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French clichés

December 20, 2017

From strange taste in food, bad behaviour with strangers or our funny dress code, French people have been confronted with many kind of different clichés. As a French teenager, I would like to correct those funny things that people may think about my country and its inhabitants. I may deny things, add others and even confess that sometimes, those clichés are not that untrue . If you want to hear the truth and know French people you may be interested in what follows.

Let’s start with the food! 

The French gastronomy

France is seen as the country where people eat well. From our cheeses, our ‘viennoiseries’, wines and every kind of food. There are those restaurants, where you can eat really well such as:

la Scene Theleme, Bacco, le Poulpry, l’Orangerie

We also have many good and well-known cooks such as Alain Ducasse, Alexis Soyer, Anthony Bourdain, Gaston Lenotre or Paul Bocuse.

French gastronomy seduces a lot of people and it is now a fact that cooks go to different countries to open French restaurants and they have a lot of success.

The good Disney animated movie Ratatouille is a really good representation of the French gastronomy and those good restaurants (don’t worry , when I say that it is a good representation I’m talking about the food and not the rats!)

Wine

France is well-known for its wine, especially Bordeaux. It is true that we have the best red wine in the world and no one could ever say that we don’t. I have heard Americans say that  French people sit at a café and drink every hour a glass of wine. Well this is exaggerated. French people do like and drink wine, but not every single hour. Plus, not every one drinks a glass of wine every day even if a lot do.

 Do French people eat frogs?

To that question I can say that yes, there are some  places where you can find frogs as a dish. Personally I have never eaten frogs and I don’t know many people who already have. So yes some do but most of the population would rather eat a good piece of meat than a frog.

The “petit déjeuner”

Every country has it own particular type of food.  For breakfast, Americans like to eat bacon, eggs and many other things; it is the same for English people who like to eat savoury things. At breakfast , French people mostly eat bread (baguette or other kind) with butter and sometimes they add jam. There are also some others who like to eat croissants or pains au chocolat. I have to add that French people eat a lot of bread and it accompanies nearly every meal.

Dress code :

French women all dress like fashion models:

 

 

 

 

The idea that all French women dress well is widely spread. Many French women are interested in fashion and like to be elegant, but it’s far from being true for all of them. Most French people buy their clothes at H&M and Zara and wearing clothes from brands like Dior or Chanel remains a dream for many.

French people wear Berets:

It’s true that if you are walking in the streets of Paris you may encounter a few people wearing Berets but it’s not that common among Parisians. I don’t want to say that it’s”rare” but almost . People who are more seen with berets are the ederly but thanks to Dior the beret is making a coming back in the city. Tourists and locals wear it so no one would suspect you of being a tourist if you do.

French People Wear Striped shirts:

The idea that hordes of French people wear striped shirts is another stereotype that people have latched onto and perpetuated over time. Sure you see people wearing this iconic French shirt once in a while however it’s not as popular as it once was.

The striped shirt is actually called a ‘marinière’. It was the official uniform for the French navy seamen in Brittany following the 1858 Act of France. Originally, there were 21 stripes, one for each of Napoleon’s victories. Some people say that the distinctive block pattern and stripes made the sailors easier to spot in the water if they ever fell overboard.

in 1917, Coco Channel changed the fashion industry and immortalized the striped shirt when she introduced the design in her nautical collection to the fashion world. Soon after the famous French striped sailor design became associated with haute couture and beautiful women like Brigitte Bardot and Audrey Hepburn who were seen wearing striped shirts.

(source: https://www.annieandre.com/stereotypes-about-the-french/)

Ever since, the striped shirt has come in and out of fashion and has become the epitome of Paris style. Very few people even make the connection between French sailors and striped shirts any more but now you know.

Other kinds of clichés:

French People Walk Around Holding Baguettes:

In every town, big or not there are bakeries. Most of the time, even if you live in a tiny village there is more than one bakery. It’s not uncommon to see people with baguettes under their arms if it’s the morning or after work, at the end of the day. Baguettes are really addictive so if one day you want to settle down in France you will probably adopt this way of eating and living.

French People Smell Bad:

France is known for its many perfumes so it would have been sad to say that this cliché was true. Let me say it clearly, we don’t smell bad! We shave every day, we take showers, actually we are pretty normal. Our smell is not that different from other people! Except maybe for the exquisite perfumes that we add after washing! 😉

 

 

 

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