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Nadege Preston

Nadege Preston


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About Me:Hi I’m Nadege and I study French at the University of Leeds, and I have just completed my third year abroad in Montpellier studying literature and enjoying the sunshine! I love art; painting and being creative, as well as photography and baking. Travelling is my favourite hobby at the moment; experiencing the French language and culture. I hope you enjoy reading some of my articles!

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Stereotypes about French people; vrai ou faux?

Stereotypes about French people; vrai ou faux?

As many of you will be aware, there are numerous common stereotypes/accusations about French people and their habits. This article, drawing from my personal experiences, will aim to discuss as many of the well-known stereotypes as possible, to come to the conclusion as to whether they are proven to be true or false.


Below are the top myths about French people highlighted in bold, with a short description and clearly written underneath whether they are true or false – hopefully this will leave you with a much better understanding of French people and what it is like to live in France.


French people smell.

I think this has to be one of the top clichés about French people. Comments such as ‘French people smell of garlic’ and ‘French people don’t wash’ are very common stereotypes. To suggest that the whole French population doesn’t wash is actually quite hilarious – I personally have never come across someone who has looked like they’ve come from the Middle Ages. French people are well dressed, and well perfumed. However, in the ‘campagne’ where people live in the middle of nowhere, yes there may be some people who live the country life and care a lot less about hygiene. This said, no I have never smelt a poignant garlic scent coming from a French person – or seen a French person wearing a garlic necklace, like many fancy dress shops sell.

The conclusion is: False.


French women don’t shave.

Yet again, I have never come across a French lady sunbathing on a beach with armpit and leg hair. Just like in England, or anywhere else in the world, it is a personal decision whether one shaves, and not a stereotype to France.

The conclusion is: False.


French people are rude.

This stereotype is harder to debate, because I have experienced how French people are stubborn/say things exactly how they are and yes, they do not know how to form queues. But this is their way of life, and in everyday life, French people are incredibly friendly! Always doing the ‘bises’ (French kiss) to anyone they meet, always greeted in shops to a friendly ‘Hello/Bonjour’ and you cannot leave a shop without saying ‘Have a good day/Passez une bonne journée’, the French are honestly the most welcoming people.

The conclusion is: False. 



French people refuse to speak English.

There are obviously some regional differences, as those living in small villages will most likely not be able to speak English, however in towns and cities, almost all French people know basic English. Waiters are able to describe a menu in English for example, or you will often hear French teenagers speaking in English to one another as they listen to so much English music and English/American television programs. What I found strange is walking into French shops and hearing English music. It really makes you realise how much the English language is taking over the world and is overriding the culture of other countries, which is a shame.

The conclusion is: False.


To be continued..



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