“Prendre l’apéro” is the equivalent of taking tea in England, it is kind of a cliché, but yet, it is part of reality. You may experience this, in bars, bistrots, troquets, guinguettes, and you may need a little hand, because here, our “cheers” are quite different.
In France we say “trinquer”, this means “to toast”, you know what you have to do if someone ask you to, but there is something that is worthy of mentioning. Here are few rules you might use :
- You should always say : “A votre santé” or “Santé”, this is the equivalent of “cheers”.
- In France you have to look the person you are toasting with INTO THE EYES ! If not you could get 7 years of bad luck, and you do not want to.
- You should not cross your glass with someone else’s
- You should not put your glass on the table between the moment you toasted and the moment you take your first sip
- You should always wait for everyone has toasted, before starting drink your glass
- You should not add ice in your wine (Alright, we can make few exceptions, for example the “Rosé piscine” )
A bit of history :
This custom arises from the Middle-Age, back then, poisoning was usually used to eliminate rivals. To avoid this situation, feudal lords used to toast ensuring that a bit of liquid pours into the other’s glass during the clinking. This took place in two stages : one of the drinker hit his glass against the other’s, pouring a bit of his beverage, then the second one did the same. Then, they had to drink a first sip looking at each other’s eyes, proof that there was no evidence of bad faith.
“Trinquer” was therefore a sign of confidence, someone with bad intentions would not take the risk to drink its own poison.
Nowadays, there is no such hazard in drinking, but yet, the custom has remained, we do not clink our glasses so strong and only once !