The French table
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The French Table: Why It’s Important to Sit Down For Meals

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The French have made it a habit to gather together around the table for a meal. They wouldn’t be caught dead eating their lunch in front of a computer desk or eating their croissant as they run to catch the metro. This is because eating is a respected ritual, not a mandatory thing the French do just to fuel up their bodies.

The French Table and Why the French Always Eat at It

Where’s the pleasure in eating a warm butter croissant when you’re cramped up against a bunch of people in the subway? Wouldn’t you rather sit down at your dining table with a nice cup of coffee or tea and savor every bite of that mouthwatering creation? 

French people see eating as a pleasure, so their surroundings must be pleasurable as well. They take this to heart so much so that even the plates and utensils they use to serve their food on is beautiful. 

During my first few trips to France, I didn’t know if French people really used such nice plates at home. My dining experiences had been limited to restaurants, and restaurants tend to always serve nice plates and silverware anyways.

When I started making French friends and visiting their homes, I realized a beautiful set up was just part of the French table tradition, and was practiced inside the home as well. 

The French Table - place setting

I always had a beautiful plate, cloth napkin, shiny silverware, and delicate glassware placed before me. And the effect is truly astounding.

I was once served a simple fennel salad on one of these settings, and I ate that salad like it was expensive caviar. I pierced into the fennel with my fork slowly and delicately, feeling like I was a princess or some kind of royalty.

If I had been served that salad on a paper plate, or something equally unremarkable, I might have scoffed at the amount of salad (it was petite), and I most likely wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much. The salt would have completely lost its enchanting quality. 

The French also sit down at a well-set table knowing that it has the effect of slowing a meal down. You’re more likely to relax and take your time eating than if you were walking or standing. 

I personally love that the French take such care in sitting down to eat. I truly believe that creating inviting environments where we can eat satisfying meals with pure enjoyment is just one of the many ways we can lead healthier and happier lives.

What do you guys think? Do you practice this in your own life?


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  1. I love that you wrote about this. My family are all grown up, and my husband is no longer with us. I grew up in France, there were seven of us kids…. All of our meals were eaten at the table. Save for Sunday picnics. Even the picnics were superb though. I live alone now. I eat very simply. Howe ver I still, set my place, with a cloth napkin and relish my meals. I feel so satisfied afterwards. SOmetimes, I have a book at the table [I am alone] sometimes my Ipad with a podcast or TED talk. However I eat slowly and relish it all. Even clearing it all away, gives my comfort. It’s the ritual, of my past, but my guests always remark on how they love coming for a meal, still. Ive lived in Canada, for so many years, my children were all born and raised here, but they all know how to set a table, and how to make a meal inviting to others….

    1. I love that Solange! That’s what it’s all about…just taking the time to slow down and truly savor every bite of your food. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and leaving a comment. 🙂

    2. Thank you
      I still set my table with beautiful plates, napkins, forks and knives.
      It took me 20 years to find my silverware…I take it every where with Me.
      I even have a special velvet pouch for it.
      The high end Restaurants don’t mind. They even sterilize and wash it for me.
      I have delicate glassware and beautiful monogram napkins

  2. I completely agree !! Our eyes “taste” the food before our palate does. I practice this at home every day. May not be as elaborate as the French do but the table is always set at each meal. It is now such a part of our daily routine that it has become second nature and takes virtually no time. I use real plates, silverware, drinkware while entertaining as well. I fully agree with Beeta’s point about all this having an effect on how we enjoy the same food differently. Very subtle point but very well stated, Beeta.

    1. Kiran, that is so fantastic that you set the table for your meals. It really does make a difference! I appreciate your kind feedback <3

    2. Beta and others, it make a simple task beautiful.
      I taught my children that every day rituals should be beautiful and creative.
      It comes sooo natural to me
      After all iam part French.

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