Unconditional about the baguette and the cheese, little hardworking, grumpy and arrogant but also elegant and gourmet. You guessed it: these are the famous shots on the French . Indeed, a certain number of received ideas, often paradoxical, stick to the skin of the inhabitants of the Hexagon.
Why are they so persistent? By what historical factors can we explain the existence of stereotypes? How do we relate to our European neighbors? So take a sample of non-native people and ask them what stereotypes they associate with the French. You will not be at the end of your surprises!
After this quick brainstorming, you will find that many more or less justified ideas come back regularly.
The French snapshot in a few words:
If we had to quickly give an overview of the prejudices about the most common French people, here is what we would get:
1) Side dress , the typical French wears a beret, a red scarf and a striped vest called "marinière".
2) The French like to move with a stick under the arm because they eat it every day without moderation
3) Cooking and meals occupy a particularly important place in their life. France is the country of cheese, red wine, snails and frog legs.
4) The French do not work much, are particularly fond of holidays and like to demonstrate or go on strike for any reason.
5) The French embody a certain elegance, are particularly attentive to their line and love haute-couture
6) The French, especially in Paris, are not models of politeness: they are very direct or even arrogant and condescending towards the others, especially with the tourists
7) The French are followers of the gallantry and are very romantic
8) They do not are not examples in terms of hygiene, which explains their taste for perfume
9) The French are not the first in the class when it comes to expressing themselves in a foreign language.
10) Refined and curious about everything, the French loves literature, "cafes philo" and endless debates to change the world
Every French stereotype contains some truth
Regarding the baguette, the 35 000 bakeries that exist in France sell nearly six billion baguettes per year. In other words, even if the consumption of bread in France decreases each year, the French are not ready to abandon their sacrosanct wand!
In Europe, the French are not the biggest consumers of bread. Germans, Bulgarians, Serbs, Cypriots and Greeks are in front of us. Thus, with 85 kg per person per year, the Germans are considered champions over our modest 58 kg annual.
Regarding the French culinary habits , It is true that the meal is a privileged moment. In France, unlike Germany or Switzerland, the lunch break can be longer than an hour or an hour and a half. The French gastronomy (especially baking) is world famous. As for the famous French fries, let's say at once that we do not know for sure if it was the French or the Belgians who invented them.
It is exaggerated to say that the French work little. Admittedly, the legal duration of work is 35 hours a week, which is little in comparison with Germany or the United States (40 hours). That said, the French are 15% more productive than the Germans and we have five weeks of paid vacation per year as in many countries.
French big cheese consumers? On this point, no dispute possible! With more than 26 kilograms of swallowed cheese per year per person, we are indisputably the ones who love it the most.
With regard to the nickname of "froggies" or "frog-eaters" that our neighbors across the Channel attribute to us, it does not seem justified. Let's not forget that frog legs are eaten especially during parties or in restaurants. In addition, they are also eaten in Louisiana, the Caribbean, Quebec and some African countries. This is not a French specificity !
Any cliché has a historical origin
In the same way that there are national pictures, there are regional pictures. If you have seen the movie "Welcome to the Ch'tis" , the southerners have ideas about the climate and the mentality of the inhabitants of the region of Hauts-de-France (formerly, the Nord-Pas-de-Calais ). In this film, the people of the South think that it is always cold and rainy in this region while Brittany, Normandy or the Paris region have more or less the same rate of sunshine. Let's not talk about other misconceptions that link this region to reality TV, coal mines and the leaning for alcoholic beverages!
All those who have already set foot in France have found that the French wearing beret and vest stripes are few, it is the least we can say. The beret is worn mainly by the Béarnais and the Basques. The green berets of the legionnaires and the great berets of the Alpine Hunters are also legendary. The marinière, it was rather worn by the Bretons.
The latter are often perceived as having a hard head, that is, stubborn. The typical Breton refuses external authority (Asterix the Gaul, who rebels against the Romans, is he not Breton?). If the Bretons defend their language and are proud of their flag, it is because they have been prejudiced in the course of history. Today, the word "redneck" is a pejorative term for a boorish, clumsy or badly dressed person. Well, imagine that some historians believe that the Parisians used this word at the beginning of the XX th century to refer to the Britons who came to find work in the capital!
Each of us therefore has a certain number of ready-made and more or less positive opinions on this or that category of individuals. And the French do not escape this rule.
Some stereotypes about the French can lend to smile as they are far from reality while others are very close to the truth and explained in a rational way.
To check the accuracy of current ideas about the inhabitants of France, there is nothing better than to come on the spot to make up one's own opinion. So, it's time to come to France for a language study trip on the French Riviera!