Parisians are the rudest people in the world. Film and TV have made us believe that Parisians are arrogant. So when we actually visit Paris, we expect the locals to treat us poorly. To their surprise, a young American family discovered in the Paris Metro that several commuters quickly assisted them when they struggled to board the subway with their stroller and three children. So are there any rude people in Paris at all? By all means. But they don’t amount to more than in other large cities around the world.
French women are the most stylish, the most beautiful and the sexiest women. Especially
male foreigners believe that French women are superior in matters of appearance and sex. It is an impression promoted by British or U.S. newspapers and glossy magazines that deceive their readers with headlines such as "French women are thinner, prettier and sexier than you." They interview an upper-middle class Parisian woman and make her representative for all 33 million French women. France has just as many beautiful women as Italy or Russia does.
French people are not hard working. Some Western media love to make bad comments about the French work ethic, citing the 35-hour work week, a generous vacation package, and lengthy lunches - even strikes - as proof of national laziness. The French value their time spent with their families or friends away from work. Why should they be ashamed of that? Besides, the French 35-hour work week only applies to non-managerial workers. If you ride the Metro during rush hours, the Parisians look just as stressed and overworked as their London or New York counterparts. The French get a much better vacation package than the British and Americans do. They got it because they kept asking for it. Keep your moral outrage. If you disagree, just be happy with two weeks per year, or no vacation at all, and go on.
Lunches last two hours. That is a total myth. French people - or Parisians anyway - eat takeout food like sandwiches, salads and sushi at lunchtime. Luckier workers have access to canteens which provide three-course meals at incredibly low prices. But two-hour wine-laden lunches are almost non-existent. Weekend family lunches, however, do last three or four hours. Make sure that you've got a cushioned seat.
The French only eat baguettes.You may be disappointed to discover that French people eat bread other than baguettes. You can buy prepackaged, sliced bread in supermarkets - just like
we do in Britain or the U.S.
French people talk about philosophy and poetry all the time. French local supermarkets feature the same trashy magazines you can find in British or U.S. stores. The similarity doesn’t stop here. If you turn on TV, you’ll watch shows such as “Dancing with the Stars”, “France Has Got Talent”, etc. -- not to mention all the cooking, dating and partying shows.
French people drink wine only. Did you know that the French actually drink beer? Maybe not as much as the
Germans or British do; however, beer is popular in France. Brewing beer is the one thing French people believe that Belgians can do better than they do.
French people cannot speak English. Although many French people took English classes at school, they feel very insecure about speaking it. This is partially due to the negative feedback they got at school. Hopefully, the new language teaching methods had a chance to enter the French public school system and create a positive change over time. Interestingly, in a comparison of English skills with other EU countries, French students fared the worst. The fact, however, that France is the world's most visited country requires service industry professionals to speak English. Most of the French people tourists encounter (in hotels, restaurants and at tourist sites) are perfectly able to communicate in English.
If you know of other French stereotypes, we love to hear from you.