Oh là là ! 5 clichés about French culture

Oh là là ! 5 clichés about French culture

If you are a fan of Netflix series, the french language and the french culture, then you must have heard of Emily in Paris; the sensational series illustrating the adventures of Emily, a young American woman, in Paris. Upon its release on Netflix, Emily in Paris has received a huge praise from global viewers. Yet, it was and still is criticized by most French viewers. You wonder why? Well, most French people would say that it is perpetuating stereotypes and clichés about French people, their culture, and Paris in particular. In this article, we will highlight 5 of the most perpetuated clichés about the French culture and their origin. 

  1. All French wear berets
All French don’t wear berets

Wearing a beret was perpetuated by the inhabitants of certain regions, artists or even intellectuals. It was also the headdress of film directors during the 1980s. We may not be sure of its origin, but we do know that berets had been particularly popular in the Pyrenees during the Middle Ages. Worn flat, tilted to one side, forward or back, it has long styled men and women of all ages but became scarce after World War II. Today there are probably only the military, some painters from Montmartre and very few people who still wear them. So no, not all French people wear berets. 

  1. French people cannot speak English
According to EF 2020’s report, France is 28th English proficiency country in the world and among 35 countries in Europe.
https://www.ef.se/epi/regions/europe/

Can you think of any other country where the people have difficulties speaking English? Of course you can. Unless you take language classes, practice the language more often than not, you will not be able to speak it fluently. In other words, you can easily find people who do not/cannot speak English in France, but that does not mean that ALL people cannot. In addition, if France remains one of the top tourist destinations in the world, it means that, as an English-speaking tourist, you will be able to find the right people to talk to and get what you want.

  1. It is the French who came up with the French Fries 
Pomme Pont-Neuf… according to French

Did you know that Belgium has actually claimed to be the origin country of the “French” fries? It has been known to many that french fries were born on the bridges of Paris in 1789 during the French Revolution under the name “pomme Pont-Neuf”. Nevertheless according to Belgian historian Jo Gérard, French fries have existed since the end of the 17th century among the neighbouring country. Will we ever know who came up with the fries? Not sure. 

  1. French people are lazy 

Assuming that the French work a little less, they remain indeed among the most productive in the world. Lazy people can be found anywhere in the world, but the majority of them are definitely not in France. 

  1. French (mostly parisian) people are often complaining
Napoleon said “The French complain of everything, and always.”

In big cities, people are always stressed and running somewhere. Especially in Paris, with a number of inhabitants that is very high, stress is communicated very easily between people. That is why we feel like people are always complaining. But that is definitely not the truth. Give people a chance, you might be surprised by what they have to offer, give, say, or show. 

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