When speaking through a French person, you may be tempted come sprinkle some clichés or well-worn jokes right into the conversation. However if you desire them to choose you, there space a few cultural sensitivities to be responsibility of, several of which aren’t apparent to united state foreigners.

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Rosie from Not also French and also I put our heads with each other to come up through a perform of the best faux pas, clichés and cultural misunderstandings we anglophones make with French people.

We’ve both placed our pieds in our mouths in ~ a few dinner parties, so take it it native us and avoid this topics:

“You’re French? ns love Paris!”

A friendly reminder spotted in the Paris metro.

Only two million the France’s 67 million inhabitants live in Paris, and also many from external the city don’t have actually a good opinion that Parisians. Therefore while you might love Paris, French people don’t evaluate all gift lumped together, or the presumption they every live in the capital city. Local pride is substantial in France. Each département has its very own cuisine, culture and background and to immediately ask about Paris have the right to feel favor you space ignoring their heritage. Better to ask, “what an ar of France are you from?” first.

“Your interval is sooooo cute!”

Some French human being are sensitive around their English skills, and also pointing the end their accent deserve to feel favor a dig, even if her comment is well intentioned. French education focuses a lot on reading and also writing — so because that example, while mine husband learned English for nearly a te in school, he hardly spoke it until he did an exchange routine in Canada. And also often their English teachers in French public institutions aren’t native speakers, therefore they are finding out from someone through a French accent.

“Ew, girlfriend eat that?”


Snails, glands, offal — French world enjoy foods you may find different from her cuisine back home. But calling that gross just makes you look uncultured and rude. I when accidentally ate veal kidney at my job-related cafeteria, and when ns made a comment around how weird it tasted to mine coworkers, castle told me even youngsters eat rognons de veau in ~ school. That made me look at childish!

“So, what do you execute for a living?”

Talking around money is a substantial faux pas in French culture. And by asking around someone’s job, it have the right to be taken together being nosy around how much money they make. There is a solid Catholic influence on the country’s as whole attitude towards wealth, and flashiness or obvious displays that money aren’t appreciated. French people additionally rarely consider work the most interesting thing about them, and also it’s not uncommon to invest a entirety evening v someone and not discuss their job.

“I love her home/car/bag, it’s for this reason nice. Just how much did you pay because that it?”

This goes in the very same bucket that money sensitivity. Asking just how much something expense can be viewed as gauche or do the efforts to figure out if someone is wealthy. And being overly free is other French world make funny of Americans for (a French person impersonating one American will say: “That’s so amaaaaazing!”). The exemption to the dominance of money talk? Taxes. Complaining around taxes is a national sport.

La Défense, the company district to the west the Paris

“Everyone to know French civilization don’t favor to work.”

French civilization hate the cliché that they room lazy and constantly on strike. Yes, lock enjoy more protections for workers and also vacation time 보다 in many other countries, however France has the 6th largest economic climate in the world, therefore they have to be act something right. Protests and strikes room a component of the culture (and they room very an excellent at it), yet in truth Canadians walk on win more. Lot of of French people work overtime and also are ambitious, and even joking the they space lazy deserve to upset people.

“You know you’d be speak German if the wasn’t for us Americans.”

Not just is this in history iffy — it’s très rude. Ditto with the “French love to surrender” and also wave the white flag references. In general, jokes about the people Wars are far better left alone, together Europeans space still sensitive about this period of your history. Ideal to be respectful.


“Are you religious?”

Faith and also prayer are very private here. France is a majority Catholic country, however there is a peculiar dichotomy between religious beliefs and also society. The public sphere and religion are claimed to be completely separate, a principle called laïcité (or secularism). Due to the fact that Catholic holidays and also traditions are so wrapped up in French society the truth is much less so, but religion in basic is no a topic to bring up with world you don’t know well. There is no prayer in school, or public prayer the means you watch in America, despite it appears every street, town and dessert in France is named after a saint.

“Who go you poll for?”

The French love to talk about politics and also policy, however the details candidate who votes because that is organized close come the vest. It isn’t uncommon for even family members not to know. Because there are an ext political parties 보다 in the U.S. The isn’t always easy come tell that someone supports, and also there isn’t a culture of displaying your political choices with t-shirts or bumper stickers.

“Hello!” without even trying “Bonjour!”

Walking up to a French human being and starting with English is a sure-fire method to piss turn off or confused them. Even if you move to English after, a “bonjour” as soon as you enter a shop or approach someone is taken into consideration the most straightforward of courtesies in France.

“You recognize those French men, they all cheat.”


In reality, French males don’t cheat any much more than in various other countries, despite French society is a bit much less puritanical about sex in general. As soon as I an initial moved come Paris, I confirmed some of my husband’s girlfriend a video clip of Pepé Le Pew, the cliché Frenchman in a cartoon form. Unsurprisingly, no one of them uncovered the portrayal as a smelly, groping skunk funny.

“Voulez-vous coucher avec moi?”

Just don’t. You aren’t the first (or millionth) human being to make this joke and they don’t think it’s funny.

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Have other you’d add to this list? A story around a faux pas girlfriend made? leaving a comment and also share!

And if you want to learn an ext on the truth around French clichés, inspect out this renowned post: do French world Really stay Berets? French Clichés Investigated

The “you know you’d be speak German if it wasn’t for us Americans” is the rudest. I was shocked while analysis it, since in France, in general, us don’t think about the Americans together our “saviours” at all. This is offensive, and if ns may, it originates from a self-centered point of check out of WWII, which could be teach in American schools yet not in France. Really, never say that to a French, and also globally an europe person.