Posted by / Category Cultural Differences, Stereotypes /

I discovered this side of the Channel that we French were supposed to be (in no particular order) romantic, sexy, cute, stylish, and so on, and so forth… Don’t you find it amazing what people assume about us? The reality may be quite different. Here is a list of 10 things you probably didn’t know about us. So much preconceived ideas, right? Read on…

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  1. It is not uncommon in France for toddlers to start nursery at two. The only requirement is to be toilet trained. By three, you are supposed to in the maternelle ‘petite section’. I started school at 2, and I am not traumatised for it, thank you very much.
  2. Trees in big cities (such as Paris) are referenced and measured. For the record, there are more than 450 000 of them just in our capital. Yes, that’s how thorough we are.
  3. The expresso coffee in my small village in France costs less than 1€. Yep, you read this right. Less than 1€. It costs £1.60 at Starbucks down my road in London (That’s c. €2.30).
  4. France might well be the most depressed nation on earth. France has long been known as having a high prescription drug use rate. Numerous studies have put France among the world’s top consumers of antidepressants. Apparently, one in three is on psychotropic medication. You see, the treatment of depression in France is very medication-based.
  5. No tipping. Prices are supposed to be all inclusive. You can round it up if the experience has been nothing short of amazing, but that’s as far as it goes.
  6. Customer service in not our strongest point. Just saying.
  7. At almost 30,000 km, the French rail network is the second largest in Europe (after Germany), and the ninth biggest in the world. France was one of the first countries in the world to utilise high-speed technology, introducing the TGV high-speed rail in 1981, and today has more than 1,550 km high-speed track. We love our trains. We are very proud of them. Don’t you dare criticise them.
  8. Amongst European countries, France has the highest wealth tax.
  9. We French had an early version of the internet called Minitel. Until the early 1990s, we could still pay bills and shop at home using the Minitel. I told you, we do things differently.
  10. French toasts, French fries and croissants haven’t actually been invented in France.250px-Minitel1

So, tell me, are you surprised? Is it what you expected? Have I managed to change your views on us French?No? Not even a little bit?

  • John Jackson

    A common mistake made in Britain is to confuse Paris with France as a whole. In reality, for a Parisian, ONLY Paris is France. Anywhere outside the peripherique is another country (well, nearly).

  • Karen Nelson

    Very interesting information, thank you!