An expert guide to a weekend in Bordeaux

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British Embassy, Paris: 00 33 144 51 31 00

Emergency services: Dial 112

Bordeaux Tourist Office: 00 33 556 00 66 00 from UK; 05 56 00 66 00 from France; bordeaux-tourisme.com; 12 Cours du XXX Juillet

Local laws and etiquette

French law requires that you always have personal ID about your person, so keep your passport on you.

If driving, you must have a fluorescent yellow bib in the car. It’s to be put on should you break down on a busy road and need to be visible to other motorists – and it’s a legal requirement.

When introduced to someone, shake him or her by the hand. All that cheek-kissing comes a little later (considerably later between men), when acquaintance has been struck up.

Note that, when offered something (a fill-up of your wine glass, more bread, a minor treat), simply saying “Merci” indicates refusal, as in “No, thank you”. This is quite different from British practice, where saying a simple “Thank you” implies acceptance, as in “Yes, thank you”. So, if you want your wine glass filled or more bread, don’t say: “Merci”. Say “Oui, s’il vous plait.”

Round-the-clock snacking is far less common in France than in the UK – as is eating or drinking in the street. French practices are loosening, but you’re still unlikely to draw admiring glances if you’re walking along at 4pm with pizza in one hand, a can of beer in the other.

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