When in Rome, do as the Roman’s do. Similarly, when in the South of France, follow the conventions and customs of the region and do as the French do and you will have a much better experience, meet more locals, and hopefully not look like a helpless tourist.


This can be important not just for holidays, but also when viewing properties you may wish to purchase – ideally with the assistance of a chartered South of France surveyor. Indeed, the more you can embrace the culture, the more welcoming and helpful the real locals will be.


It’s easier said than done, of course. But fear not – your friendly and experienced South of France surveyor is here to give you some top tips on how to blend in like a local when visiting the South of France.

Learn a Little French

Of course, acculturating to the South of France will be all the easier if you speak the language. Even if you’re not fluent or haven’t got the time to embark on a French speaking course, making the effort to learn a few basics will at least help you curry favour with the locals and make a good first impression. And if you are visiting the area to explore a property, the more French you can understand, the better position you will be in to communicate and negotiate with sellers – and that can be a big benefit.

Dress Like the French

If you’re going to talk the talk, you should also walk the walk. The French are stylish – even in casual dress. This means your Hawaiian shorts and shirts may have to stay locked away in the suitcase. Collared shirts are a good call for men, as are light cardigans that can be either worn or draped over the shoulders. French women will often wear a scarf or a foulard – a lighter, thinner type of scarf – tied artfully around the neck over a tunic. A stylish pair of sunglasses will complete the look for both genders.

Eat Like the French

Ok, frogs’ legs, snails, and choice cuts of offal may leave you feeling a little squeamish, but there’s more to know about French eating habits than the dishes the country is renowned for.


For starters, there’s the meal times. These are practically set in stone. Restaurants will open for lunch at about 11:30-12:00, and serve new customers till about 1:00 pm. If you’re hungry later in the afternoon, you’ll have to grab something from a shop or a bakery.


Dinner is generally eaten between 7:00 pm and 9:00 pm – and restaurants don’t usually turn their tables over. This means they don’t expect to fill tables with new customers after the first ones leave. It also means that it’s bad form to turn up at 8:45 pm and expect to be served. The etiquette is to arrive nearer the 7:00 pm mark and stay for a couple of hours. No rush. Enjoy your food slowly, sip some wine, indulge in conversation.


Another restaurant tip to make sure you don’t look like a tourist is to not leave big gratuities at the end of a meal, as a 15% service charge will already be included in the bill. Even so, a small tip on top of the service charge is not out of the question to show your gratitude for good service – but just remember that it isn’t very French to go large.

Final Thoughts

There you have a few handy tips for blending in like a local when visiting the South of France. Don’t be surprised if you fall in love with the place – the fine foods, the fashion, the lifestyle, even the language.


If so, and should you decide to take the leap and relocate to this stunning part of the world permanently, you will of course need a knowledgeable and experienced South of France surveyor like Charles Mackintosh to guide you on your way.


Get in touch today for more information and insights.