By Lucie, communication
In Duration ~ 4 min

Discover the codes for table setting and the order of the glasses

The art of setting the table is essential to the success of your guests. There are many rules for setting the table and the order of the glasses. In order to have a beautiful table in the French tradition, a few tips of good manners are necessary.


1. The basic rules to follow


In order to adopt the precepts of French good manners, it is essential to pay attention to many details when setting the table. The use and placement of glasses can be problematic if one is not familiar with the customs in this area. With a little practice, however, it is not so difficult to organise yourself well and avoid mistakes and errors of taste.


There are two rules for setting the table: place at least two glasses for the meal (one for water, the other for wine) and never have more than four glasses per person.


Another essential rule concerns the placement of glasses. It is customary to place the different glasses in descending order of size, starting from the left and moving to the right. This tradition is intended to make it easier to take each glass without hindering the movement of a guest wishing to reach his or her water or wine glass. This solution is the most suitable for being able to naturally reach for the glass of one’s choice at any time.


The French tableware tradition advocates aligning stemmed glasses along a diagonal axis, starting from the top of the meat knife tip. If the table is too crowded and makes this configuration impossible, it is permissible to shift the water glass to the left to maintain the diagonal alignment of the other glasses.


While descending placement is also the norm in Great Britain, English etiquette calls for parallel alignment of the glasses to the edge of the table.


2. The order of the glasses on the table


When setting a table, there are some important practices to follow, such as placing the soup plate inside the dinner plate, placing a bun in a napkin across the plate, or not placing dessert forks and teaspoons at the start of the meal. Similarly, there are strict rules for the use of glasses that are recommended for a smart dinner. They must be followed in a formal setting.


The water glass is the easiest to position. As it is normally the largest glass on the table, it is placed on the left of the line-up. If the service is mismatched, it may have no stem or be smaller than the wine glasses. In this case, it should be placed on the far right. The water glass lines up with the meat knife. If you only have one glass on the table, move it out of the way rather than centring it on the plate.

For wine glasses, the rule is always the same. You should arrange them in order of size, from the largest to the smallest. In general, glasses for red wine are larger than those for white wine. The correct arrangement is: the water glass, then to the right the red wine glass, and even further to the right the white wine glass.


If you are planning to have champagne with your meal, it is not always easy to place it. If you are using a flute or goblet, it should be placed in the second row, slightly offset between the water glass and the red wine glass.


3. The importance of elegant glasses


For a well-laid table, you will need a fleece, a tablecloth without wrinkles, a precise arrangement of the dishes and perfectly ordered cutlery and glasses. To take aesthetics a step further and make a lunch or dinner a special moment, it is advisable to provide yourself with refined knives, forks and spoons, as well as high quality glasses.


With the items offered by Cristal d’Arques Paris, you will be able to appreciate traditional or more contemporary styles through a wide selection of beautiful glasses. For your glasses, stemware and flutes, several reference collections are available. With their brilliant design and brilliance, these solid and practical models will make a great impact during your meals.


The Intense collection with its elegant water glasses is a good choice. They are made of a top-of-the-range lead-free crystal for a more ecological approach. Transparent and very resistant, these glasses can be used both in the home and for catering purposes.


For your champagne flutes and stemware, the Abstraction collection is a great choice. Their original design allows you to highlight the colour of your wine. You will also appreciate the crystal-like sound and the practicality of being dishwasher safe.