Here are the high points.
If you’re a guest in someone’s home, don’t arrive right on time—15 minutes late is perfect. French don’t like to hug as a greeting. Two air kisses are fine in Paris, three if you’re in Alsace or Brittany, and as many as four east of Nice. But let your French host set the number. After age 30, it’s not necessary to kiss on the first or second meeting.
Never pour yourself wine in a restaurant or as a guest in a home. Use your fingers when eating asparagus and leave a quarter inch of the stem on your plate. Always eat everything on your plate, keeping your fork in your left hand, knife in your right, and never cut up your salad.
It’s OK to pass on the cheese course, says André Soltner, longtime chef at Lutèce. In fact, it’s the only course you can refuse. But if you do take cheese, cut it with your right hand and spread it on bread in your left.
When finished dining, lay your utensils parallel to each other in the four o’clock position on your plate; that signifies your plate may be removed from the table.