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Hi! My name is Sarah and I am the face behind Glimpse Creations. I am an award winning jewelry designer and lifestyle blogger who recently spent 5 years living in Paris France. Here I will share my adventures in Paris, Fashion, Crafting and Food!

Stereotypes of France

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!

Vintage French Cars

Vintage French Cars

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.

French Beret

French Beret

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.

Escargot

Escargot

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!

French Cheese with Mold

French Cheese with Mold

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!

Baguette

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!

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9 Comments on “Stereotypes of France”

  1. SnowFlake January 20, 2014 at 10:24 am #

    The French are elegantly dressed – I don’t wear my trainers or gym clothes to do my groceries ever since I came to live in France! I realize people wearing casual attire like that are kind of looked down on by the French!

    • glimpsecreations January 21, 2014 at 2:23 pm #

      That is so true! I feel like I always have to be a little dressed up no matter where I am going here. I love wearing my flip flops, but I stand out like a tourist when I wear them in the summer!

  2. SnowFlake January 20, 2014 at 10:25 am #

    Reblogged this on CultureGeek and commented:
    I always wanted to compile a list of French stereotypes myself and this list echoes most of my thoughts! 🙂

  3. phildange January 20, 2014 at 7:22 pm #

    You are not hostile, but you don’t avoid classic American misunderstandings about what’s going on around . The French refuse to speak English ? I read this blatant mistake everywhere . When a French can speak English he/she will be too happy to show off, or kind enough to be a help . The thing is centuries of French soul have printed a deep respect for language in French subconsciousness . So, even if they know some English, most French people don’t dare butchering it, and also they don’t understand well English spoken with a native accent . This is the only reason .
    And about driving, what you say comes from someone who didn’t see – and drive in – many places . Italy, Portugal, Greece, Spain, are more ” aggressive” in driving, but it’s nothing compared to Africa, Asia, Latin America . Same thing for horns . French drivers are very careful and quiet compared to the majority of the world .
    I could say something about every point of your post . More time to understand and more places to compare to avoid many “definitive” wrong interpretations, an element which Anglo-Saxon tourists are n°1 world producers .

    • glimpsecreations January 21, 2014 at 2:31 pm #

      I am sorry that you didn’t read this blog as it was meant and don’t get my sense of humor. This article was meant to have a little fun with all of the classic “North American” type views of France. I have actually traveled to all places you mention and agree that the driving there is much worst, but I was comparing French driving to Canadian, not the rest of the world. My Fiance is French, born in Paris and found this article entertaining, very accurate and was the one who pushed me to publish it. So, coming from a French person, I figured it was ok to poke a little fun at how North Americans can sometimes view them.

  4. phildange January 21, 2014 at 6:56 pm #

    Right, but this is so much always repeated and repeated, and Americans believe so easily what they are told without a personal checking that I’m afraid you contribute to feed these childish mistakes . And what you said about French refusing to speak English,well I found this bullshit being a main cause of animosity and hostility expressed by US tourists against the French . In short your humor support the average anti-French thoughts that appeared in America after the second Irak war, which reached unbelievable summits in the Fox News/Texan minded humanoids .

  5. pedmar10 January 21, 2014 at 7:34 pm #

    nice funny article of the French, well I am French, and you should go see the show of olivier Giraud at http://www.theatredesnouveautes.fr/spectacle/olivier-giraud

  6. pedmar10 January 21, 2014 at 7:38 pm #

    and for the points above
    1) yes compare to north americans
    2) we do every day unless on the RSA
    3) no need to go to basque country
    4) snails yes frogs no
    5) well some off tourists spots on the 13,19,20 do
    6) no vive la différence
    7) of course the best
    8) yes of course
    9) not every day, on special times and we do make it as often as possible
    10) yes, we do ::) but in schools we are taught to be perfect in French so if Learning afraid to say mistakes
    cheers
    Salut

  7. vicky February 24, 2014 at 11:36 am #

    I discoverd this cute video of a French living int the u.s. – she shares her observations in Uncle Sam’s country. http://youtu.be/72loVxocUQo
    She talks about “striking in France” …That’s SO TRUE

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