by Léa Dérédjian
The French have a solid reputation abroad and everyone has their own stereotype of the country with a tricolour cock as an emblem. However the majority of them don’t match with reality and persist despite their origin dating from historical facts of the last century.
From logical stereotypes to more curious ones, we’ve clarified the preconceived ideas about the “Frogs” (as the French are known in the west).
The Food : “French people love to eat snails, frogs’ legs, rabbit, horse”
Reality : It’s true that for French people, meals and good food are a really important part of life, but they are not all gourmet. French people eat a lot of frozen food, and McDonald’s is very popular in France.
Frogs’ legs seems to be more famous in the South-East, but they stay quite unusual for a lot a French people. Most of the frogs served in Paris are consumed by tourists.
Regarding horse meat, it’s true but it’s very uncommon, even if we can find horse butcheries in streets of Paris.
The Romantic : “French people are the most romantic and seductive people in the world”
Reality : In surveys of the most romantic languages, French is often among the top results. Alas, this is a stereotype that isn’t necessarily true.
In fact, the French are not overt and expressive about emotions. Despite what people might think, a typical French man won’t be extremely affectionate, and they won’t make grand and romantic gestures.
Most of the time, French people only flirt in nightclubs during parties, or in bars over a drink.
The Fashion: “A typical French person wears a beret, a red scarf and a striped t-shirt called marinière”
Reality : Although we do not really know who invented the beret, we do know that it was particularly popular in the Pyrenees since the Middle Ages. Carried flat, inclined on one side, forward or backward, it has long styled men and women of all eras but became scarce after the Second World War.
Today they are probably worn only by the military, some painters from Montmartre, and participants from southwestern French festivities to pay tribute to it.
About the marinière – not all French people have closets full of striped t-shirts of all kinds, although this accessory is worn as a fashion accessory by Coco Chanel and Jean-Paul Gautier.
However, French women are really sophisticated and chic. They represent a high symbol of elegance in typical French style.
The Breakfast: “All French people drink coffee the morning on the Parisian terraces with croissant and bread”
Reality : French people have a very quick breakfast in the morning; some don’t have breakfast at all.
France is undoubtedly a country of good bread but in terms of consumption, it is the Germans with 85 kg / person who eat the most bread in Europe every year. The French, on the other hand, are smaller players, with 58 kg / person per year.
Instead of leisurely breakfasts, the French have long lunches; their lunchtime has a reputation of lasting at least one hour, if not more. Especially if you have a meal with your family or friends for special occasions like birthdays, religious celebrations (Christmas, Easter, etc…).
On Shaving: “French people don’t shave”
Reality : … and it’s true! (partially) For a few years now, the hipster style has became very fashionable in Europe and men stopped shaving their beards.
We sometimes hear that French women don’t shave, but this cliché goes back to the Second World War. It must be said that at the time, between occupations and bombardments, women had other priorities than thinking about shaving.
On the other hand, today, 73% of French women wax their armpits, 83% their legs and 54% their bikini line (which is not huge, but remains the majority).