False and True Rumors About French People

Since I have now lived almost half of my life in France and the other half in the United States (France still wins by a few years), I thought I would be a good judge of what rumors about French people are true or not according to what American people say.

You know, you hear these true or false rumors about French people all the time.  Unfortunately, some are completely made up, but really believed to be true and real. So let’s see what rumors are true and what rumors are false according to my own experience and knowledge about them.

French People are Rude

Ah, that’s a very famous one, isn’t it? But is it even true?

Well, after having lived in the US for so long I understand why French people may seem rude, but really, deep down they are not any more or less bad then other people are. The reason why they seem to be rude is that in general they put much less of a façade than people do here, in the US.

Let me explained. I’ve worked with people who dealt with the public either over the phone or face to face here in the US.  I seen those people putting on their best selling faking faces while talking to a person that they totally insulted as soon as that person turned around or hang up if they were on the phone. In my world this is not being nice, it’s just being down right hypocrite.  I’ve observed that many times too, let me add.

While a French person might not insult you to your face, they still won’t put on such friendly act if you are getting on their nerves. But I have to say that Americans get the Academy award on this one.

This is why French people have a reputation of being rude, especially here, in the US. With French it’s more what you see is what you get. They just won’t put so much of a polite front if they don’t feel like it. Thus, the reputation of being rude.

French Speak other Languages

That is a false rumor if there is any. Of course, there are going to be some people who speak two or more languages, like anywhere else in the whole wide world, but as for the general public (the majority of people), they don’t.

Most French people that I’ve ever came across with in France while living there, and the few times I went back on visits do not speak any other language, not even English. I know that my friend Oliver Tausend from Germany would agree with me on that one. We were just talking about this over a Google Hangout this past week.

The thing is that French people tend to be very proud of their language (and that’s not necessarily a good thing), and don’t care too much about other languages. When they do learn English it’s because they have to for their profession, but that’s about the only reason why they would learned English. As far as other languages, they don’t even bother. And it doesn’t even matter that France is a direct neighbor of Italy, Spain and Germany.

Now at an individual level, that might not be true, it wasn’t true for me, but that only because I’ve always had a passion for languages and I had a goal to speak several languages during my life time. But that’s not everyone. Far from it.

French Men are Better Lovers and More Romantic

Ah, don’t you love this one? Well, am sorry to say, but it’s false.

My friend Annie Andre wrote a post on this subject a little while back, and she seems to agree with me.

Do you know that in France men don’t even propose marriage like they do here? There is no bending on knees to propose marriage there, or if there is, I’ve never seen it or heard of it.  The first time I ever saw this, was here in the US.

So, to me, American men tend to be more romantic.

As for better lovers, well, that’s an illusion as well, and that is true only at an individual level I guess, and could include anyone, anywhere in the world. There is absolutely nothing that makes a French men more or less of a good or bad lovers. As a matter of fact, history has shown that many French women chose men from neighboring countries such as especially Italy, Spain, Germany and Poland  as lovers or husbands.

French are More Liberate

Well, yes, this one is a given. French have been more liberated than Americans not just by a few years but by a few decades.

Back in the late 70’s and early 80’s a vast majority of beaches was basically 99 percent topless, and French movies have started to show nudity in regular non-erotic cinema since the early 60’s, and it was in full bloom in the 70’s and 80’s and still going on till this day.

When I was in the 8th grade, one of my two gym teachers had no problem showing himself naked in the girl pool’s dressing room. My mother was the only mother who went to the school to complain when I told her, and I didn’t even told her right the first time it happened.

However, nothing ever happened to guy. This was in the late 70’s. Any teacher doing this today here would go to jail I supposed, but not back then.

Now, not every single French person feels that much deliberated, however. I know plenty of people that don’t and I don’t at all myself either, but that is definitely common in France, and frankly I have no idea why this is the case, though.

I hope we clarify those four well know rumors about French people, here.  And I hope I could prove my point about them in this post.

If you know anyone who believe such rumors one way or another, please, share this information with them.  In the meantime, let me know what you think in the comment area.


27 thoughts on “False and True Rumors About French People”

  1. What a wonderful post Sylviane.

    One of the other things i wanted to share is our experience in France so far. I’ve been to France many times before moving here but it was always for a vacation. We usually stayed for a month and then went back home. As you know, vacation mode is not like real living. When we moved to marseille we had no idea that it was the least French city to live in. (this is my opinion). It was not exactly what we were expecting. Now we do live in a very typical french town but i have learned that there are so many variations of french here in France. Especially here in the south, the accent, the food and even the people. It’s like going to Texas, New York, Alabama and California. All so different but all in the same country.

    Anyways, thanks for the mention. I love talking about sex. ps my since being here, my sons don’t even flinch anymore at the topless women at the beach. When they first arrived it freaked them out but now it’s just another booby. LOL..
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    1. Ahaha I love that Annie,

      First off, yes, being on vacations somewhere and actually living there it’s totally different. And you’ve seen that for yourself, didn’t you?

      I laughed at what you said about your son. In France we are exposed to this kind of stuff so young, that we don’t even pay attention to it anymore, and that goes for everyting and anything in life. Doesn’t it?

      Since I was a child I’ve been exposed to this stuff thought TV and real life, and I couldn’t care less 🙂 like you kids now. That’s why I don’t really understand the big deal they are making here. I know I don’t do it, but I don’t care if I see someone’s behind at all. It doesn’t offend me. Just don’t care 🙂

      Thanks for your input, Annie 🙂

  2. I think a lot of our opinions we got from the movies Sylviane. I mean having never been to France but hearing all these different things about it just kind of makes us start believing.

    I love that you set us straight here all while learning a thing or two. I enjoyed Annie’s post on which men are better lovers. How fun was that!

    Thanks for this enjoyable post and for a few lessons along the way about France.

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    1. Hi Adrienne,

      Ah, yes, the movies… don’t they teach us some BS sometimes? It’s like in French movies they like to represent Americans with a Texan hat, like all Americans wear such hat!

      It’s true that what comes from the movies is so stereotyped and tacky, yet, people tend to believe that it’s the truth.

      Thanks for bringing up this point, Adrienne 🙂

  3. Love this post Sylviane. I think every nation has it’s own identity and we tend to have pre-conceived ideas about all nations. I often wonder where these pre-conceived ideas come from and I can’t help thinking there is always a grain of truth behind them. So I’m very disappointed to learn that French men are not great lovers…you have shattered my illusions 🙂
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    1. Hi Louise,

      Sorry to disappoint you, but really you should care only if you intend to have a French lover, right? And if you did, well, it could be a great one too… 🙂 Like I said there is nothing that can make a French man MORE or LESS of a good lover 🙂

      It’s always like that, people have some perceptions about other countries that are totally made up. I heard several things about the US when I was in France that are not true either.

      Thanks for coming, Louise. By the way, that’s a French name, just like Adrienne’s 🙂

  4. Hi Sylviane,

    this is a very interesting post, gotta love it.

    Thanks for the mention, and of course, I second you on that. I told you the story of this retired genteman having worked as a sea traffic controller at the port of Le Havre. He didn’t speak English although he dealt with international vessels. On the same occasion, an elderly lady let me know that the French “were not talented for learning languages.” How is it possible that an entire nation is talented or not talented for anything?

    Interestingly enough to me, France can be a country of extremes, much like it is said about the US. I’ve had the worst and the best food ever in France, I drank the best and worst wine ever in France, we found the worst and the best price/enjoyment-ratio eating out in France, we’ve met the kindest and the rudest people in France. France has shiny and modern cities, slick trains and highways without any potholes and bumps (other than Germany), but “la France profonde” (the “deep” France) is extremely rural and sometimes even deserted. It has awful tourist areas that scream “run, run, run” while there can be the most tranquil beach a few miles away.

    This list could go on and on and on…

    What do you think?



    1. Yes, that lady who told you that French weren’t good at learning other languages didn’t know what she was talking about, obviously. It’s ridiculous to make such statement about a whole nation, isn’t it?

      I don’t know I’m French and I’m good at learning languages 🙂

      Yes, you can find extremes in France, but that can also be true here in the US and other places as well, doesn’t it?

      Thanks for your interesting comment, Oliver!

  5. Hi Sylviane
    Oh I love this post.

    Let me share my experience on these. French people are rude. When I was living in the UK in the 70s I was told French people were only rude to the English so if I said I was Australian they would be nice 🙂 Not sure if it worked as you say most do not speak English. I could speak a little French back then and got by. Oh I just covered the speaking other languages too.

    The French Men bit – hehe – I do not agree from my experience. I met a French man when I was travelling in Thailand a couple of years before I met my husband (I have to put that disclaimer in here).
    He sent me bottle of French Champagne to Austalia as I had told him how much it cost here. He then came out to see me all the way to Australia and sent me all the flowers in the florist shop. He was very romantic.
    Now given I am on the interenet I will not say too much as to his lovemaking but I did say I did not agree.
    ALthough clearly I have a sample of one person only to judge all French men by lol.

    French are more liberate – yes I was shocked to see the topless bathers when I first visited. Then I think we would have been fined in Australia. I was told bikinis were only sold by the bottom as no one purchased the tops. I think they were teasing me.

    Thanks for a great post and a trip down memory lane for me.

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    1. Hi Sue,

      I see that you are an expert about French 🙂 I am sorry if you ran into some rude people. Are there such people there? YES, of course, but my point was that all in all there are not more or less than some other parts of the world.

      When I went to France for my brother’s wedding I invited an American friend of mine from New York, and at a restaurant, because we were speaking English, I guess, the waiter thoughts we were “both” Americans and was about to help some people who arrived after us. So I raised my loud French voice and asked him why the heck he was doing this! He was very embarrassed when he found out I was French. I know you are going to find some idiots like this one sometimes 🙂 But I seen some of those here in the US as well 🙂

      As far as a great lovers. Well, like I said, it’s not that French can’t be great lovers is that there is no proof that they can be more or less of great lovers. I guess that you’ve just got a good one in your case 🙂 I have not 🙂 🙂

      Thanks for your excellent feedbacks!

  6. Hi Sylviane, I’ve never been to France so I really envy you! I hear it’s beautiful there so please don’t tell me that is a rumor 🙂

    I’m totally crushed to hear that the men aren’t romantic. I always imagined walking through the streets of Paris and meeting the man of my dreams some day.

    Thanks for setting me straight on all of this. Maybe I’ll get there one day.
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    1. Hi Ileane and nice to see you here 🙂

      No, that’s not a rumor in this case. France is a beautiful country. It does has its little ugly ducklings here and there like anywhere else in the world, but over all it is a magnificent country.

      I’m glad you enjoyed this post 🙂

  7. Great Post. I always knew of French being very romantic, not rude. I personally never really knew any French people, however I did go to France for vacation awhile back….I enjoyed it very much.

    This artical is great……You did a wonderful job with the explanation for sure.

    1. Hi Carol,

      Well, like I said in my post, I’m not sure all French are romantic and as a matter of fact, they are not in some cases like anywhere else, But I’m glad if you never ran into someone rude. Again some are, but lots aren’t 🙂

      Thanks for coming.

  8. Hi Sylviane,

    Interesting post 🙂 I think, as Adrienne said, that people who haven’t been to France (or anywhere else for that matter) tend to form an opinion based on what they hear or see in movies and TV or what they read in magazines.

    I’ve been to France a few times and have always found the French straight going, by that I mean if they’ve got something to say they say it…

    I’ve been on a couple of beer runs (as Beer is so cheap in France) and when I’ve needed help, I’ve been helped even though there was a language barrier people saw my need and came to assist, even when I was loading a large van with beer 🙂

    I can’t comment on romancing a Frenchman as I’m not that way inclined but I think people find the French accent romantic which is where that myth comes from.

    As for the beaches…. well let’s just say I look forward to sampling them 🙂

    Thanks Sylviane,
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    1. Hi Barry,

      I really smiled while reading at your comment. I know that you must not be interested in French men since you’re married to a woman 🙂 and that a good thing dear!

      I am glad that you found some helpful people there. Of course there are some very kind people in France like anywhere else.

      French are much more direct than Americans, for example. That is just a fact. Almost everywhere I’ve been in the US, I’ve had the reputation of being direct. I think that sometimes there is even too much of a contrast between me and other people around me, but I can’t change that 🙂

      Really appreciate your feedbacks, Barry and thanks for coming.

  9. Hi Sylviane! Thanks for sharing these surprising revelations, I personally think that the media played a very critical role in making these misconceptions known to the general public but nevertheless, I am deeply in love with your culture and I can’t wait to visit!

    1. Hi Kristine,

      That is for sure, I think that the media has a lot to do with those rumors.

  10. Some people tend to make hasty generalizations and I’m glad you shared these clarifications. It can be unfair to be judged erroneously. Thanks.

    1. Hi Joy,

      That’s why I wanted to write this post. To clarify things up.

      Thanks for coming 🙂

  11. Yes-we often tend to have preset notions in our minds regarding other countries and cultures. Thanks for writing this very informative post-i hope many people read it to overcome such prejudices!
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  12. What an informative post! French people everywhere thank you for bringing this up, I’m sure it’s difficult to live under a stereotype! More power.

  13. Thanks for raising this concern, Sylviane! It’s quite unfair for anyone to be judged this way, it’s never safe to assume on a general basis. I’ve met a couple of folks from France and they were all very accommodating and pleasant.

  14. I am very sad on reading that French man are not great lovers and hard core romantics. Me and my sister have grown up with the thought of dating a French man because of the high level of romanticism in them. On, the whole, a nice post I had a gala time reading it. Thanks for the share.
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  15. Thanks for making these clarifications, people are often misconstrued because of the images conveyed to us by external sources.

  16. As I read the comments, I realized that only a few men commented and almost all the comments are from ladies. I just thought that French guys are really interesting people to the ladies.

    Anyway, I learned something from the article, we should not always generalize all people from just one person.

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