My top 5 French stereotypes – Eugenie T.

We already had an article at the beginning of the year about German stereotypes; now it’s time to look at the French. My top 5 contain of things that I heard about France and French people. Some of them are true but others absolutely false or just too generalised.  

  1. French people eat a lot of baguette 

This is one of the first French words that I heard when I came to England for the first time: “baguette”. In fact, in most French families you will see a baguette, or just bread in general, placed on the table during the meal. Bread for French people is essential in their diet even if they know that it is not good for their health. When you are young and you say to your parents “I’m hungry”, they will just tell you to take a piece of bread. Many children have what we call a “gouter”, it is just like a little meal after school during which you eat cakes, cookies… However, more generally we eat a piece of baguette with salty butter and a chocolate bar and this is DELICIOUS !  

So yes, I think we can say that French people eat a lot of baguette and if you still doubt it, just go to France and you will see all the people who are queuing outside a bakery with their 1.20 euros in their pocket to buy a simple baguette (P.s. The best one is the “Tradition”) 

  1. French people do not speak English 

I think everybody know that this stereotype is completely TRUE. French people are very bad at English. I think it is not only the level of English which is bad but also the French accent which is very dominant. If you want to laugh about this beautiful accent just watch this video which is an extract of a speech of our last president, Francois Hollande : François Hollande – Discours en anglais aux Philippines – YouTube.  

  1. French people eat  and drink a lot of cheese and wine 

This is pretty true, wine and cheese are the pillar of the French gastronomy. In fact, every Sunday during lunch you will have your traditional cheese on a piece of baguette. The moment during the meal when you eat cheese is as important as the dessert for example. Also, most of the time you will see French people around a table with their glass of wine which is chosen depending on the menu : red wine when you eat meat or cheese, white wine for fish and finally rose, which needs to be fresh, drunk mainly during the summer at any time during the day.  

  1. French people are dirty 

I never heard about this stereotype before I came here. At the beginning of the year I was talking with a German friend and when I asked her about French stereotypes she immediately told me that French people were dirty. I do not think that French people are dirty and I really don’t know why some people think that. So I wanted to know more about this stereotype. It seems to be a stereotype that goes back as far as WW2 so it is not really representative. In a survey from 2015 is was reported that 57% of French people shower daily, while only 20% of the British do. However, you can say that the streets are very dirty, especially at the moment because there are a lot of protests and the bin men have been on strike for one month now and this gives rise to mountains of rubbish in the streets of the capital. But this is temporary. Here are some photos that my dad sent me, but do not worry Paris is not always like this and I have never seen it that bad before.  

  1. French people are rude 

I do not think that we can say that all the French are rude because this is too generalised. However, when I saw this stereotype I read the explanation which was given and it said that this is more for Parisians. In fact, I think we can say that Parisians are quite rude but it is probably because their life is very hectic and people in Paris are always in a hurry. Should you visit Paris, you can see this by taken the metro for example. In fact, if you are on the wrong side of stairs some of the citizens will not be very understanding and will tell you off. I also read that some waiters look rude when you want to order something in a café in Paris. This might be down to the fact that when English people order something they only talk in English (Note the English stereotype here!). But as we have seen read earlier, French people don’t really speak English. I think when someone doesn’t speak English they are nervous and they look rude but it’s just that they don’t understand you and their ego is affected. However, people from the North and South parts of France are generally considered to be warm and friendly.   

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