Top 20 Myths about France and the French People

I was chilling on the web when I had the curiosity to Google “French stereotypes”. I found a fantastic article on www.about.com about the top 10 myths about France. Let’s have a look at it.

1.       The French are Rude

I completely agree with Kelby Carr, we are not rude, we just “rude-back”. In fact, we react impolitely because people do or say something that is rude to our values.

When I first came in the UK I was really surprised by Britons’ attitude:  they never greet the bus driver, people in elevators, people in buildings and so on. And I am still not really used to it to be honest.

Also, here people just walk up and start talking and to my point of “French” view, it is just so rude!

2.       French People Hate Americans

Not true at all! Americans are welcome in our country! I met loads of American there and I always had a good time speaking with them. However, I am not a big fan of their attitude sometimes (speaking loudly, not saying hello and so on) but again ALL the Americans are not the same and a lot of them understand our culture very well.

Apart from Mac Donald, I am not a big fan of their junk food either. It not really our fault, we like healthy food. 😉

3.       French People Stink

Very surprised to hear that!!!! We are the best perfumers of the world!

4.       French Women Don’t Shave

What?!? Maybe my 99 year-old grandma do not shave but I can definitely say that we do and in Paris you can find Beauty salons every 3 meters and all of them are busy!

5.       All Women Go Topless at French Beaches

Ok. And what? I do go topless, nobody like to be half tanned!

However, I can confirm that ALL of us aren’t going topless at French beaches.  And as Kelby said” you won’t feel out of place keeping a bikini top”.

6.       Visiting France is Too Expensive

Yes, indeed. France is very expensive now. In fact, it is more expensive than the UK. But, some stuff remains cheaper like housing and transportation.

7.       All French People Smoke Cigarettes

No, most people in France do not smoke.
24 % of women and 36 % of men smoke in France which makes 78% of women and 64% of men not smoking.  I do smoke and most of my French friends do.

8.       A France Vacation Only Appeals to Women.

Why? France is not a women country, we do have load of men and they are enjoying themselves over there. So, why not you guys?

9.       You Must Speak Fluent French to Visit.

If you will be visiting a big city you do not need to be fluent in French. However, you should learn this sentence by heart “Bonjour, parlez-vous anglais?” as it is rude to speak directly in English to someone without asking.

Please note that if you are going to visit a little village or province, learning French is crucial!

10.       French Toilets are Disgusting.

Euh … Maybe?!? It depends where you are going. Public toilets and Mac Donald’s toilets are just super repulsive and real Parisians never used them.

So, I have to admit that our toilets are not the cleanest of the world.

I will add to these stereotypes:

1.       French eat eat snails

J’aime les escargots, c’est délicieux!

Before

After

Yummy! I eat them and love them. But like every food, some French people like and some don’t.  And we are not the only one. Snails are eaten in Spain, Italy and Greece. Asians put snails in the soup. Africans eat delicious big snails.

2.       French eat frog legs

Frogs’ legs are one of the better-known delicacies of French and Cantonese cuisine but “J’aime les grenouilles seulement quand elles sont bien cuites.”

Yummy! Only if cooked correctly as it is very hard to cook. It’s just delicious. It has got a delicate flavour tasting somewhere between chicken and fish.  But again, it’s not something that every French likes.

Before

After

3.       French women stay thin.

Let’s be clear, French are not all thin. The percentage of overweight people is not nearly as high as in the UK, but we are catching up to you.

I am 1m60 for 45 kilos and I eat without deprivation and all my family is kind of the same (2 sisters and 3 brothers and parents).

I think it comes from our school education. At an early age, teachers teach us how to eat. And I remember one of my teachers saying “eat everything you like with moderation”. Ever since, I eat this way: I love Mac Donald but I don’t go their everyday. I like French pastries, foie gras, wines, French fries, Orangina, hamburger, Big Mac, butter, bread but again I do not eat them every day.  I like eating and trying new flavours but moderate portion.

Here a very interesting article on the French Paradox: http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=62088

4.       French always strike

Tellement cliché!

Of course, we strike but not every day and Medias speak about us only when we strike. We are rebellious, unsubordinated, and stubborn.

We want our voice to be heard and we like our opinion to be taken into consideration by our politics and I think it is a right and it is the only way to be heard.  Sorry, we are not sheep like in other countries 😉

Of course, I hate the consequences of a strike: no trains, no metros, no petrol sometimes and so on.

5.       French people wear berets

Mon Dieu! That is a super cliché: A glass of red wine, a loaf of bread and a beret. This is an old fashioned view of France and most of French people believe that is it because of this old cliché that we didn’t win the right to hold the 2012 Olympics. First of all, the beret is originally from Greece, it is said that the Pays Basque introduced the beret in France. In fact, the beret is mostly worn in that region more than anywhere else and is referred as the beret Basque. 

6.       French kiss both cheeks

Yes indeed and more than anywhere else in the world! It is a form of greeting. And it is not only between males and females OR females and females but it is becoming common between men and men but this is up to personal choice.

However, when being introduced to someone we don’t know, females will cheek kiss and the males will just shake hands.

7.       French love Napoleon

Napoleon was an iconic and charismatic leader. He gave the French glory and nearly ruled Europe and at that time France was a proud and superior nation. He also gave all the countries he conquered to all his family and he surrendered at the battle of waterloo.

Besides, the Napoleonic Code is still in place legally throughout Europe apart from the UK.

We all wish France was that fantastic, iconic, influential, super powerful nation again.

8.       French call the British ‘the roast beefs

Trop drôle!

To be honest, I’ve never heard that from a friend or maybe once by a sales associate (talking about a rude tourist) but a roast beef if the way you Briton cook beef which is not our favourite way of cooking it.  So, it’s unfortunately referred to British we do not like. In fact, it is an insult.

Little modification, my fiancé has just read my post before publishing it and he said to me that ever since he wrote on Facebook that he’s living in the UK, he had received some wall messages as How are you roast beef or How are you doing in the roast beef country? LOL!

I really wasn’t aware of that but it seems that guys like to joke around this term.

9.       French are romantic

Of course, we are! And our French kiss are the best you will never experiment!

Pictures form: Skyrock, yayamusic.canalblog.com, stupiditiz, escale-ebook.com, nicdou.blogspot.com, money.unblog.fr, philippe-caza.blogspot.com, http://s-kro.humour-noir.over-blog.com,

About frenchychic

Born and raised in Paris, I am a Marketing and Sales professional. And now, I am a blogger! I used to be Australian, German and French (Parisian) and now a Londoner lady since February 2010. I love everything about France: the food, the wine, the fragrances, the designers, the music and our attitude, energy & character. My blog is not all about cosmetics nor fashion, is about what is happening in the world in a French perspective: how do we think? What do we think? Why do we thing like this? And what do we French think about YOU strangers from all over the world! It was my passion for arts, culture, international events & news, fashion that drove me into creating La French Attitude and I love every minute of it and I hope you too! Enjoy! Sté xxx

Posted on May 29, 2011, in French Culture and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Bonjour,

    Je suis flaté que vous ayez pris un de mes dessins pour illustrer votre article (très intéressant au demeurant) et encore plus que vous ayez eu la courtoisie d’en indiquer le lien.

    Je l’avais réalisé lors de la coupe du monde de Rugby après la défaite du 15 de France contre le 15 de la rose. Pour moi le terme “rosbif”, ne se voulait pas une insulte mais il s’agissait de désigner ceux qui, dans le sport, font figure de “nos meilleurs ennemis”.

    J’ai une sympathie particulière pour les britanniques, pour leur humour en particulier. Ce qui nous sépare est en effet bien moins important que ce qui nous rassemble.

    Vive l’amitié Franco-Britannique (à condition qu’ils nous laissent gagner de temps en temps au rugby et au foot).

    Et je pense savoir d’où vient le stéréotype sur le fait que les français sentent mauvais. Cela vient de l’époque où à Paris il n’y avait pas encore d’assainissement collectif et que les habitants jetaient leurs ordures par les fenêtres, sans prévenir pour autant les passants. Cela a été également enrichi, de nos jours, par le fait que l’achat de gel douche par habitants est un des plus faible de l’UE.
    Le meilleur exemple de caricature dans les dessins animés est “pépé le putois”, qui symbolise un français dragueur mais dont l’odeur fait fuir les demoiselles.

  2. magnificent post, very informative. I wonder why the opposite specialists
    of this sector do not notice this. You must continue your
    writing. I am confident, you’ve a great readers’ base
    already!

  3. franglaisemummy

    A very interesting read for me – a Brit, who lived in France for 12 years before moving back to London in 2010, and who has been married to a Frenchman for 10 years. Funnily enough I call my husband “my frog” and he calls me “ma rosbif” and it is what we have engraved in our wedding rings! As for the French smelling, I think it’s due to the lack of deodorant used, I know this shocked me when I first moved to Nice in 1996, where it is warm enough to really need everyone to use deodorant! Great post, thanks for sharing 🙂

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