France Seen From Abroad

Berlin Translate

Have you ever wondered what the stereotype of the French across borders is? 

Results are contradictory, to say the least, for better or for worse…

As the French have the reputation for being sensitive, let’s start by not being offended by what will follow (Quebecers, Overseas France, Belgians and other French-speaking countries are spared).

The French would then be rude, abrupt at first glance, obsessed by food, with a questionable hygiene hidden by the smell of perfume and convinced that France is THE country where life is enjoyable par excellence.

The traditional stereotype saddles the French with a baguette, a beret and an unflattering striped Marcel. The stereotypical Frenchman also sports a moustache, he/she is caffeinated, smokes like a chimney, and drinks wine like whey from an early age.

However, the French would also be good lovers and cookers, gourmets, cultivated and dressed to the nines. Moreover, the charm of French life has been widely passed in some films such as Woody Allen’s famous “Minuit à Paris” (“Midnight in Paris” in English).

France seen from abroad: What is the basis of this complex reputation, to say the least? 

The behaviour of French tourists is not reputed to be the most exemplary. And for good reason. Impatient, complainer, unfriendly, saying out loud that “there’s nothing better than France” and obstinately refusing to speak another language than the one of Molière. This can be partly explained by the low language level of the French (compared with other European countries). By the way, an international study awarded the French people the award for the most unbearable tourist.

Of course, these are just generalities and it’s better not to take such prejudices to heart. 

Finally, there is a host of films with clichés (justified or not), which partly fuel these misconceptions. Then, the exciting Julie Delpy’s “2 days in Paris” slightly points the ultra-liberated and taboo-free side of French education out. 

Home exchange is also about universe exchange. As for stereotypes, try to discover on your own how true they are.

And you? Do you think this reputation truly reflects French people? Living abroad may change your mind.

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