| A few more questions about France
||How do the French see their own country ?
is the Euro ?
Euro is now the currency of 17 countries including France( UK,
Denmark, Sweden and most newly admitted members do not belong
The Franc remained in use until February 17, 2002 but it as
a fixed proportion of one Euro (1 Euro = 6,55957 Francs)....
As explained in a recent and brilliant book by T.R.Reid,the
Euros can be considered, after only a few years, like an outstanding
success and a major achievement for the building of Europe.
|Why so many
police in the streets?
the number of revolutions
in this country (1789, 1830, 1848, 1871, 1936, 1968, to name
a few), the State is always afraid of trouble and riots in Paris.
All the (many) revolutions in France started from Paris. This is why until the 1970s, Paris was the only city in France
which did not have an elected mayor. Read more about French police.
| Why are French women
|| The answer
is in French Fried (published
in 2001) ! Read about the French
woman and the Seven-S Rule....
Following are a few commonly
shared stereotypes of France as seen globally by the French.
A " Harmonious "
country : the French always refer to France as the " hexagon
" ; it is a fact that the shape of the country fits in a
regular hexagon but the image is so commonly used that it must
be seen as a sign that even the shape of the country refers to
" harmony " and " regularity ". The French
also value their temperate climate, i.e. not too hot, not too
cold, etc, the mix of seaside, mountain and plains as proof that
France's geography reflects perfection. Read some geographical
||The rooster is the national bird,
dating back to old Gallic traditions. It shows a genuine sense
of humor to take such a stupid and arrogant animal as a national
symbol. As Churchill pointed out, "no wonder the French
took it as an emblem: it is the only animal who can sing with
his feet in mud (he used another word...) and believe that
he is the one who makes the sun rise..."
|Why don't they
speak English ? It would be easier for everybody.
|| Their language is extremely
important for the French : children spend hours every day on
grammar and dictations. It is socially crucial to speak and write
well and, for years, the annual contest "La Dictée" (the
dictation) was followed by millions on TV. Read about "l'exception culturelle
française" (the French cultural exception)
| See more
questions and try my French Quiz
Seing itself as the country
"which invented the concept of Human Rights",
France sincerely considers it is entitled to defend it worldwide
and there is an implicit competition with the USA, which have
exactly the same feeling !
An important country
! The French refuse to admit that their country is a medium-size
world power ! You may consider it ridiculous (and you'll be right
very often) ; but you may also consider it positively : the French
did not give up and in fact, their influence is smaller than
they think but bigger than it would be if they had given up exercising
some form of leadership ! See French foreign
policy and read Peyrefitte
| What a challenge to explain
France and the French to Americans!
A "modèle social"
(social model) : the French are proud of their social protective
and very attached to them ; they wonder why other countries do
not emulate them.
Asked to speak on several occasions
while in the States, Harriet Welty Rochefort is frequently asked questions
- why are the French anti-America?
- the Euro (it was down, now it's
- are they as aggressive with
each other as with other people ? Answer : no : they are worse.
This is a KEY fact ! Read a quote
- freedom of the press in France
(yes, there's freedom of the press!),
- what kind of sports the French
practice (the same ones we practice in the States except baseball
- what language the French use
in French schools (French!!)
- and the most frequently asked
question: are the French rude (no, not really but it's more byzantine
than that : see French Toast !!!)
The North-South split is
deeply felt. The South is Mediterranean, close to the Roman
roots, speaking languages deriving from Latin (they are called
"regions of Langue d'Oc languages") when the
North is Germanic, close the the Frankish roots (they are called
"régions of Langue d'Oil" languages).
The French have mutual stereotypes on both sides of the limit
(which is the river Loire). More about the French
- See how the French see America.
- More to come
DID YOU KNOW THAT.... The word France (and French, etc...) comes from the name of a Germanic tribe, the Franks, who, among others (Wisigoths, Ostrogoths, ..), invaded the old Romanised Gaul at the end of the Roman Empire. The Franks (the name means : "free") founded litlle principalities between what is now France and Belgium and progressively conquered the whole country and their king, Clovis, became the first King of France at the end of 5th Century.
- Why are the French both arrogant and self-depricating?
- what she thought about Mondavi
wines coming to Languedoc Roussillon (opinion yet to be made)
- Are the French happy ?
- There were, obviously, many
questions about how and what the French eat. Top query on that
list was: How do they eat all that food and stay slim?
If they read Harriet's last book, French
Fried: The Culinary Capers of an American in Paris,
hopefully they'll get the answer!
such as these show two things: great curiosity about France and
all things French, and how different the French really are -
still - in this era of globalization (which the French call "mondialisation").
See a list of
questions about the French the US Army answered after D-Day to explain this
strange country to the GI's.
Frequently asked questions
In addition to the questions
above, some FAQ are :
Examples of questions Americans ask and which would
stump a Frenchman
a job interview, from the candidate
||"What is your health plan?"
employees must be affiliated by the employer to the national health program
a job interview, from the employer
||"Do you have existing medical
be against the law (discrimination)
||"What is the President's
President is in charge of ensuring secularism in the French society
|in a restaurant
||"Can I have a doggy bag"
||it would be considered rude and cheap (it's a DONT) (but it is slowly developing ...)
||"It's one p.m. : are you
hungry for a meal?"
it's lunch time, you have lunch, hungry
||more to come....
Click here if you want to :
|To related pages : more questions (#1) and why is France so
different? (#3), geographical facts, questions for US
diplomats and GIs, about irksome France, etc...
To top of the page
Back to home
For more on intercultural
differences, order Harriet Welty Rochefort's books :
- "Joie de Vivre", Secrets of Wining, Dining and Romancing like the French, St.Martin's Press, New York, 2012
- "French Toast, An American in Paris
Celebrates The Maddening Mysteries of the French", St.Martin's Press,
New York, 1999
- "French Fried, The Culinary Capers
of An American in Paris", St.Martin's Press, New York, 2001
More on Harriet's
(excerpts, upcoming events, testimonials, etc..)
or separately, Harriet and Philippe speak
about Intercultural Differences : click
here for information.