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Monday, 27 September 2010

Things I've learned about France and the French

Ok guys so I've been here for two weeks to the day and basically just thought I'd give you a little update on how it's all going and what I've learnt about France and the people here in general.

Quick note; this isn't meant to offend anyone! Just pointing out my observations! And it'd be interesting to hear back from you guys whether the rest of France is like this, or whether it just applies to Strasbourg or the Alsace region!

Another quick note; As an Englishman, these seemed strange to me and the culture I grew up with. These may be relatively common for the rest of the world!

Ok so here we go:

- Everyone here smokes

- Relating to the point above, it's not uncommon to see people using a pipe to smoke

- Everyone cycles

- People who ride motorbikes/mopeds/Vespas are insane. Cutting up cars, speeding down pavements, and   EVERYTIME two people on a motorbike meet, they see who can wheelie the longest. I see this a LOT

- Here the French, similar to the Spanish, have a sort of Siesta, and most shops open around 8:00, but will close at midday and re-open at 14:00

- The people here seem to partially fit the stereotypical image of a French person. Seen a lot of berets and nearly everyone (whether it's just the students because is cheap,) eats baguettes

- It's expensive as hell. Some pubs ask for 7Euros for a whiskey, where as a single Whiskey in my home town is around £2.50, or 3.60Euros

- People drink half pints a lot more than pints

- Public transport is ALWAYS on time

- People are very helpful; approaching me and asking if I need help (An obvious student with a map out)

- Juice is extremely common, and it isn't as easy as I thought it would be buy regular, justaddwater style squash

- It's clean. Although graffiti still exists, it exists more as an art form than scribbled names. Litter isn't a problem here

- They LOVE their cheese here. So many varieties.

- A lot of people pay using cheques. Not sure if this is just England being different, but it is rare to find a place that still accepts cheques as a form of payment

- The French don't mind a beer, at 10am

- One of the most bizarre for me, when the 'green man' is displayed when crossing a road, it is not unusual for cars to still drive over the crossing, but simply wait for pedestrians to cross. The fact they can still drive with the green man there is what's a little foreign to me. This point is kinda hard to explain, but in England,   if the red man is showing. Pedestrians can't walk, and cars can drive. Here, if the green man is showing, cars can still drive, as long as they are no pedestrians.

- One for just as UK people, still not use to other side of the road driving. Although I don't drive, crossing a road is still daunting as I'm not used to looking to my right hand side first!

That's all I got at the moment! Just a bit of an update on the culture shock really. Love it here though so don't take this as a a 'Things I hate about France' post!

Like I said earlier, be interesting to see if anyone else agrees and whether this is the same throughout France, or just Strasbourg.


  1. * people will spit in your face if you talk in english :D

  2. interesting, i usually just hear the stereotypes about the french. maybe i'll drop through one day if i ever take that european vacation. good read

  3. Would love to visit, been to Holland but thats about it. Anyway enjoyed reading your insights

  4. We need some french commenters to verify or deny these statements! But they don't seem that far fetched.

  5. Interesting. I've always wanted to go to France.

  6. hmmm, actually sounds kinda awesome.

  7. France sounds awesome! I would love to go there sometime :)

  8. I like this, awaiting your next update!

  9. lmao on some of the things thats cool , the post kept me interested in it

  10. Very interesting lol

  11. I went there on a vacation, and some french restaurants wouldn't even let us inside. It wasn't because we were rude to them or anything. It was because we were American.

  12. That driving sounds really scary.

  13. Lovely post. I've been to France and enjoyed it very much. Make the most of it, and try not to let stereotypes get in the way, let them bother you when you're out of the country.
    While there, be French.
    Will be following your adventures.

  14. this is a good post that makes me want to come back for more

  15. I want to visit France! I liked learning it when I was still in school.

  16. Interesting, my view of the french is pretty bad. Been on holiday multiple times to france and never liked to ppl there..

  17. France is know about there romantic citys and cheese and parfumes.

  18. I live in belgium , just north of france and I have visited france many times. I can completly agree on the drivers part. They are freaking insane and totally dont have any patience !

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