Why do the French eat with their hands on the table ?


If you are attending a dinner in France, leaving your hands on your laps, will appear quite rude to a French host. You are supposed to put your wrists on the table, but not your elbows unless you are a woman and exhibiting the jewelry and thus the wealth of your husband.

If the French etiquette recommends one should eat with one’s hands on the table, it is not as many British citizens would suspect because French women have a reputation of being promiscuous and French men of wandering hands. If the wrists are to be visible, it is for a very legitimate political reason...

It takes us back to the XVIIth century when Louis XIV uncovered a conspiracy to poison his drinks and food with  « la poudre de succession » (the succession powder), a fashionable mixture of arsenic and toad dribble; - aren’t we froggies?

The famous « affaire des poisons »  (1678-1682) started with the death of Godin de Sainte Croix, an officer when a strange powder was discovered in a box together with letters belonging to his mistress, the Marquise de Brinvilliers revealing the poisoning of her father, brothers... The vile woman who took the « French leave » to England, was arrested in a convent in Liege, in Belgium. She was brought back to France, tortured until she admitted her crimes and gave the names of her accomplices. 

The investigation conducted by La Reynie – a high ranking police officer, led seven years later to a woman known as a poisoner, an abortionist, the organiser of black masses, named La Voisin (which translate literally as the « neighbour ») Before being burned at the stake, like Heidi Fleiss she opened her secret address book, revealing the names of her numerous and prestigious clients.  This resulted in a permanent atmosphere of plotting at the court of Versailles, where almost everyone could become a suspect. Some 400 people were arrested and about 200 sent to jail.

But as the investigation went on, the scandal was suddenly stifled by Louis XIV himself in 1682, when among the clients of the poisoner, he had the surprise to discover his own mistress, Madame de Montespan. The « favorite » whom the Sun King had replaced by the young attractive Mademoiselle de Fontanges was so desperate to regain the love of Louis, that she asked La voisin for love potions. She even indulged in black masses which were not absolutely flattering for the  image of the King : Madame de Montespan laid down, naked on the floor with candles in both hands and a chalice on her belly, while a new born was sacrificed. The baby's blood was then collected in the chalice and it seems that the Marquise job was to drop a few drops of this beverage into the king's meal...

The morals of this story is that most crimes are committed in the family circle...



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Stone (non vérifié)

juin 27, 2016 · Reply

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