1. The French are bad drivers – I guess you could say that they are aggressive drivers. I know whenever I am in a car whipping around the streets of Paris, I am usually hanging on for dear life! They also use their car horns uncontrollably about every 30 seconds. I had never heard so many cars honking until I came to Paris!
2. The French don’t shower – Ok, so this one is a bit tricky. They do shower, but maybe not as often as North Americans. Usually every other day is appropriate in France whereas I know people in Canada that shower 2 or even 3 times a day!
3. Parisians all wear berets – The only people I have ever seen wearing berets in Paris are tourists. They are usually brightly colored and have an Eiffel Tower on them.
4. French people eat snails and frogs legs – The only frogs legs that I have ever seen in Paris were actually at a Chinese buffet restaurant, so I don’t think they are as popular with the French as once thought! Snails, yes I do see those on a regular basis at restaurants and grocery stores.
5. Paris is a dirty city – Paris is an old city. Therefore it looks old and maybe a little dirty to some people. The buildings are a little black in some areas, and the sidewalks and metros could sometimes do with a little scrub. There is also the scent of Paris, which I call “Eau de Paris,” a mixture of pee and car fumes that is worst in the hot summer months. Paris does its best however to keep things clean by washing down many streets every morning. Little green water trucks and men with brooms sweep waves of water over the sidewalks and into the sewers to help keep things clean.
6. The French are rude – This statement depends where you are in France. Yes, Parisians have a bit of a negative stereotype about being rude and I must admit that I have found this to be true. I don’t mean every Parisian, but it is in their culture to use the “I’m not looking at you, so you are not really there” attitude. This goes for shop employees, people on the metro and even just people walking down the street who will not make eye contact with you or move over to give you some room. However, in other parts of France people and very friendly and more laid back. You will even find that they think Parisians are rude!
7. French people eat smelly cheese – YES! This is one stereotype that I cannot disagree with! As a cheese lover myself, I could not believe my eyes the first time I went down the cheese isle of the grocery store. I have never seen so many kinds! The only problem is that a lot of them are covered in mold and very smelly! If you visit a fromagerie (specialty cheese shop) you will even smell the cheese from the outside, before you even enter the store!
8. The French eat baguettes all day long – Breakfast, lunch and dinner will all include a baguette! Starting out the day they eat the left over baguette from the night before, with some jam. For lunch, there will be a basket on the table with pieces of baguette. On the way home from work, many stop at a bakery to pick one up, and can’t resist breaking off a chunk to eat on the way. Then, another basket is placed on the dinner table full of baguette!
9. The French drink Champagne like water – True! Any occasion they can think of is good enough to have Champagne. “It is Sunday! Let’s celebrate with Champagne!”
10. The French don’t speak English – The French actually have been learning English since a young age at school, so they are able to speak some English. The truth is that they just don’t want to speak English to you. I have struggled many times trying to say something in French to someone, only to find out that they really do speak English!
Can you think of any other stereotypes?? Let me know in the comments below!