6 Common Stereotypes About French People Debunked

Every culture tends to come with its own set of stereotypes. Americans are loud, Italians are charming, and Japanese are polite. Do any of those sound familiar? And while, to a certain extent, many stereotypes are founded in truth, there are others which simply don’t hold any water. Few cultures have been the victim of constant stereotyping the way the French have. In fact, France, as beautiful as it is, can seem like an intimidating place to visit because we tend to hold all these preconceived notions about the locals. If you’ve been putting off a trip to France because you’re worried about common stereotypes being true, we’re here to set you straight. So start planning you journey because we’re going to debunk 6 common myths about French people and set you at ease!

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1. French people love to eat snails and frogs.

If you’ve ever been to Paris you probably have seen plenty of restaurants advertising snails and frogs as part of their menu. However, the truth is that these restaurants are offering the types of foods they think tourists or foreigners will associate as French. The reality is that French people very rarely eat snails or frogs, in fact the diet of an average French person is probably a lot more like yours than you would think!

2. French people are rude.

You will most likely run into your fair share of rude people in France, but then this sort of thing will happen to you no matter where you travel. Every major city in the world has a mix of both rude and polite people and Paris is certainly no exception. It’s also important to remember that it is one of the most visited cities in the world and some locals tend to get exasperated with tourists, but as a general rule French people can be warm and kind people – especially if you dare to travel outside the major cities and visit some of France’s smaller towns!

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3. French people hate when you don’t speak French well.

Many would-be visitors agonize over the idea of getting lost in translation in France due to the stereotype that unless you speak French well the locals simply won’t talk to you. For the most part this isn’t the case. Try using your French with the locals, even if you only know the basics, I can guarantee you that many of them will be charmed by your willingness to even try talking to them in their own tongue.

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4. French people smell.

It’s an ongoing joke outside of France that riding the metro in Paris in the summer can be a truly stinky experience. Originally, people claimed that due to a diet heavy in cheese, butter, and alcohol, the French have a stronger body odour than the rest of the world which is perhaps one of the most ridiculous myths out there. Rest assured, French people smell just like the rest of us.

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5. French people are extraordinary lovers.

There’s a stereotype perpetuated by the media that French men are good lovers and French women are sultry seductresses. If you were getting all excited about lighting up your dating life with a little French amour while in France, prepare yourself for a slap of reality: being French has absolutely nothing to do with being good in bed! Yes, the French tend to be less prudish about nudity and sex than the rest of us, but that doesn’t mean every Frenchman you meet is a Romeo in the making.

6. French women don’t shave.

No one is really sure where the stereotype that French women are hairy comes from, but it is no more true in France that it is in pretty much any other country. If you’re a woman and aren’t keen to shave your legs or armpits, more power to you, but it is not the case that all French women choose to do this. I’m sure like any other culture you have women who prefer shaving, and those who don’t, it’s all about freedom of choice and France is definitely big on that sort of female empowerment!

Do you know any stereotypes or myths about French people that you’d like dispelled? Tell us in the comments section and we’ll do our best to debunk them!