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Old Nov 19, 15, 8:16 am #1
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Madame or Mademoiselle?

Dear Francophone Friends,

I am meeting up with a friend of mine in Paris in January. She is unmarried and we are both 'of a certain age'. How would I refer to her, for instance, when ordering a meal on her behalf with a waiter? Mme or Mlle? Seems that calling her just Elle in her presence is abrupt/rude, or is that proper?

Thank you

T2
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Old Nov 19, 15, 8:25 am #2

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Originally Posted by tartetatin2 View Post
Dear Francophone Friends,

I am meeting up with a friend of mine in Paris in January. She is unmarried and we are both 'of a certain age'. How would I refer to her, for instance, when ordering a meal on her behalf with a waiter? Mme or Mlle? Seems that calling her just Elle in her presence is abrupt/rude, or is that proper?

Thank you

T2
She is Madame. Mademoiselle is used less and less, and I think never for women older than 25 or so.

You're correct that you should refer to her as Madame, not elle, when ordering for her. Other people at your table are Monsieur/ce Monsieur, Madame/cette Madame, ce jeune homme, Mademoiselle, cette jeune fille.
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Old Nov 19, 15, 8:55 am #3
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Originally Posted by ajGoes View Post
She is Madame. Mademoiselle is used less and less, and I think never for women older than 25 or so.
Madame is proper as a first approach. If she wishes to correct you, she will do so. But the likelihood is low.
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Old Nov 19, 15, 11:24 am #4
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Most helpful!

Merci vous.
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Old Nov 20, 15, 9:39 am #5
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I only use mademoiselle for teenage girls.

I read an article a couple years ago about how single women are pushing for a change in a law or policy because they must be referred to as mademoiselle by banks and government institutions no matter what their age.
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Old Nov 20, 15, 10:18 am #6

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Originally Posted by tartetatin2 View Post
Dear Francophone Friends,

I am meeting up with a friend of mine in Paris in January. She is unmarried and we are both 'of a certain age'. How would I refer to her, for instance, when ordering a meal on her behalf with a waiter? Mme or Mlle? Seems that calling her just Elle in her presence is abrupt/rude, or is that proper?


T2
You could always ask her what title she prefers. Some older women still prefer the Mlle title. Or you could refer to her as "Mon amie".
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Old Nov 20, 15, 10:23 am #7
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Originally Posted by dlffla View Post
You could always ask her what title she prefers. Some older women still prefer the Mlle title. Or you could refer to her as "Mon amie".
Hum I don't think so, it wouldn't pass very well. Madame is best.
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Old Nov 20, 15, 11:17 am #8
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My partner gave me heck some 3 1/2 years ago because I addressed the (very) young waitress as madame. Talked to some friends in the Basque country a year or so later and they say it's now accepted/polite to address adults as monsieur or madame respectively, and as mentioned above, some want to codify it.
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Old Nov 20, 15, 5:58 pm #9

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Hum I don't think so, it wouldn't pass very well. Madame is best.
Why not? I'm French and it would be fine.
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Old Nov 21, 15, 3:59 am #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dlffla View Post
Why not? I'm French and it would be fine.
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Originally Posted by Yahillwe View Post
Hum I don't think so, it wouldn't pass very well. Madame is best.
I agree with Yahillwe (and I'm French too )
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Old Nov 21, 15, 4:14 am #11
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Originally Posted by dlffla View Post
Why not? I'm French and it would be fine.
Tell you why, he is ordering (or going to) that indicates that they are mature people, and that doesn't work for such an age group, respectfully wise.

Younger people (50s and under) the man would never dream for ordering for the lady.
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Old Nov 21, 15, 10:17 am #12

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Tell you why, he is ordering (or going to) that indicates that they are mature people, and that doesn't work for such an age group, respectfully wise.

Younger people (50s and under) the man would never dream for ordering for the lady.
I did not assume from the OP that he was a male and she was a female since the OP said they were both "of a certain age", which phrase generally implies women. But now that I think of it, why is the OP doing the ordering unless the other person does not speak French? Even if it is a male and he is over 50. And who decided that 50 was the dividing line. Lots of generalizations going on here.
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Old Nov 21, 15, 11:24 am #13
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Hello, I'm back.

We are both women in our 60's, and my friend speaks no French. I frequently order for my husband or other travel companions, once I translate the carte to them and get their choices.

Your input is appreciated. I will ask my friend which salutation she prefers.
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Old Nov 21, 15, 12:18 pm #14

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Originally Posted by tartetatin2 View Post
Hello, I'm back.

We are both women in our 60's, and my friend speaks no French. I frequently order for my husband or other travel companions, once I translate the carte to them and get their choices.

Your input is appreciated. I will ask my friend which salutation she prefers.
The server would address her as Madame in any case. I'd save them a potentially uncomfortable struggle and use Madame.
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Old Nov 21, 15, 2:21 pm #15
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Originally Posted by ajGoes View Post
The server would address her as Madame in any case. I'd save them a potentially uncomfortable struggle and use Madame.
Today, my daughter who is in her late 20s was addressed as "madame" by the waiter.
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