Recently we were invited to a French home for a Sunday afternoon tea. It sounds pretty innocuous, right? But there I was the week before the big afternoon tea, reading articles on French etiquette, watching the French “do’s and don’t” videos on YouTube and shortlisting outfits for the family to ensure that we looked “chic but not overdone, comfortable but not casual”.
Now, it would have been easier to ask my French colleague for advice but ahem… the person I would have asked for advice was the one who had invited us!! #checkmate
I’m positive no French family visiting an Australian home googles any do’s and don’ts or reads up on Aussie etiquette but when it comes to the French who ooze chicness even in the most casual of situations, you’d want to avoid any faux pas.
So there we were on a Sunday afternoon standing outside their door and I look at Sahil and say, “You have to be the best version of yourself today!”. He nodded but he’s three so we had no idea if the message had truly sunk in.
We took a deep breath and knocked on the door…
And what we experienced was one of the most delightful Sunday afternoons in Paris! The whole family was so warm and welcoming. The kids who were much older than Sahil made our little man feel so at ease. One of the things Sahil has really missed is our ad hoc weekend catch-ups with friends and their kids and just having time to play together with other children in a non-school environment.
For those of you who are absolute foodies (you know who are 😉 ), I won’t keep you in suspense. On offer were homemade brownies, apple pie made from homegrown apples from their secondary residence outside of Paris (so chic, right?), a lovely array of fruits, which Sahil went ga-ga over and tea from the most beautiful tea house in Paris – Angelina. Could this BE anymore fabulous?
The afternoon went by tasting all the delights and chatting while the kids played in another room. There was one moment where my heart stopped as they offered Sahil apple juice in a beautiful designer glass. Usually when you go to someone’s place back home, they’ll dig out melamine cups for the kids but here in Paris, no, no, no au contraire… the kids used the same tableware as the adults. I was looking at their glass coffee table and their lovely light gray sofa and our three year old right there holding his apple juice in a gorgeous long glass. But I must report that all went well. Our little man managed to remain a little gentleman for the entire soirée. Phew!
As we left though, the Aussie in him came through and as he said Merci beaucoup, he gave both the kids a big hug. Now we know the French don’t do hugs so we weren’t sure whether we had just blown our non-faux pas streak. Later we found out, that they were just as touched by Sahil as we were with their hospitality.
Since then, their kids have been at our place for a playdate and a lunch and they’ve all been over for an afternoon tea too. They’ve invited us for a racquellete dinner at their place and now we’re planning to host our very first dinner party very soon.
C’est la vie à Paris!