12 Funny Cliches and Stereotypes About the French People
To know France is to love France, but for some reason, the French are a very misunderstood bunch. We’ve broken down some of the most common clichés and stereotypes about the French people and hope to put some of these to bed for good!
1. They All Have Typical, Hyphenated French Names Like Jean-Paul
I’ve only met one Jean-Paul in my life, and he was American. These hyphenated names have aristocratic origins, and today they are still considered too bougie and pretentious for most French, so these old school names may be getting phased out.
2. They All Wear Stripes and Berets
Both of these became associated with France due to their usage in their military uniforms, but became fashion statements thanks to the likes of Brigitte Bardot and Coco Chanel wearing them. Through the years, famous fashion houses have made them trendy, but it’s mostly Americans buying into it.
3. French People are Rude and Hate Americans
This is mainly assumed about Parisians and honestly they deserve some credit. Imagine you lived in one of the most touristy cities in the world and were constantly asked for directions on your way to work? You might be a bit bothered, too! The French just aren’t as open with talking with strangers like Americans are.
4. They All Smoke
While there’s no denying there are a lot of French who smoke, it’s by no means a requirement for citizenship. Tobacco costs and taxes have continued to rise over recent years to deter people away from the habit, and it has dropped significantly, but it seems to be still quite popular with the younger crowd.
5. They're All Very Fashionable
It doesn’t help that so many couture fashion houses are French, but they really do just seem to have such a polished, clean look. For the most part, most French woman seem to have a fairly neutral color palette to their closets, and you can’t go wrong with neutrals!
6. French Women Don't Get Fat
In our fast food obsessed culture, it’s not very hard for everyone else to seem skinnier. But what’s the secret to the French staying slim? They savor their food by not taking huge bites, enjoying a nice meal slowly, and not snacking all day long. We might learn a bit from them!
7. They’re the Most Romantic but Also Cheat All the Time
Unfortunately, there is cheating in every culture, but for some reason the French are really hit hard with these allegations. It seems to come down to the fact that while they don’t officially condone cheating as a country (obviously), they seem to be more forgiving when it does happen.
8. They Eat Escargot and Frog Legs
Frog legs are definitely on a lot of French bistro menus, but mostly for the tourists to get that authentic French feel. France has even banned frog hunting, so any frogs being served aren’t even local to the country. Escargot on the other hand, is more popular for a fancier French appetizer, perhaps at a holiday or dinner party.
9. Ohh La La is Commonly Used
This one is actually semi-true, but the French don’t use Ohh La La in the stereotypically “look-at-that-sexy-woman-over-there” way that we think. It’s most commonly used as “wow” or as a strong reaction to something, either good or bad.
10. They Don't Want to Work Which is Why They're Constantly on Strike or on Vacation
The stereotype that French are lazy couldn't stray farther from the truth. They simply know their rights in the workplace and beyond, and since the French Revolution, constantly fight for them! They greatly value separating work and personal life, and are lucky to be given so many vacation days a year!
11. The Women Don’t Shave
The history behind this actually seems to have to do with the fact that Americans started pushing clean shaven as the norm, and therefore anyone who didn’t adopt this was different. However, with the feminism movement in full swing, there are plenty of women all over the world who have decided to stop shaving, either completely or not as often. Girl power!
12. They’re Obsessed with Baguettes
Obsessed is a word the French would never say, but this precious bread is in fact an everyday staple in most French homes. It’s very normal to go out and get a fresh one in the morning or when picking up the kids from school. But let’s get real, who isn’t in love with baguettes?