I wanted to take some time today to bust or confirm some popular American stereotypes of the French people. (Disclaimer: this is entirely based on my observations over the past 2 months and certainly does not characterize ALL French people!) Here we go:
- Yep, they really do smoke ALL THE TIME. Actually, no one I live or work with smokes, but it’s impossible to go to a café, stand at a bus stop, really be anywhere outside without finding either a cloud of smoke or a giant pile of cigarette butts.
- They really do eat baguettes, cheese and wine for every meal. A tradition I am more than happy to take part in!
- People actually do say Oh là là! Rather than the sort of coy expression it’s become in the states, it’s used here as the equivalent of “Oy vey” or something along those lines. In fact, the number of là-s you add, usually directly corresponds to the amount of stress you are feeling at that particular moment. As in “Oh là là là là là là là là là là là là!!”
- Strikes really do happen all the time. Luckily they’re all planned in advance so as long as you pay attention to the news, you know what metro lines to avoid because they’re on strike. Last week, the Eiffel Tower was on strike…
- I have not seen a single person wear a beret here, unless they were a tourist. They do though sell them in all the tourist-y trinket shops!
- No pink or purple perfectly coiffed poodles either.
- I haven’t noticed the French to be particularly smelly or hairy or in any way lacking at personal hygiene. In fact, they all dress so nicely that they usually look more put together than the tourists.
Do you know of any stereotypes that you would like busted?? Let me know in the comments!