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  • Laura Vuillemin

What Characterizes a French Person?

A plethora of (more or less justified) clichés are linked to French people.


However, did you know about the below?


⭐French people are attached to secularity. Religion should be kept separate from public affairs. That’s why you will never see our presidents read a prayer at a funeral, or end their speech with Dieu vous bénisse [God bless you].


⭐ French people may seem rather cold at first sight, but once you get to know them, they will usually quickly invite you for a meal at their place.


⭐ French people value politeness and are taught very early to say Bonjour, Merci and S’il vous plaît. Being greeted when entering a store or a restaurant is considered basic manners and if that doesn’t happen, chances are we won’t come back.


⭐ French people don’t like it when they are immediately assimilated to Parisians (Oh you are French! Are you from Paris?). France is more than Paris (and Paris doesn’t represent France).


⭐French people are used to get served bread and tap water for free when they are in a restaurant. They often miss this while abroad (but will, of course, adjust).


⭐ French people speak a lot about food, and even while eating! It’s not unusual to be enjoying your gratin dauphinois while already planning the next dish you will prepare for you or your guests. Food matters a lot to us.


⭐ French people have several verbal tics, the most famous (considered irritating by some due to its frequency) probably being Du coup. Some also like to start their sentences with L’idée, c’est... and others would use (too) many anglicisms (Le feedback de mon CEO me permet de mieux performer).


⭐ French people are not huge fans of air conditioning, particularly when it’s set very high. It can definitely help when your car has been standing in the sun for hours, or when you live in the Provençal hinterland or in a city like Lyon, but air conditioning is far from being the default in our homes.


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⚠️ This list is obviously not exhaustive and I am, also, not saying that all French people are like this.


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