madame when entering a shop and "au revoir" (good-bye) when leaving.

Face coverings

A person wearing a balaclava
(Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock)

Concealing the face in public places in France is illegal. This includes balaclavas, full veils or any other garment or mask that is used to conceal the face. Failure to comply with the ban is punishable by a maximum fine of 150 euro (£117).


a British passport
(Anthony Devlin/PA)

You must be able to prove your identity either by providing documents when asked or within four hours at a police station. Identity documents can be a passport, a photo driving licence or other documentation provided by a government body.

Sources: Lonely Planet, FCO and Commisceo Global