You're Only as Chic as Your Garbage Bag! And Other Insider Entertaining Tips à la Française.

You're Only as Chic as Your Garbage Bag! And Other Insider Entertaining Tips à la Française.

The almonds were perfectly toasted. The music was just right. "So, how does it look?" I asked my French husband as I fluffed pillows while awaiting dinner guests. He scanned the living room with laser precision: "You serve several hors d'oeuvres or nothing at all. And always keep the door to the toilet closed!"

I pondered the horror of our guests thinking I'm just a cheap American with bad feng shui. But as a long-term expat in Paris, these aren't the first learned social cues I've taken with a generous pinch of salt over the past nine years.

"It's another country!" is the personal mantra I remind myself year after year of back-breaking bureaucratic wild goose chases and the occasional social faux pas. Nonetheless, as my French linguistic skills evolved from belligerent to nearly charming, entertaining was always the easiest way to engage a little bit deeper with French friends while practicing the Midwestern hospitality of my upbringing. And if all else fails, I can always relish in the unparalleled enthusiasm the French have for spinach artichoke dip.

But since this is France, there are still a few rules to follow. Here are some hard-earned insider tips to throwing a smashing French-style dinner party. But don't forget to add some personal flair and to take it all with a pinch of fleur de sel!

The 7 Entertaining Rules French People Never Break

Here are the French entertaining rules that every good host should adhere to.

(Image credit: Jessie Kanelos Weiner)
(Image credit: Jessie Kanelos Weiner)
(Image credit: Jessie Kanelos Weiner)
(Image credit: Jessie Kanelos Weiner)
(Image credit: Jessie Kanelos Weiner)
(Image credit: Jessie Kanelos Weiner)
(Image credit: Jessie Kanelos Weiner)

Do you follow these tips when you throw dinner parties? Let us know in the comments!

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