French clichés
Daily Life

French clichés : Are they true ?

We all have clichés about many things : culture, language, people,… Let’s find out right here and right now whether the most common French clichés are true or totally wrong!

French women are stylish

As I myself am a French girl, I would love to say that YES we are stylish, elegant and have an innate sense for fashion (glad you can’t see what I am wearing right now!). It is true that we do wear dresses or skirts in our daily life and in general we like to feel pretty by dressing up, wearing make-up and having the hair done. Unlike in other countries, we would not go grocery shopping wearing pyjamas. But does getting dressed mean that we are stylish? Absolutely not. Some French women do have a sense for fashion, some don’t, as well as some care and some other don’t care.

French men are romantic

Most foreign women would love to date a French man as they are said to be romantic. What you think : they will bring you bouquets of flowers all the time, hold the door for you, take you on a boat on the river for dinner or on a ride on their motorbike. Well, French men like to seduce but are not as romantic as you think they are. They will not be overdemonstrating about the fact that they are in love with you and they won’t organize extravagant surprises. Nonetheless, if you like daily life gestures, like compliments and thoughtfulness, and you consider it romantic, then yes, most French men are indeed romantic.

French people do not speak English

I have to admit that this is one of the French clichés that is kind of true. Let me explain it to you : French people, even though we studied English at school as our second language for at least 6 years, do not WANT to speak it! We are shy when it comes to speaking a foreign language and we are afraid to make mistakes. We actually don’t want to make a fool of ourselves. But don’t get me wrong, it’s not only about English, it is about all languages! Rather than trying and making mistakes but being understood by our interlocutor, we prefer pretending we don’t speak your language, having a hard time understanding each other but being sure no one will mock us. Sorry about that 🙂

French girls do not shave their armpits

That stereotype is among the French clichés that are really well-established in foreigners’ mind, and honestly I don’t understand why! I have never met in my whole life a single woman who did not shave her armpits. Of course, I heard of some feminist trends asking their peers not to shave in order to fight patriarchy. But not shaving is a militant act to protest about the place of the women in society, and not necessarily because they enjoy having hairs!

Small parenthesis here : Whatever you do, this is your body and no one should tell you what to do with it or not. For shaving, it is exactly the same : French women usually do it, but if they don’t, it is their choice and we should not draw attention on that or make them feel bad not to do it.

French people eat frogs

Frogs-legs

That one is… TRUE! Frogs are food in France. I have never tried it though and I am not the only one, but it is not unusual to find it on the menu of some restaurants. I heard that it tastes a bit like chicken. If you want to know more about frog’s legs in France, check this article. No worries, if it is not tempting you, you will find something else to eat while in France!

French people are unfriendly (not to say rude)

First of all, this French cliché is really rude. Second, it is kind of true 🙂 We have to be frank, French people can be very cold. As indicated earlier in this post, French people will not make the effort to speak English, and that might be the first sign of rudeness for foreign tourists. Most often, this stereotype relates to the ones you will inevitably be confronted with when in France : waiters. I also find that the Parisian ones can be rude sometimes : in a rush and almost contemptuous. However, I can assure you that waiters are nice outside Paris!

Bread, cheese, wine

French people only need a baguette, cheese and some wine to be happy => That is (almost) true! When we don’t know what to eat, when we organize a picnic, when we have an afternoon craving, when we do not have anything left for dinner, when we are in a rush, we eat bread and cheese with wine. We love it, we can find it everywhere and it is quite cheap : Perfect combo!

Are there any other stereotypes that you have about French people? Let me know in the comments and I will let you know if the French clichés you have are real or not 🙂

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4 Comments

  • Pamela Beauvais

    I must admit, I’ve been nervous about visiting France because fear that I’ll unintentionally offend or be rude as a tourist. I plan to visit a friend and completely immerse meself in your beautiful language and culture, but I’m so terrified that I’ll do something to offend. I’m a quiet and shy person so hopefully that will work to my advantage? How can I be a good tourist and friend to France?

    P.S. I have thoroughly enjoyed your blogs! I read each one.

    • Sabrina F.

      Thank you so much for your comment Pamela! It is heartwarming!
      I totally understand. Sometimes, traveling can be stressful as we might offend somebody as we are not aware of the culture there and what is common to do or not. But don’t worry, I am sure you will do great in France. Learning a bit of French would help you a lot for sure as, in every country, if you know the very basis of the language, people start opening and start to feel more comfortable 🙂 If you have any specific question, do not hesitate to ask them.

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