In an aeroplane

The best places are considered to be those next to the window.

In a car

The highest Authority sits in the back seat, on the right.

At the dinner table

Irrespective of the customs of single countries, it is customary for the guest of honour to sit at the top of the table (in English-speaking countries) or at the centre of the table (French school), affording the best view. If ladies are present, the guest of honour will sit to the right of the hostess, and his spouse will sit to the right of the host.

The other guests, occupying the remaining places, will be accommodated according to the order of precedence and based on similarity of role and rank.

To make it easier to find one’s place, the following are normally used:

  • a board at the dining room entrance indicating table places
  • place cards, or cards with the guests’ names, each in front of guests’ plates

Etiquette at the table

Sometimes, before sitting down to eat, guests may be given an aperitif in another room before being accompanied to the dining room.

The toast is usually given by the host at the beginning of the meal, followed by a reply from the guest of honour. At the end of the speech, guests raise their glasses for the toast.

The waiters, of a number proportionate to the number of guests, will serve first the guest of honour and then the other guests, but if present, the ladies will always be served first. Finally the host and hostess will be served.

If the presence of interpreters is necessary, they will be placed behind and next to the guest, depending on the degree of formality of the lunch/dinner.

The quickest formula that allows the host to invite more guests than normally possible is the “buffet-dinner“, a reception with the guests standing and a special menu that does not require the use of cutlery. In some cases there may be “support” tables for guests’ use.

When a party is organised, invitees should be asked if they are vegetarian or suffer from any food allergies.