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Do You Know How To Toast in French? Posted by on Feb 11, 2015 in Culture, Wine

You’re out with some friends about to take your first drink and everyone raises their glasses to toast.

Qu’est-ce que tu fais ensuite ? (What do you do next?)

En France, you have to regarder dans les yeux (look in the eyes) of the person you’re clanking glasses with. Ce qui est important (what’s important) is keeping in mind that not remembering to regarder dans les yeux is seen as rude or simply une maladresse (a faux pas).

I was blissfully ignorant of all this when I first came to France. The first time going I went out with des amis français (some French friends) is un bon exemple (a good example). After we found a good place to sit and had received our orders, we all went to lever nos verres (raise our glasses). We toasted and then I took a drink. Much to my surprise, mes amis français (my French friends) were still looking at me after I had finished swallowing. One of my friends then said to me:

Non, il faut que tu me regardes dans les yeux !” (No, you have to look at me in the eyes!)

Confused, I tried again, but my eyes darted away before our glasses met and on m’a dit (I was told).

Non, dans mes yeux !” (No, in my eyes!)

I slowly raised my glass and went in again. This time I made sure to keep un contact visuel (eye contact). After a very intense few seconds it was over and shouts of “santé” (cheers) were passed around. I had successfully learned how to toast in French!

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About the Author: John Bauer

John Bauer is an enthusiast for all things language and travel. He currently lives in France where he's doing his Master's. John came to France four years ago knowing nothing about the language or the country, but through all the mistakes over the years, he's started figuring things out.


Comments:

  1. Summer:

    Thank you so much! I just saw this sort of thing in a French tv show and since I hadn’t heard about it before it seemed quite odd!