Toasting traditions….

  • Look directly into the eye of the person you are clinking glasses with.
  • NEVER cross your glass with someone else when you clink
  • Don’t drink before you clink! Be sure that everyone has clinked glasses before you get stuck in.
  • Take at least a sip directly after toasting and before putting your glass down.

Superstition? Yes, maybe….but they’re not quite as silly as they seem!

As we know, the history of France is jam-packed with intrigue, suspicion, passion, poison, and mysterious death.

It is believed that people drinking together would often exchange part of the contents of their drink with each other during a toast. In this way, they could all be sure that none of the glasses were poisoned. Clever eh?

Looking deep into the toastee’s eyes was also important, in order to detect duplicity or stress – and not drinking immediately after toasting was considered suspicious in case you had popped a drop or two of arsenic into the group grog.

Some useful vocab



  • A votre santé (or A la vôtre) …… to more than one person or someone you would normally ‘vousvoie’. (use vous)
  • À ta santé ! (or A la tienne! ) ….. to someone you would normally ‘tutoie’ (use tu).

    More informal

    Je lève mon verre à – I raise my glass to..
    trinquer – to toast
    Cul sec – down in one
    Je suis pompette – I’m tipsy
    Je suis ivre/saoul/*bourré/*cuite/*beurré/*torché/*pété – I’m drunk
    (* not to be used with your neighbour’s grandmother!)

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