Common Stereotypes About French People: Real And Imagined

Source – Unsplash – Charles Deluvio

Read about common French stereotypes and which ones are actually real, and which ones are totally made up.

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France is an incredibly popular destination for us Brits and 8.56 million of us visit every single year. It has epic skiing destinations like Chamonix, gorgeous beaches like Corsica, the fame and glamour of the French Riviera, and the chic people and phenomenal architecture of Paris. We also love France for its wine, cheese, pastries and fashion.

To summarise, we just love France.

However, that doesn’t mean that we haven’t stereotyped French people over the years, lots. Most stereotypes are well-meaning, or simple misunderstandings, but it still makes sense to get an understanding of what is real, and what is totally imagined. This is especially true if your company is looking to extend your video content to France and you’re adding audio translation or looking for a subtitle service. You could end up not only adding incorrect information to your content, but it could end up being quite offensive and damaging your brand.

To help you get a better understanding of which French stereotypes are true, and which are totally made up, lets take a look at the most common stereotypes about French people and whether there’s any truth in them at all:

French People Are Rude

French people tend to be very proud, classy and direct. Whilst this may seem rude to us Brits, it’s often just a difference in culture. There can also be a language barrier that may cause a misunderstanding in communication. Overall, if you are friendly and polite to a French person and perhaps just try to speak a bit of French too, they will be friendly and helpful to you.

French People Are Chic

Without a doubt this stereotype is true. You only need to go to Paris, have a coffee and watch the crowds go by to see that French people are naturally classy and chic. Paris isn’t a fashion capital for nothing.

Striped Shirts, Garlic Necklaces & Berets…

This type of Frenchman outfit is an incorrect stereotype that is believed to come from an Onion Jonny which is a man who cycled years ago selling strings of Roscoff onion or garlic. The area in France is believed to have lovingly embraced this tradition now, and there’s even a festival of it which you can see footage of here. However, there is some dispute as to exactly how ‘French’ this tradition is at all, and whether or not it exists now only as a tourist draw.

French Cheese Smells

French cheeses can be stinky, and to the benefit of those of us who just love the pongiest of cheeses. However, they aren’t all like that. In fact, the most well-known and commonly purchased cheese in France is called Comte and it is known for being extremely mild in flavour and odour.

French Ladies Have Hairy Armpits

Whilst we all know that there’s nothing wrong with a hairy armpit, the fact is that some women in France do have them, but it’s not many. Europe is more open than the UK in its nudism and acceptance of female body hair, and France is no different, nor worse off for that fact either.

French People Eat Frogs

French people do eat frogs, in fact, around 80 million frogs legs are consumed every single year in France. This might seem hopping mad to us, but it’s just a normal food over there like any other meat.

French People Only Enjoy Accordion Music

Whilst French music is in fact a part of French history and was very popular in the 1930’s in France, the fact is that they have plenty of other genres of music there too now like rap, pop, folk and electronica. If you include accordion music in your promotional video alongside your professional audio translation, you’re likely to create a rather stereotypical and behind the times piece of content that may not be received all that well.

France has so much to offer, and they have stereotypes about us British people too. The fact remains that we continue to work well together as countries, and ultimately, there’s a huge respect and love for this incredible place and the true people, culture and country behind the stereotypes.

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