Doing business in France?? Of course! With a 66 million consumers, France’s Market has a high purchase power and tends to moderately but regularly increase. In addition, according to the World Bank, France is ranked in the 29th place in the world regarding the easiness to start a business there but: Is it easy to trade with French companies?


Getting used to French work habits could be difficult, it is therefore essential to be aware of the cultural differences to easily spread abroad. The following cultural features should be specifically taken into account when doing business in France:

Be formal in the negotiations

Compared to other countries, France is very formal concerning trading, this is why it is important to consider the first contact, the negotiation protocol, the language, the strategy to carry out and the dress code, among others.

The first contact for doing business in France

When arranging a meeting, it is advisable to do it a long time in advance, preferably two months, avoiding July and August since they are normally on holidays. Appointments are usually scheduled between 9am and 7pm.

On the other hand, in order to draw attention and be well received it is mandatory to arrange a good documentation, providing detailed information about the company, the products and a clear statement of the meeting’s objectives. At the time of the introductions, start with an “Enchanté” (nice to meet you) and then your name and surname.

Doing business in France? Be patient

Negotiation is often slow, it is advised to be patient.

It is important to negotiate with the appropriate person since they do not usually make concessions quickly and tend to reformulate its position until they are convinced, therefore, to deal with more important issues, it is suggested to directly negotiate with the Chief Executive. In addition, personal questions must be avoided as well as issues considered as confidential, for instance, business numbers, salaries and competitors among other details. The price is the last thing to be negotiated, they do not feel comfortable talking about money

Avoid excessive friendly attitudes

Excessive friendly attitudes should be avoided with French people since they are categorical when disengaging personal relationships with the professional ones. This is why the introduction must be started with a handshake, however if you greet a woman it is preferable to wait her to start. The famous “la bise” are for social environments.

Communicate in French

For any business or contractual relationship it should be taken into account that they are very strict about their language, they have adopt the Anglo-Saxon business terminology it is therefore preferably to speak in French instead of English or Spanish. However, if you do not fully master the French language, it is worth apologizing about it and to continue in English.

Choose the right outfit 

The dress code is another factor to keep in mind and it is very important too. In order to choose the right outfit, select an elegant and sober one: clothing is considered to express success and social status. Be stylish, elegant and conservative.

 Sectors to invest in 

The most interesting sectors to invest in are: construction, property development, distribution networks and retail trade, agricultural food products, renewable energies, urban and design services.



If you have decided to invest in France and you do not know who to ask to, remember that on the ICEX web you can find information about the set-up fees and about Spanish companies operating there, so they can tell you their experience and help you on this interesting way to France!