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What are some of the main differences you've noticed between the French and American cultures? Are the differences obvious, or more subtle? How did you come to notice them?
I've just found this forum, and i've seen that there were not a lot of members wishing to talk about France and the USA, so I will add a comment hoping other answers will follow.
I am french (sorry if I make big mistakes when writting !) I am a 24 year old guy, I live in the centre of France, and I never went in the USA, but I think that there are a lot of cultural differences between the USA and France.
But I feel really interested in knowing what american people think about french (if some of you could give me answers it would be great !)
As french people are concern, they like american citizens, and I think that the american dream is still a reality, since a lot of students dream to go in the USA to improve their English of course, but also because the american culture attracts them for various reasons : it seems easier to find a job in the USA, people appear more open minded, more exentric... but exentricity (and even craziness french people often say "ils sont fous ces américains !" meaning "How crazy are these american people !" but in a friendly way) is sometimes percieved like a defect( I'm not sure about the word ) because we often hear that some americain do crazy things with their dogs for example ( they treat them like babies, or human beings), but we also often hear that americans are ready to sue somebody for anything and many other things that may let us think that americans are somewhat crazy. This may concern everyday life americans (that french people generally like), but it is quite different concernig politicians (as for example, french people did not really understand how americans could have re-elected their actual president !)
Furthermore, french people think that american politicians feel superior to the rest of the world, and then that they could do whatever they want, and it is something that french really think, and thus it make them dislike the american system which would like to control the world. And it even appears that american politicians and even citizens really don't like french people, culture and products (such as "foi gras", cheeses...)...
Here are some examples of what people think about the USA in France, if you want more informations please do not hesitate in asking me.
I would like now to know what american citizens think about french people.
And I am also wondering about what famous french actors or singers, or films.... do americans know, since in France there are a lot of american films, series, and singers that are known and liked.
If you could give me some answers it would be great, and I would give you more informations about what french people think about americans, and you could do the same with what americans think about french people, I really think that it could be interesting.
I am waiting impatiently for your answers !
Have a nice day (or night, I don't know what time it is in the USA know )
I am 37, single, never married and have no children. I am a graphic designer. I work for an incredibility old and reputable advertising agency here in Los Angeles California.
Currently I am dating a French man who moved to the US 12 months ago and things are not going so well for us because of our cultural differences. I just don't understand him. I love him with my entire heart and our romance is wonderful, but I don't know why he gets angry with me. He doesn't stay angry for very long but still it hurts my feelings.
Besides other things, I think he feels that I lack manners because I try and take care of him by helping him cook and clean up after our romantic dinners alone at his house. He is a wonderful cook but I don't understand why he won't let me help out by slicing and dicing some vegetables or anything.
Wow, I don't know what it is like in France but here people have serious conversations over dinner. Apparently French people talk about less personal issues and won't ask you to change the subject if you are saying something they don’t want to listen to, but they will complain about it the next day. Here in the US we feel that it is best to be open and honest about our feelings, and not dwell on things that happened yesterday, therefore we discuss things at the time they are occurring.
Okay I'm done taking about my personal problems. To answer a few of your questions American's love your cheese and wine. Although, I have to say we do not watch your movies or listen to your music. Yes I have seen a few French movies and they seemed really depressing.
You have a lot to offer like your countrie's history, fine dinning and culture.
People are basically the same regardless from where they come from.
I hope all is well with you. I wish you the best life has to offer.
This is an answer to Marie it sound to me that you are perhaps dating the wrong french man. Maybe you should have me come and visit you in LA and I will show you how we really are. As a french man my language is that of the most gifted artist and my compliments to women are the most sincere. I don't know why Europeans are more expressive than Americans, but it just seems to be the case with certain cultures. I know my place in the world and since I feel that I knows how to make a woman feel more like my woman. I am generous, kind, helpful and very sensitive and what makes me different than American men is the fact that I am not afraid to share my emotions nor express them either. I tell women the kinds of things every woman loves to hear, you are beautiful, you are an angel and this makes them feel very loved. I am finding that in order to make it through a relationship of such an intense nature the couple involved really has to concentrate more on who they are instead of what other people try to make them be. Plus you must not be afraid to express all the emotions you feel for one another. I do not do many of the American things I don't like. I don't drink beer, watch football or fart repulsively in front of women. Instead I help around the house, I am more thoughtful and giving, I dress impeccably and even take care of my skin, And I can't even begin to tell you what French men are like in bed. Oh la la…
Are you trying to seel yourself ?? foxy french men ...?
I find it a bit naif.
One relationship with one Frenchman and suddenly you seem to think they are all that way. First of all I am an American born and raised in upstate NY. Secondly my mother's side of the family are French. Thirdly...I have never met ANY American who was honest and open EVER with exception to myself and seriously the more honest and open I am the more outcast I become here in America. America is NOT what it use to be. Aside from getting free housing, education, welfare ect...I am baffled as to why anyone outside of this country would as much as think about wanting to come to live here. In doing so you sacrifice one thing for another...you may get free everything as a foreigner when you come here but you will lose other things more important to the human spirit in doing so. This isn't the America of the 1970s and 80s. American society has become quite a mockery in of itself. Our crime rate alone out parallels any other nation by a landslide and our justice and political system is a farce. The quote by Gandhi describes America well....“The Roots of Violence: Wealth without work, Pleasure without conscience, Knowledge without character, Commerce without morality, Science without humanity, Worship without sacrifice, Politics without principles”...That is our country and our county's politicians.
I'm Russian and I live in New York. Just one week ago I came from Paris. You city is amaising, very old, clean. I loved the weather. I was surprised that local people are barely speak English but then I understood -you don't need it. You have everything-culture, beautiful language, delicious food, Wine, clean metro. You don't depend on Americans. That is probably bothering us.
American people is different. We are always in rush. We can't have lunch for hours...
We have to run. That make our live is very stressful.
I like France. I would like to come back
Yeah American (USA) life is stressful and I sure would love to travel to France and get a different sense of feeling.
I agree with how USA politics seems to show the world how powerful they are with their system. The approach is set wrong and if one would care for another country, it should not give itself off by acting in such a way. Definitely not depend in the United States I assure you.
Then perhaps you should move to France. It's not that I do not agree about the language, culture, food, etc. But the part about "You don't depend on Americans", if you ever took a basic history lesson, you would see that if it wasn't for the US, France, and the beloved capital Paris, would NOT be the same if it wasn't for our (US) help. So, it doesn't bother "us", which you are not even a part of. People need to rush in France as they do in the US, as well as have a day of leisure. I mean really that is such a silly thing to say. Maybe you were staring into the more glamorous aspects of Parisienne life you are not a part of in New York?
Lastly, if you cannot respect the country you a reap benefits from, please leave. It is one of the downfalls of this country. Really, attitudes like your own make this country a negative place. Leave.
So true! Represent from the states! haha as a fellow American, I applaud your frankness. You sound like a Republican (thats a good thing).
I am white, and born and raised in America. My family has lived in America for generations. So, now that you know I am not a foreigner, I would like to say that if a person does not like a country in which they live, leaving is not always an option. And feeling that way is not unique to immigrants of America, but to every citizen in every nation in the world. You make it sound like it is easy ("If you don't like it, just leave") but if you truly believe that it is possible for every person, you are living in a fantasy land. I don't see why you automatically jump to fleeing as a solution to a complaint. I am allowed to complain about the rude people I encounter at work; I am allowed to whine about my country's political and economic system; I'm allowed to talk about the things I hate about my mother in-law. I'm allowed to whine about any shit that I want without fleeing the entire situation. Venting feels good, especially when you're trapped (by family and financial responsibilities) in a declining empire.
To the original question, the American stereotype of French people is that they are rude, abnoxious, and hate Americans. French people are often depicted wearing a beret, gloves, and red lipstick. They are also shown riding bikes and holding baguette, shouting "Oui, oui! Oui, oui!"
I assume the stereotype of Americans in France is the same as the stereotypes of Americans everywhere else: we are fat, lazy, rich, violent, on-the-go, impulsive, and elitist. But you'll have to let us know on that.
This is exactly the defensive attitude the foreign talk about. Don't improve things, just leave! Very mature.
as an american i dont think thats being defensive if you dont like our country than leave how is that not mature?? Not that i have ever been to france but if i did go there and didnt like it i would leave the french dont need an american walking around the streets complaining about their country and americans dont need that either.
YOU ARE RIGHT! The US of A is very negative. I just got back from a weekend in France, and the ethos, demeanor, and wanting to be the best was so clear and highlighted how absent this is from the gluttony of the US of A. The French are obsessed with the noble pursuit of perfection, and performance par excellence.
The Americans bigger, why? duno just bigger, ya know 'cause! I hope this recession fixes the US, it badly needs it. The war mongering, and debt has taken its toll. And "The Bell Tolls for Thee..."
You can not judge America by Simply one state or the people who like to run their mouths,new York is different from L.A and L.A is different from Dallas and Dallas is different from Seattle. America is a very diverse place with a complex history. I find that when people don't understand the dynamic of a place they tend to not like it.I don't like Rome because I feel like the people there are rude.but I never grew up there to understand why the people act the way they do. the U.S is made up of 50 states people in America have culture shocks when the go from one state to another, so to form a proper opinion you must explore the city and the country and that goes for every place in the world. You can't say americans always do this if you've only lived in one place in America you can only say The people in new York city do this if that's the only place you've been.
I agree wholeheartedly. The United States is a very large, very diverse country. We are often "poo-pooed" by foreigners for our shared love of national symbols (like the flag and the national anthem), but these are the things that remind us that, different as we are, we are all joined by shared ideals of freedom and personal responsibility and by the sacrifices of our public servants and military personnel. Otherwise, we truly are very different from region to region, more like the E.U. as a whole that like any smaller European country.
As Americans we enjoy visiting other regions in our own country to experience the different foods, traditions, pastimes, history, terrain and even the different languages and dialects spoken in other parts of our nation. Anyone who has ever had listened to an ukulele in Kona, had a fish taco in San Diego, seen the destructive power of Mount St. Helens' broken mountain top, listened to a Navajo radio station in Northern Arizona, had Texas barbecue on a cattle ranch, picked cherries in Michigan, listened to jazz in New Orleans or had lunch at an old deli in Manhattan will tell you that we are not all alike, but that we love bringing our differences together to form our one diverse nation.
We also, for the most part, are a kind people who do try to recognise that not all people from France or from any other country are the same. There are different regions, even within smaller countries, and, although cultural norms may prevail, each person from any country is an individual, as does not represent their country as a whole.
HORRAY! That was wonderful! I take each person from each country as an individual. There are good and bad people everywhere! There are city people and country people in the same state that are different from one another. Different cultures and people facinate me! If you don't like the country you live in, either do something to change it or leave. Don't badmouth it!!! (((HUGS))) to all people in all countries from Michigan (USA)! :-D
go Michigan (I live here too!!!)-not the sports team though, just Michigan in general
I'm an American living in The Netherlands for 28 years, was married to a Greek man for 16 1/2 years and been a Francophile ALL my life, so have had ample time to view Americans from a foreigner's perspective. I also had a difficult time of adjusting to the differences in cultures, habits, language, etc. but thrived on the idea that I was blessed with the opportunity to live in another country so absorbed every morsel I could without complaint. Whether a person adjusts well or not is completely up to the individual. If you show respect and behave according to the host country's way of life, you will have absolutely no problem whatsoever in fitting in. I've maintained my U.S. citizenship and don't feel obliged to erase my American identity, but have the best of both worlds. I'm richer for it and I hopefully leave a good impression of a true American wherever I go. After all, we are the ambassadors of our country whether American, French, Dutch, Greek or alien.
"Otherwise, we truly are very different from region to region, more like the E.U. as a whole that like any smaller European country."
I don't know but i'm sure the comparaison is highly over the top... there are much more differences between all European countries that between all American states... I mean, we don't share the same language, not the same food..think also about history...the roots of our respective identities are located so far in time, nothing compared with the United-states...otherwise, we have the EU but i doubt it will ever become a federal state like your country for that precise reason...
ie: "different as we are, we are all joined by shared ideals of freedom and personal responsibility and by the sacrifices of our public servants and military personnel. "
I am a U.S. military veteran, and an Illinoisan, but NOT a Chicago nut-cake.
Regarding your comment, in quotes above: 1- "shared ideals of freedom", here in the U.S. we have A- an large percentage of citizens, this percentage is growing fatter every school year and generationaly, who have a grotesquely distorted uderstanding of freedom. WE definately do NOT ALL SHARE IN THE PUBLIC PERVERSIONS OF FREEDOM.
B-"and personal responsibility" the only places where I've known of personal responsibility to be taught, encouraged, and exercised is in the GOD FEARING CHRISTIANS, and yes there is a very very few usaved people who do exercise some degree of personal responsibility; many of our appointed judges have run amuck, being grossly irresponsible in there responsibility to society, namely- the societ which pays there GROSS salaries just to have them flip right from wrong ON IT'S HEAD.
C"and by the sacrifices of our public servants" TRUELY we now have very few public servants, MOST of them are greedy, self seeking filthy luker chasers, NOT SERVING THE PUBLIC but rather serving their own gods, THEM SELF, THEIR UNIONS, THEIR CLUBS, BOATS, VACATIONS, etc etc.
D"by the sacrifices of our ... and military personnel. Yes, this group does yet have a higher percentage of sacrificing personel than probably any other american group, definately more than any other public service organization "PERIOD" as in end of subject.
Unless we do get back to the basic foundations of forefathers, we will ultimately be our own worst enemy, I think we are already, and a blight on the face of humanity, as well as recieving of Gods wrath. Press toward the high mark America, and we then will earn the respect of others.
I love America, but hate our current state of affairs. Lets get back to using things and loving people NOT using people and loving things.
I feel like saying I'm sorry about getting carried away, BUT I'm not so I wont lie.
Visitors to the U.S.A. please enjoy your visit, while you're here escape from the smoke screen of the big city, go to some small farm communities while your here, visit some good Holy Bible KJV preaching/ teaching churches. And hey, YOU American invite them to lunch or dinner with you after church, show them a slice of REAL America.
PS New York IS NOT AN ACCURATE REPRESENTATION OF the U.S.A.
With an open mind comes understanding and acceptance. America is the land of immigrants. We are so diverse in terms of culture, and by culture I don't mean just race or ethnicity. I also think that as Americans we are curious about other cultures and try to have things they have or do things they do, just foreigners are curious about Americans and are fascinated by our culture. This is one of the reasons why I love television (e.g., travel channel, food network, and other educational mediums) because without television to help us see other parts of the world, we would probably be still wondering what it's like in another place. Of course, you also have to keep in mind that you see or hear is not always accurate. So keeping an open mind and heart is the best gesture if you are going to learn about other cultures without bias.
I think Americans just like to argue and are very proud and get butt hurt when people say they don't like something about us:D haha At the same time it does get a little annoying when everywhere you turn it looks like the whole world has something to say about a country they know nothing about. meh
Hello, I'm a Swiss woman. I felt cultural differences between the American and European way of being after I fell in love for an American and it didn't work out. But it is not a question of being good or bad, not of being better or worse, but of being simply different.
I just wanted to say that it is really rude the way you replied to this Russian-American person. She was just sharing her opinion. She was telling about her experiences and impressions. What do you know about her life?! What do you know about the reasons she is where she is?! And she does for sure appreciate America to live there, but why can't she have a critical view about things too. Why does she have to accept everything as it is. Improvements come when you put things in question some times. Doesn't she have the right to question them?? It is a very human thing to compare. And it is very pretencious of you to talk the way you did! It is really shoking!! Why can't people have a free opinion?! Isn't America the land of freedom?
And for the history part, things are always more complicated than we learn in History books.
If she is willing to improve it then her comment would have been fine; however, if she is just complaining then it gets annoying. I am an American, and I am proud. There are some things that I am unhappy about; however, in my current position, I cannot do anything about it. When I grow older and learn and become an Adult, I will try to help fix the problems in my Country.
"I am an American, and I am proud"... Pleonasm!
1000% agree with you. Bravo! I am Russian too, I live in the US and I do see both good and bad sides of it, maybe because I was not born here and can see the inside life objectively as the outsider but who can compare with other countries and traditions. And I do find that arrogance of some Americans who even never went outside of their country is really ridiculous at times. By the way, Paris is my favorite city ever. Let's go there together for the next vacation;))
I'm an American and was born and raised in what is considered the "heartland" (Midwest, and not a big city).
To the Americans attacking the Russian: shame on you! (Note: Before you make any response to this, you should read it. You cannot respond to something if you don't know what it is you're responding to.)
I agree wholeheartedly that the criticism of the Russian is absolutely unwarranted. The irony of course is that I guarantee you a majority of the commentators themselves criticize certain aspects of American society without offering a solution. Plus, the Russian's solution seems to be implied by their complaint (can't remember gender of individual). The individual noted that Americans rush too much and are too stressed; I think the obvious solution is that we need to learn to appreciate things more and relax more. Obviously, that's far easier said than done but so are many of the solutions set forth for our various issues.
Furthermore, I'm surprised my fellow Americans are so quick to forget the culture of debate that is necessary to maintain a democracy*. If we weren't critical (please note that "critical" does not have to have a negative connotation), our culture, government, and lives would become stagnant. With stagnation, there's no more innovation, no more growth, and no more curiosity.
Yes, I feel that, if possible, people should include directions for growth or improvement in their critiques. However, much like the emperor who proudly parades with no clothes, I would rather someone point out the problem, even if they have no solutions (or in the case of the emperor, extra clothes to provide). If the individual who finds the problem cannot find a solution, perhaps someone else can.
*I am fully aware that the American government is not "technically" a full democracy. However, it's fairly close, and the term is generally accepted as being close enough.**
**For those wondering why on earth I bothered to assure the reader that I understand what form of government the nation has, please note that this is the internet; people become petulant and will try to pick on the smallest things so as to invalidate one's argument.
I 100% agree with you!
I am an American, born and raised and I moved to France last year. I love everything about France: the culture, the food, the people, etc. I'd like to stay here long term because I do like it so much- and I also feel there are more opportunities for me here job-wise.
That being said, what was said to the Russian was completely uncalled for. She has every right to complain about whatever she wants! I love living in France but there are some things that make me shake my head, things that I don't understand, and things that I think are improved back in the States, but as a resident, I have the right to complain about the same things as everyone else- as does our Russian friend here.
Also, she is right. Our way of life in the states is a lot more stressful in France. I feel like the cultural difference can be summed up with an easy example: coffee. In the US, we drive to whatever coffee shop is nearby or a gas station and we buy 20 oz of coffee with a ton of water added to it, with a lot of sugar and cream (or however you take yours :)) and we suck it down quickly on the way to work in a rush. That is "getting coffee on the way to work" in the US.
In France, "getting coffee on the way to work" means you go to a café and you sit down. A man comes, you tell him you want a coffee and he brings you a tiny cup of coffee, which you savor. You take your time drinking it and you relax, smoke a cigarette (my choice of course), read the paper, and whatever. Then, you finish your coffee, eat your little piece of candy usually given with the coffee, and you go to work.
Thats a big difference. Of course it's not always like that for either culture- but in the US, if you happen to have a less than amazing job or if you are not salary, you work on weekends/holidays, and you work more than 40 hours a week to make ends meet. In France, if you are a student, you are either expected not to work or to work under a certain amount of hours a week.
I'm by no means saying its better- because this relaxing quality of the culture has its drawbacks too. For example, it might take you 5 weeks to get your bank card after you open a bank account, which in the US is unheard of. Or perhaps it might take an unnatural amount of time for a piece of mail to arrive at its destination just a few blocks away. Again- these are not definite examples, but they have happened to me or people I knew. Its part of culture, you take the good and the bad and you live with it. I love France, and I love the United States, and now I'm at a point in my life where I have to make a very difficult decision between two families, two countries, and two languages that I love equally. Because of my decisions, I now have to miss a part of myself no matter where I am- but I'm okay with that. :)
Vive les États-Unis! Vive la France!
I love USA, I've been there 10 times!
Europe is the Core of the Ancient world! France is the N°1 tourist destination, with 80 million visitor per year.
"...you would see that if it wasn't for the US, France, and the beloved capital Paris, would NOT be the same if it wasn't for our (US) help."
Before giving examples of history, you should remember that if it wasn't for France hate toward England, USA would be like Australia right now!
Even if Paris was bombed, French would still attract people! It's a country of Love, romance, food, history and landscapes. They have wine, cheese and bread that no-one could imitate !
No country is better than the others, so please accept that YOU did not save the world!
Incorrect, France wasn't the only one who helped(Spain, Netherlands)
I'm not a history buff or anything like that (one of my worst subjects), but I did manage to remember something from a history class.
Anyway, from what I understand, France basically bailed the US out during the Revolutionary War with England. The problem was that England's economy, which was well established, would not support the US if the US wanted their independence.
Ok, this point is already made clear. However, the turning point is the motive France had in helping the US.
Supposedly (this may only be an opinion, who knows what is truly accurate), France aided the US not out of generosity, but in order to create an ally or otherwise thwart the growth of the English Empire. Possibly, the French even wanted to become the next empire to take over.
After that, the French economy had problems and the US was left to bail themselves out of their recession.
haha! I am really laughing at this message. Did you know that France used to own a big part of the US? Napoleon just sold it to finance his wars... And did you know that if Americans entered the WW it was not by charity or a from the heart move, but just because they were scared that if Europe was to be taken (by extreme ideologies) then it would inevitably reach the USA? That they just entered WW2 after Pearl Harbour as to save their ass, and yes, on the way they saved Paris, but really THAT was not the point...
And now if the US survive and have become such a beautiful country, IT IS THANKS to all the immigrants who came here, and shared/developed their knowledge, specially after the WWs. USA is the best example of Melting Pot, and I agree that who does not like the country should live it. BUT it is one thing to be able to recognizes weaknesses and strength of country and another not to like it.
It is far from being perfect - as a lot of other countries don't mistake me - so I do not think the person was not respecting USA but mostly pointing out differences...
And well... French do not speak English fluent for a variety of reasons,: they have a long history of being able to sustain themselves, and now the trend is changing and young generation is definitely better. Globalization has made english essential, america is a part of it, but not all of it. And hey! Even people in America can't speak english fluently! haha!
Alright, I will give it to you that the Americans saved the French during WWII. But we would have never been given the chance if it were not for the French giving us financial support when we were fighting the Brits during the Revolutionary War. Let's never forget that!
I had to laugh about your comment about people in America not speaking English fluently--so true! This country is definitely a melting pot. Some people who have not experienced other cultures are either quick to judge or are curious to know about cultures different from their own. I know from my own experiences that I have more an open mind and acceptance of others than the person who has not seen or experience other parts of the world. There are cetain things I do not like about America in general, like racism, discrimination, and stereotypes. And that when faced with problems they either respond with flight or fight.
Very fun, knowing the Russian lost millions of men, and did hundred more of bloody battles against the german than the american troops.
N'oublie pas que sans La France, les Etats-Unis n'existe pas. It's France that provided the essential aid in the American Revolution for the war to be won.
You, sir, (or madam), are part of one of the downfalls of this country. This person was just stating his/her opinion. In America, we respect other opinions, yes? He never said he hated America or anything. He was simply stating his appreciation for French culture. And in America, we also respect others' freedom to engage in other cultures, yes?
I'm an American and I love my country, but I'm also fascinated by the cultures of other countries, including France and Russia. Does this mean that I want to live there? Maybe, maybe not.
Once again, you are free to state your opinion, of course, and I respect that, but I found your response unnecessarily rude. But maybe I was just reading into it the wrong way, pardon me if that is the case =)
Aside from war and fighting, France doesn't need America. However, the French helped America as well during the Revolutionary war.
It seems that everybody forgets that if it was not for the French, all of us Americans would be speaking with an English accent! It was only right that we helped them out in the World Wars because they helped us out in the American Revolution. If not for the French navy we surely would have lost the war with Britain. It just bugs me when people say how much we did for the French - Just remember your history and you will see they did more for America than any other country on the face of the Earth!
[sarcastically] I feel fantastic that I'm adding fuel to the fire, but I've noticed that, in things and places like these, Americans tend to argue, and start to take up a "I'm the best, American is the best!" holier-than-thou attitude. Yeah, America has played a role in shaping the world to do, but so have other countries. Anyways, I'm an American myself, and it just sort of hit me with how politely these non-Americans voiced their opinions in contrast to the rudeness of the American voicing their opinion
I completely agree with you. I'm an American, and I think that our country has become far too nationalistic. We can't listen to someone saying that America isn't the best country on earth without jumping up and down in protest. The American way is not the only way, nor is it the best. It, like all of the other cultures around the world, has its advantages and disadvantages. I'm grateful for all that America has given me, to be sure. It's not perfect, though. No country is perfect, and I think that if we al realized it, our conversations could be much more rational and understanding.
Also, to the person who replied first to the Russian (I'm sorry, I don't have your name right in front of me now): Please calm down. He was just trying to voice his opinion. Everyone looks for something different in a culture and way of life. What you might enjoy, someone else might find dull or completely unnecessary, or both, and vice versa. Besides, do you think that being so belligerent helps America's reputation? That's one reason we're not so well-liked around the world. We take our culture and belittle anything that does not match up, and then we stomp on those whose opinions differ. Being a patriot does not mean that you must think that everything that your country does is good. It means seeing the best and worst of your country and wanting to make it better for all of the citizens in it, and for the people around the world whom it touches.
I don't believe the Russian guy meant that America was a bad place. Don't get so offended he is simply stating his experience in France. I am an American and I love France. And I agree with most of what he said but that doesn't mean I don't still love America. Another downfall of some of the American people is a lack of understanding which sometimes leads to unwarranted defensiveness and a lack of embracing other people's opinions and cultures.
The way you replied to the Russian-American was rude. He wasn't complaining for the sake of complaining. HE was just citing the differences he saw between how the French and Americans live. I am a Filipino who loves to travel. I have been in 5 different continents and 26 countries, that includes both US and France. After I graduated high school 7 years ago, I took a break from my studies to decide where to go to college. I spent a year in the US, 6 months and France, and 6 months in the UK. I finally decided to go to France. I didn't go to the UK because it's too cold there for me since i come from a tropical country.
The reason I didn't go to the US (although my SATS qualify me for every IVY University) is because of people like you. Who cannot respect other people's opinions and turn something harmless into something very ugly. That is one thing I have noticed as a foreigner who has lived in both US and France. Another thing is that Americans are so wasteful. They do not have a care about the environment. Many of my neighbors when I was living in my family's condo somewhere in 5th Avenue, I noticed that they have TOO MUCH CREDIT. Talk about greed. I am not saying the French are debt-free because they're not. They just don't abuse their credit cards as much as Americans do, buying things way beyond their means. The French also eat healthier than Americans. Americans eat fastfood, too much artificial and laboratory produced ingredients make up for unhealthy obese people. French also have better healthcare. When I got sick during my student years in France, I only paid for 6 Euros during my stay at the hospital for almost 2 weeks. They didn't even asked if i deserved welfare. To be honest, I didn't because I come from I corporate family in the Philippines. When I was in the US, I watched poor people and the middle-class struggle to pay hospital bills because the country doesn't have universal healthcare. I even talked to this lady crying in this hospital because the insurance company deferred the payment of her son's hospitalization bill because the company was "INVESTIGATING" whether not not it was the boys fault a stray dog bit him. I mean come on!!! That's just greedy.
I am not judging Americans as bad people. It's just that your culture of always being in a rush, consumerism, and superiority complex have dehumanized your society.
Our culture is nothing bad, some see it as that some do not. But based upon what you have seen that doesn't mean all of America is wasteful and bad eating. I happen to eat quite healthy and try my best to keep a slow pace. America is a working country as I am sure every other country is we just do it in a different way than others. I am not being at all defensive towards anything, but I am just stating the facts of life, you have your opinions as does everyone else. I am just tired of seeing people from different countries including the USA judge countries even if they've never been there or have only been to one part of that country. Like I have said before, I have never particularly been to another country personally I have merely read about them, and even if I had been there I know not to judge the whole population on just a few people that I meet. So please, people be mature human beings and stop trashing on each others countries yes, you may have things you do not like about one country that is fine but do you really have to judge every single person just because there are a few individuals you don't like? There will always be something or someone you don't like, but how would you feel if people grouped you up with the distasteful and rude people they have met?
I'm in your corner with that one, my fellow American sister!
Not all Americans are wasteful and bad eaters.
I'm certain that here are some French that are wasteful and bad eaters.
There good and bad in all cultures!
yep and the French helped us win our independence. Im so tired of people bringing up old wars and acting like they matter anymore -_-
And America help the French in world war 2.
if you ever took a basic history lesson, you would see that if it wasn't for the US, France, and the beloved capital Paris, would NOT be the same if it wasn't for our (US) help.
if it wasn't for the French contribution to the american war of Independance there would be NO USA.
Don't be so full of yourself. The world does not revolve around the USA. Actually, more and more people are becoming annoyed by this country and I can understand why.
I think you've commended on the wrong blog.
This topic is about what do Americans think of the French. Not the world do not revolve around the USA.
Really, bro? How about the basic history lesson that shows if France hadn't helped us in the Revolutionary War we might be a British commonwealth right now? You're the kind of ignorant, swaggering American the world imagines when someone says the words "American" and "idiot". If you don't like it, then leave"... hmmm. Wish the slaves could have taken that option. Or the Italian, German, Irish, Scandinavian, or any other immigrants that, upon first arriving, suffered the same kind of xenophobic hateful garbage spewing from you right now. Check it out... both sides of my family have been in this country since the 1600s, something incredibly rare in America and I would bet a nice amount of money you can't boast the same, but you know what? I hate it here, and so I'm leaving. I have a beautiful French gf, have been learning the language for years, and can't wait to be a citizen and go the US embassy and tear up my passport because I hate you and you make us look bad to the entire world. America doesn't know how to be a member of a global community. It's a big dumb bully. It hasn't learned its lesson yet, which is astonishing after 9/11 and losing jobs and money overseas. We aren't the top of the pile anymore, and if you like that and are proud of that, then by all means please stay; I'll be in Provence drinking pastis and swimming naked in the Mediterranean, homiiiiieeeee.
I think its funny how the original topic went from a conversation of cultural differences / likeness to that of defending one's own country as a whole. No one person can speak for its country as if they were just like everyone they are speaking for. And wow-- very few people (no matter what country they live in) say I Hate Everything About My Country and am leaving it. I couldn't imagine leaving America because I hate everything about it. Would I ever leave it for a better way of life... well maybe, but I have not come to that crossroad in my life. I haven't even had the opportunity to travel abroad - not yet. I am fortunate enough to work in a position that I get to meet many people from many countries and interact with them while they visit or relocate to the United States. Yes, France is on my list of places to visit!
Let me move more to the point of my replying to your comment.
I like the fact that you pointed out that there are many 1st wave immigrants who suffered a great deal while becoming American. This is the sacrifice you make for your offspring.. you take the pain and suffering and you fight!!!! You don't give up on your dream for a better life (not so much for yourself at that moment) but for your future generations. To ensure they get something you felt all people deserve.
You won't find what it was really like for the early US immigrants in any US Elementary School History Book. Most American's don't even know about it unless they have actually taken some good history courses in College. Who we are: Our Good, Our Bad, Our Ugly, Our Beautiful Moments did not come from a variety of cultures all wanting to come to America for the same reason. It came from a variety of cultures who had a variety of ideas of what it means to be free and to have the right to choose. Because some cultural belief's threatened the way of another's culture we got a human condition called "xenophobic". Our American descendants had to slowly merge into this culture (or the idea of it) and it was usually the next generation that completes the blending of the two. That generation which works to try to figure out which really is best of both worlds. America has a culture.. but it is made of many. We still repeat this cycle over and over. We are a forever changing culture shaped by those who arrive here and those who are born here. If we don't like what's going on in our country then we have to as a majority do something about it. Sounds easier than it is.
Our history is not really that complicated... it's about the human condition, it's about how many cultures learned how to come together by getting over differences by at first hating, resisting and then finally- finding it's common bonds. But what it seems like America struggles with as a country is not of who's right... it's determining what is right for the majority and wanting to be competitive for world resources. As you know, America does not like to be dependent on any country. This is why people came to America an in the first place. Countries who have resources - or control resources generally have cultures that live better and longer. The majority rules- is how most of us American's like to think that we generate decisions for our country. We think that is the way of life and the way of survival. And the other problem we have is the fact the majority vote can be bought and sold by those who have financial means! Money =Power. Loyalty and honor are challenged everyday with the promise of financial gain for specific individuals or specific groups of cultures. This is becoming more a practice in politics than ever before. It's a sign of problems in our structure, our moral values and yes It's a shame. But, we are not the only country that has this problem.
There is no long history of just "one" culture and "one" belief that makes America what it is and is not. Our culture and language continues to change over and over- because we are one of many. In my opinion, it appears to me that at times we are hoping as a Nation that we can role model for the rest of the word to show them that it takes time, patience and perseverance to be a leading nation of education, medicine and human rights. Yes, we will make mistakes. Yes, we will embarrass ourselves at times. We will even take what we can when we feel we have too- even if the rest of the world thinks its wrong. If we wait for our needs to be met by the rest of the world .. we won't get ever get it.
History shows we are NOT a group of passive people waiting for life to define our moments. We are ruthless at times, we are not afraid of hard work, and we also know that we can't always make everybody happy- that is just impossible. We are also very passionate people who are loving and kind. But at times we are just afraid of losing what our descendants had to fight for. Is the US in troubled times right now? Yes, we are..but it's because the entire world is also in the middle of historical changes. How we react as a country, as a collective culture will also change.
I do hope you find Love, Peace, Happiness in France. More over I hope you take the time to learn of their real history! It is what gives them the right to call themselves French. It's what makes their way of life so attractive to you. Many French people had to work hard, fight and sacrifice so you (several hundred years later) as an American can just move there and reap the benefits of their hard work. I do hope that when you rip up your US passport that you take an oath to France to be a good citizen and will be willing to work hard when need to preserve their way of life. Remember, you were not born in France, and although you may love the way of life that you have been exposed to there... you will have to earn their respect before you call yourself a French Citizen. This might be similar to what your descendants experienced when they came to America. But you should be grateful that this is not the 1600's - because America would look more attractive than France.
Oh, what i think of French people. Lovely, Expressive, a little passive at times ... until needed to be aggressive. Passive is not lazy. I mean passive in a way that is more relaxed. They are not rude they are being expressive. And perhaps a little arrogant at times. In my opinion, its okay for the French to be arrogant when it comes to talking about their culture... they are blessed in the fact that they have a culture that is shared through many generations.
Hi, so by now you should have ripped up your passport in front of the embassy and are swimming "au naturelle" in the Mediteranean and sipping pastis, hopefully not while in the med.
I hope your budget was ample, as we all know it sounds a lot nicer and easier than the reality can make it.
I've been living in France for 9 years now. All the stereotypes about relaxed, stress-free, culturally-rich, refined, elegant, best food, etc. turned out to be so much further than the reality for me. It all sounds great, like a big fabulous fantasy.
Though, my fantasy quickly became a nightmare. I admit I live in the Paris region. My experience is one of non-stop traffic jams, public transporation that leaves us literally packed like sardines, non-stop clouds and rain, high diesel pollution fumes, the good, healthy food is hardly accessible, and the healthcare is excellent - but you need it from all the daily stress and lack of Vitamin D. Stress is taking a shower in the home you purchased that is about 5 feet high with the ceiling just above it. I don't know if there is a single culture to pinpoint, but sure seems to be an awfully large amount of the population that has no problem with spitting all over the public sidewalks. At the park this evening with our 1-year-old - caught the dog eating something and discovered it was HUMAN POOP. (The babywipe next to it gave it away). I also have to constantly keep the thrown cigarette butts out of my baby's hands at the park, beach, just about everywhere. SO Personally, I don't see it as a clean, fabulous place at ALL. Now that the socialists are in power it can only get worse.
I would say that in general 50% of the population is fantastic....most loving, respectful, kind, generous, intelligent, wise, nonjudgemental, etc....but as for the other 50%....I guess it's like that all over the world these days.
Hello, why do you have to get so aggressive while lightly discussing a subject far from being vital? How can you be sure that the Russian is taking advantage of the US system, personally all the Ukranian, Russian and other foreigners settled in the US that I know are business lawyers paying their share of taxes! (still less than in France which is riping us off)
As for depending on one another or not, yes you are right you helped us during the war and we are thankful! But can we live now in the present time, bc the Russian was not refering to history. And if we have to refer to history, we helped you over the British during your revolution. Right you would have most probably succeed without us, but the will to help you was there, and intention are important too nah?
I am not in France right now, but if you wish to come in the summer, I'll be happy to show you around!
well, if you took a basic history lesson you'll know that without the French help, you wouldn't be Americans... now your comment probably show that French people are not less arrogant than Americans after all...
I don't know if you had a bad day or what but there's no reason to lash out on the Russian guy like that. Maybe you haven't taken a proper history lesson either because this country was founded on immigrants, including your family (unless you're Native American). Our mix of cultures is part of what makes this country great and there's no reason to disrespect someone like that just because they're not completely patriotic. I was born and raised here and I have complaints about this counrty,but don't we all? Don't get me wrong, I love America but it's not perfect. Just because I, and plenty of other Americans, think so does not make us less of an American. He was just comparing our two cultures like this site asks us to do. Heaven forbid there be a culture possibly better than ours.
I'm German and live in Paris for 3 years now. I've been to a few places in the world (including 37 of the United States).
I know how Russians are all crazy about France and Italy. I have been to Russia (St. Petersburg, Moscow, Norilsk, Astrachan and travelled by train, ... ) and thanks to these travels have Russian friends, and I like to compare views and menthalities.
I think, that Russians think that in Europe (Note that the EU has 27 different countries with different cultures....) people enjoy live more, are happier, smile more etc... I think I understand why: because people seem to be able to afford this luxury more than in Russia, as life there is harder, I guess because of the criminal gouvernment and corrupt administrative structures.
I also think that Paris is one, maybe THE most beautiful city in the world.
But visiting a place does is not the same as living there, as for everywhere.
Paris is stressy. If you come in July/August, the town is empty because Parisians are usually out of town on vaccation and it feels like 50% of the people are tourist in the center.
When you live here, you realize how everone rushes, the metro stinks because people piss in there as they have no home and it is a very DENSE city and rents are rudicously high, and the latest when you are facing the bureaucracy here you will get more realistic ... but you will still love it :) ... if you do not mind an extreme urban environment. I felt that Manhattan is less crowded because it's so much bigger, question of density, people/area.
Actually I found people in Russia at first sight much unfriendlier than here in Paris, but maybe because I was a foreigner they opened much quicker, they are extremely welcoming and straightforward. Pretty much the opposite of the average methality in Paris.
I say Paris because Paris and the Parisiens are not like the rest of the country. Yes it is more complicated than that. Bretons are unlike people from the south of France and so on. Once you are 30km away from Paris, people are much more friendly, so beloved Russians, you might get overdosed by so much friendlyness :)
And yes the Americans saved the french asses by landing in the Normandy! Despite this, French often dislike Americans, at the same time, they often have never been to the US. Some say french sometimes understand English but reply in French (sounds silly, but I actually find this not too bad, because English speakers often expect everybody to speak their language, which seems a bit arrogant).
Response to the Russian comment: Frankly, I don't understand what speaking not a good English has to do with having everything you need.
I am an American woman and am currently dating a Frenchman from Brest. We see each other every four to five weeks and spend much time on the phone and online. He may be coming to the US to work soon and that will be wonderful.
So far as differences on the romantic front I have no complaints. Jordane is attentive, persistant, loving and sensitive. I am a few years older than him and the only person that expressed any concern was his mother but after we met all was well.
I would say that the language barrier is the largest issue but I am half French and have a Grandmother who is also Breton and she is thrilled and is working with me on my conversational French. Believe it or not I can read and write French better than speaking it! Tragic!
I should say that I find French men to be more intuitive, more implicit in their actions as opposed to the American up front manner. It is not bad to be that way but perhaps Jordane blends better with me because that is also how I am, not very "in your face", if you take my meaning.
I have heard the "French bashing" and the horrible myths. I can attest to the fact that they are unfounded and I always have a fabulous time while in France. Perhaps it is because I have a personal guide? I do not know. I do know that the moment I am off of the airplane men begin to flirt, it seems a national sport. Jordane always has to whisk me away from the advances of some stranger wanting to have coffee with me. *giggles*
So, I do not know if this answers your question but there is my impression. Friendly, romantic, sensitive and fun loving. This is my exprerience of French culture.
Merci beaucoup pour ton message ! (thanks a lot for your message!)
It is great to read what you've written about french men, and about french people. I think it is great that an american woman just talk about her experience of french culture, since some american have bad ideas (often wrong ideas) about french people.
Thanks a thousand times for your message, I am happy to see that some americans have a good opinion about french people even if they have to meet a french man or woman to understand that some horrible things that are sometimes said about french people are false.
I hope you will carry on writting on this forum. ;)
Awwwuu! Pat! Thank you!
I worry so about speaking the language correctly and have begun taking lesson here locally in Boston with Madame Chevalier. (www.learnfrenchinboston.com) I hope that I will learn quickly!
No, I do not see French people as being anything other than more patient, more culitivated. Not better than anyone else - I take everyone, no matter where there are from, as they are!
I do worry, very much, about Jordane's family, his mother in particular. They do profess to like me but as I am an American I wonder. I have heard the cruel stories that the "worst thing that can happen to a French man is a French salary and an American wife." Pffft! If this is true, I am doomed!
I do love him and would consider moving to Bretagne if things progress as they are. I just hope that I can learn and be accepted!
Thank you for your kind words and I will continue reading your blog and responding if you like.
Good luck to live in Bretagne . I lived 25 years of my life over there and would never consider to move back !!!!!!good luck girl
I d rather to visit it and stay in California where you meet more people and from everywhere. You are going to be surprised how different it is when you live with the people from the countryside ...
from a french girl married to an American and happy to be here in california
I was born and raised in a city in Brittany, and I feel very offended that you have forgotten about your roots. Every Breton person isn't from the countryside! Yes, it may be better for you to stay in California, which is a beautiful state. Indeed, you seem to be too arrogant to return to France. Si j'etais vous, j'aurais honte!
Kenavo et Adieu!
I am a SriLankan woman.I read all the comments about French vs American culture, and they are very interesting for me. I want to give my thanks to Pat because I learned many things by reading him and I got to know the answers for some of the questions I've had before. I have a friend in France and I know him since many years.We were penfriends before and now I don't feel so, with the help of the new technology we could keep in touch more closer and we had chances to meet each other.Everytime with him is so wonderful,enjoyable for my family. We had chances to taste the french food as he loved to prepare French meals for us. Until I read those letters I think of Frenchmen in my point of view,and now I have some ideas how other people think of French people.I feel him as a sincere, ploite, kind and optimistic person. I learned from him how to win the life as I failed myself sometimes. And he has a great respect for others.
I think the majority of the French people are sincere, polite and kind as I feel of my friend.
Once again I would like to give my thanks to you all..
I just couldn't resist but write to you when I read your nice comment. What's with other people hating on France that much ?
I lived for more than a year in California and I had a great time there, I met a lot of wonderful people but I realize (in America just as much as in France) that there's a real love/hate relationship between our two countries.
I personnally love both of them. I am a young actress planning on moving out to NYC actually, and I just can't wait !
By the way, it was funny to read that your boyfriend is from Brest. I am from this little city too ! Seems like "Bretons" are american-lovers. ;)
I hope you'll take a look at my blog : http://marjorielenoan.blogspot.com/ ("Once Upon A Time, There Was An Aspiring Actress...")
There's an article about the same topic (and a lot of other funny ones^^).
I wish you all a great day and let's make peace.
ps: Please people, stop with the "if it wasn't for the USA, Paris wouldn't have been liberated". This is such a pathetic argument.
Interesting comments and insight. I am a female living in San Francisco where we have a lot of french people. To answer your questions, I think that for the most part Americans like french people (perceived as romantic, amazing food and wine) and sophisticated. However, they do have a reputation for being a bit arrogant and difficult. For example, they really tend to do things how they want to do them without caring what anyone else thinks (this can be both good and bad). Also, I have found many french men tend to have a somewhat inflated status of their 'sexiness' and can't seem to understand why any woman would not want them (they are French afterall). Of course, I am generalizing . . . but a few thoughts. Curious how French men view American women in the dating world.
I think that the french are more commiting, and generous. I have a question, in France, is there any players? (guys who date and flirt with multiple girls, usually doesn't care about any one of the girls) There are A LOT of them here in America.
Of course there are "players" but I think they might be less numerous than in the US, I don't know why, maybe a question of culture... But it's obvious that there are such guys in France just like in the USA, but I am also sure they are not so numerous here in France than in the USA.
I also think that there are such guys all over the world, it's quite a pity but I think it's reality !
Don't you think that there are also female players ? I am sure there are some in the US (I saw an american TV show called the "5thWheel"= certainly not the best one american people could do... and I won't make any other comments on this show= I am not especially interested in this kind of TV show, but I was searching an interesting to watch, and I saw this one and it interested me only because it was an american one and I wanted to see what american people watch on TV )
In this show some girls appear to be players too (that's why I amsaying that I am sure there are female players in the US, but I am aware there are some in France, but it is certainly less commun than in the USA, because sex is certainly a little bit more tabbou than in the USA.)
salut pat! je m'appelle kate et j'ai 18 ans. j'habite a colorado aux etats-units. je ne parle pas bien francais mais j'essaie :D j'aime bien ton message des gens americains. je suis d'accord avec vous sur tout que vous avez dit. je suis allee en france l'annee prochaine pour voir Paris, Marseille, et Nimes aussi! La france est le plus beau pays dans le monde a mon avis ;) toute la nourriture est delicieuse (l'escargots, le pain, le vin)! la mer et les fruits de la mer sont magnifique! quand beacoup d'americains pensent a la france, ils disent, "c'est la langue d'amour!" les filles croient que les hommes sont tres beau :D et les garcons pensent que les filles ont beacoup de poile haha mais elles sont tres belles! je connais kyo et edith piaf pour la musique francaise et c'est tout :) mais je suis sure qu'il y a beacoup d'artistes tres bien! j'ai vu les films La Vie en Rose, 8 Femmes, et 1 encore mais j'oublie le nom :( mais j'adore les gens francais, la culture, la nourriture, et le pays bien sur! merci pat!
I am not sure if I am the right person to answer your questions because I am not really a 'normal' american. I love the French culture, and take french classes at my univeristy. What I have noticed about American guys is that they often think the French are snobs and arrogant. I believe the reason for this opinion is because I think that the French hold much more value on being intelligent and sophisticated than Americans. My society is such a 'Now' society. Everyone wants instant gratifacation and spend large sums of money on material possessions. The French in general however, I find to be philosophical and put more value on 'se cultive' one's mind and value on knowledge. The French culture in general is less violent than the american culture and take better care of their bodies and american men unfortunealtely often see frenchmen as more feminin or less masculine for the lack of blood thirstiness and Burger king in the french culture. Also, france is very very liberal and america has tons on jesus freaks and republicans. Just think of it this way, it's not you, it's them. The french culture is a very good one in my point of view and you're absolutely right, there are some crazy americans here. My roommate doesn't believe that birth control should be legal and she says that access to birth control makes teenage girls loose with their morals. There are many americans who love the french, but they are usually more open and educated then the average american.
as for movies, it is my homework often for my classes to watch french films. my favorites are Amelie ofcourse, la vie en rose, la placard, le diner con, 8 femmes, paris je t'aime, queen margo, molier, ridicule, ect
my favorite music is by Carla bruni, olivia riz, raphael horoche, mc soliar, edith piaf, indochine
Firstly, not all Jesus freaks are Republicans, nor are Republicans Jesus freaks. Secondly, there is nothing wrong with belonging to either group. There is nothing good to be gained by going to either extreme of the liberal-conservative scale. Plenty of conservative Americans love and respect other cultures, too. I, personally, love the Oriental culture, probably because Japanese was the first language I formally studied, and I have had Japanese and Chinese roommates. However, I have studied French and now have a friend from France, too.
I have learned from personal experience and other people's wisdom that if you make a genuine effort to learn the local customs and language and attempt to speak it, no matter how badly it may come out, people in most countries will respect and encourage you, and treat you with kindness. The reason many Americans believe the French are stuck up is that most traveling Americans have only been to Paris, and they were treated with some contempt and aloofness there. I have been told that if we follow the above advice, once we leave the city French people are just as nice as can be. And I'm sure many in Paris are nice, too, it's just a few bad encounters give a whole populace a bad rep. It's the same in America; people in small towns and the countryside are more friendly and nice once they get to know you than people in the city.
France is lucky, in that it has an unique ethnic identity. America is made up of so many different cultures, in addition to being so large (France is, what, about the size of Texas, our second largest state, and we have 50 of them!) that we don't have an unique ethnic identity. We have several cultures, which vary by state, county, and even city neighborhood. What's true for one ethnicity may not be true for another, which makes defining an American culture hard, indeed. Sadly, I don't know much about French culture, for while my French teacher was very outgoing, exuberant, and energetic, my French friend is shy, reserved, and difficult to get to know, leaving me with no idea which is closer to the norm. =)
Oh, and you are absolutely right about watching movies and music; it's the best way to learn how to speak a language. Listening to Japanese music is how I learned to pronounce Japanese, much to the disgrace of my French r's; to this day I still cannot pronounce tres correctly. If anyone knows of a good site to pick up some French music, I would appreciate it. Texas stores don't carry French music for some odd reason...Tejano, sure, but not French. ;-P
On a final note, access to birth control doesn't give young girls loose morals; bad parenting and/or bad peer influences do that, which is also what's responsible for much of our younger generation being a "Now" society, sadly.
je suis contente que tu es intereste dans les Americains ;). moi, je suis une femme Americaine de 20 ans. Je peux parler un peu de francais, que je l'ai etudie depuis des ans, mais il y en a beaucoup qui peuvent pas parler francais, et alors ca fait des problemes, parce que la langue est la porte pour une autre culture. But I'll explain this topic further in my native language, English, since it is a bit easier for me and you seem to speak English at a higher level. It's very nice to know that the French in general like the American people.
I have been to France twice, and not once have I been met with unnecessary hostility by the French. In fact, the French really seemed to like me. But perhaps this is because I do something that those limited number of "snobby Americans tourists" have forgotten to do when visiting a foreign nation. I make sure that I pay respect to each and every person there, and I make the effort to adapt to the new culture with as little complaining as possible (though this part isn't hard for me because I love French culture!) I am well aware from some of my friends who are French natives that there are many rude American tourists that pass through there, turning their noses up at the thought of eating pate (excuse me that there are no accents marks, my keyboard doesn't have them! haha) or at the fact that most places in france do not have air-conditioning. But this is not how all Americans are. It is VERY difficult to state in just one or two words how the Americans feel about the French, because America is truly full of a variety of people. We've had many waves of immigration of different people with different cultural backgrounds. These differences have all mashed together to form a super culture and many subcultures below it. There are a variety of people within these sub-cultures, all ranging from ultra conservatives to ultra liberals. And within the liberals and conservatives there are those who are very educated, and those who are not. These all have an affect on how a certain people feel about another culture. In my opinion, it is education that can make a big difference in how people perceive a culture. I was very fortunate that during my early years of learning French I was taught by a native French teacher who made it very clear that the French do not hate the Americans, and that it was ok for us (the Americans) to become curious about other cultures, and try new things. However, in general, I think the Americans feel indifferent or positive about the French, though this is often combined with feelings of hesitation and lack of knowledge on where the French people are coming from, which can equal to ready acceptance of someone's negative opinions on the French only because people just haven't been taught about other cultures well enough. Though it is common to hear jokes about the French, but this usually occurs only when there are well broadcasted events that are occuring in France to the United States (such as the riots that occured a few years ago, or the elections, etc.) Americans are also so different because of the fact that we are so isolated from other cultures that we do not understand others from different countries or we become close minded and are unwilling to try new things.
But if you encounter an American, 9 times out of 10 they will most likely be friendly to you. I think the Americans are in general very friendly and are always willing to help out foreigners that step into the United States. But if you happen to encounter someone who is not friendly to you just because you are French, do not let this ruin your entire opinion on the American population. The country is still comprised of 30% "Bushies" (ils sont les personnes qui apuyent president Bush) and there is a chance you may run into a close minded person.
In general the Americans do not have a very good idea of what the current French movies are, or of many famous French actors and actresses. The only ones that some may recognize is Audrey Tautou, and maybe Gerard Depardieu. This is because there are not very many french movies that are shown in theaters in the United States. Why? I truly have no idea, though I wish they would show more international films. This is also the same for music.
if you have anymore questions don't hesitate to ask me ;) I hope that the French continue to feel kindly towards the Americans. Please don't allow the ignorance of a few to spoil the positive feelings felt towards the majority. I assure you that there will always be those who support and love the french in the United States. I hope I've answered some of your questions!
WOW, thanks a lot Amanda for your message !!!
And congratulations you're french is very good !!! ;)
I am really pleased to read what you've written, because it makes a few days or week, that we hear negative feedbacks about France from the US ( just have a look on youtube (I know it's not a good reference but...) for examples and some comments made about french people, or about the olympic torch when it was in Paris and you will understant what I mean) I can assure you that some americans are really violent and rudes against french people on this website (youtube). I supposed it was certainly a minority but I was somewhat deceived by what I've could read on the internet.
What you've written about being in France for an american is really really interesting, since I agree with all what you've written, when visiting a foreign country the best thing to do is to "make the effort to adapt to the new culture", and the french in general are really attached to their culture that they do want to dissappear, or to look like the american culture with a french touch. They just really like their way of living and they don't like another country to come and impose its own standards. So, when you're in France, if you just try to open your mind to another way of living , of being maybe, you'll just won't have any problems at all, on the contrary, people will really be pleased to see that you're interested in the french culture and they will really take care of you, and be pleased to help you discovering France and its traditions.
I've never been to the US, but if one day I had the opportunity to go there I would really be happy to try to adapt to the american way of life just to try to see how your way of living is or not differnet from the french one. Behaving that way (adapting to one culture) is the best way to open one's mind to something new and different and to learn a lot about the culture of the foreign country you're visiting.
So,Amanda, I totally agree with all what you've written in your message, since I exactly think the same thing , and behaving in the way you described is true when visiting France, but I really think it's true when visiting any other nation on the world.
Another think that is really true since I experienced it a month ago, concerning some americans in France I just want to precise first that I know that I am about to write about a minority of amercian people, since I know some that are just great persons, so I do not at all generalize, since I really love american people and their culture, but as in France there are some persons that are not correct, but it is something universal, if you find a nation where everybody's polite and perfect just tell me, I'd like to visit it right away !)
So I wanted to write that when they are in France some american are just arrogant and rude about french people and culture (it's funny since they usually say that french ARE arrogant :) ) In fact, it sometimes seems that some tourists are just here for Paris, the Eiffel Tower, the museums.... but they really don't care about the people they meet, and they even don't talk to them except if it is a necessity. And at the end of their trip, just before they go back to the US, you ask them what they thing about what they've seen and this kind of stuff, and they just answer "well, the cultural aspects are great and interesting, but the people are really "cold" (Sorry i don't know if it is somehting correct in English to say that some people are cold meaning "distant" and even "arrogant") and unfriendly ". Could you know understand the ambiguity ? They dare not speaking to people, they are not interested in the french people and would even think it is not interesting to take care of them, so facing such people I assure you that even when you love the US and its inhabitants, it is not easy to keep cool and say that some french(a minority) are not right to think that americans are bad people.
And I think that this behaviour of some americans in France is certainly one of the reasons why some people do not feel comfortable when speaking about americans.
I won't write about all what you've written because I would always write "I totally agree" each time ! I am really happy to see an american girl being so much open minded and self-aware of the "differences" between France and the US, that's why when I've read your message I've thought "WOW, that's somebody who's got the same ideas or opinion or "study" about the differences between France and the US, and who just think the same way I would do if I were in a foreign country" !!!!!
So I can add nothing else than " THANKS A LOT AMANDA " !!!!!!!!!!!
A few words in french :
Merci beaucoup Amanda !! ça a été un réel plaisir de lire ton message, car je suis à 100% d'accord avec tout ce que tu as écris. J'avais exactement les même idées que toi concernant ce qui pouvait expliquer que certains américains aient des préjugés contre la France et les français.
J'espère vraiment que tu repasseras sur ce forum pour écrire d'autres messages, car tu sembles être une personne très intéressante et de très cultivée, et ton message est vraiment très très intéressant à lire !
Donc Merci beaucoup. ;)
Well, I hope you'll understand, but I think you will since your french is very good !!! ;)
It was a real real real real pleasure to read your very interesting message, I hope you'll write others !! I am eager to read what you could write about french and France !!
I hope to read you soon !!!
kind regards from France ;)
Let me just tell you now, the Americans who are rude on the internet are rude to EVERYBODY and not only the French, trust me. Definitely don't let the conversations on YouTube be what you base your judgment on, as there tend to be a lot of rude people on that site in particular.
Not everyone in countries are what they are seen to be this world is very diverse in cultures,religions,as well in personalities. Americans are not all rude as French are not all "Stuck up" and some may or may not particularly like Americans but, that is completely based upon their own opinion. No one can judge a whole country by one individual they may meet or at least they shouldn't. I rather like the french culture and everything I have read and learned about France, but the people of France I can not say because, well I haven't met anyone personally from France. Youtube is just a way for people to act different or voice their opinion which everyone has an opinion.
I live in a country of great diversity in culture n language. ive been reading the french vs american letters. i jz wanna say this is not a reply to ur letter. bt wanna say we all humans r globalised today. I love the americans french indians the people of kuwait etc... all have differnt stories culture rules of livestyle.... we have to abort all negatives n respect every other culture..... I lovethe way americans love their pets.... ive worked 4 them. they r very respectful... ya its true they get angry faster.... ive served the french.... I must say they r not rude but very private... Indians r diverse... there r rajputs marathas goans muslims sikhs gujus etc etc.. the kuwaitis r hospitable.... so I must say ive experienced few cultures.. n wud love to explore more..... I can talk a lot lot bou cultures... Iwprked with the itlian chefs... spoke with italian guests... my frend is in love with a nepali girl...... ive chinese frenz.... my aunt works in london... she says the english r low down to earth..... so what can we talk negatives.... we do get angry on certain ways of other cultures.... but we all r globalised.... love u all those who r born o EARTH....
im an american teenager. im 15 and i personally love the france because the language, culture and, well, everything else about it.(i think people in my own country are kind of stupid) im sorry to say that the general thought by americans is that the french "suck"
i really dont understand whats not to like about france, or the french people
even looking through the perspective of american history, we wouldnt be here without france.
France aided us during our revolution.
so, as i said, most americans claim to hate france, but i love it, and i cant wait till i take my trip there next year.
Thanks for your message !
I am happy to read that 15 years teenagers could love France in the US !!
And I have to say that you're right when writing that without France and other european countries the american history would certainly be very different from what it is now, and I am pleased to see that some people are aware of this in the US, because from France we often hear some american people complaining about the fact that the US helped France during both World War and thus do not understand why France was against the war in Irak. It seems that because the US helped us during these two awful wars, we should then always agree with all what the US want us to do or to think, it is strange (and somewhat funny) when we know that France contributed in the "creation" of the US !!
Well, I hope you'll enjoy your trip in France, if you like history you will really enjoy your trip because in France history is in every town and village (about WW II, middle ages with great castles, 18th century......)
Really hope you'll have a great time here in France !
If you need more informations, or details or anything else just ask I'll really be pleased to answer you ;)
take care ;)
Hi! I'm a freshman in a university in sacramento. Well, i'm moroccan but I was educated with the french culture. I was in a french school since I was born.And I spent all of my vacations in Paris ( some of my reltives lives there). If u need to ask me any question, I'll be happy to help you.
Who knows if this site's still alive, but yeah, French culture exists in the US. The United States is made up of different nations, so to speak ... the Northeast, West Coast, the South, the Midwest, etc., so it's hard to think of the United States as having a single, unified opinion of anything.
But, the French fall into two camps: respected for their culture vs. hated for their culture. Then there are the people who can only think of wine, cheese, and that the French are the lovers of Europe! I grew up outside of New York City and live there currently; my mother and aunt lived in France during the 80s, and we have family friends there. It's not terribly uncommon for people who live on the coastal Northeast to have connections to Europe, but it's definitely much different elsewhere in the US thanks to isolation and distance over land (it's funny, people in the US hate the French the same way they hate people from the Northeast; they're both snobs, apparently).
French film, pop music, etc., is definitely known around here. But, from an American perspective, the French seem really intense about accents. A classmate in college had parents born in France and she told a story about her father, who was born and raised in France, who lost his authentic French accent after living in the US for so long. When he visited France, the French shunned him because of his accent. To an American that seems truly bizarre, but I know it's the case in Italy, too ... a girlfriend was from Italy and she recounted similar things happening when she visited there.
I guess the French are also seen as being really stuck up on traditional culture, like families eating at the dinner table at a certain hour, etc. Where I'm from that's pretty much the norm, and so is the politeness and courtesy that's expected on say ... public transportation, etc. The coastal Northeast is still kind-of connected to its European roots. The rest of the country, god knows what it's like over there, but it's probably much different. That's why it's hard to judge anything as being universally American.
I am was born and raised in my younger years in France. My mother is french and father american. I have lived in the U.S. for over 30 years and love the United States. My mother has lived most of her life in the U.S. and is very Ethnocentric. She only eats french style foods, is not open to any other ethnic style foods; associates only with her french friends, or non french who love france; watches the french channel 24/7. She only travels to France to visit her side of the family and nowhere else. She is only comfortable in a french surrounding. My American father was more open minded and welcomed her french culture and family, while she did nothing but criticize anything american, yet she still lives here! It has been difficult being raised with such an opinionated narrow minded mother, it has caused a rift in my relationship with her, she has even said to me that I don't like her because she's french - what mother says that!
French mothers will also favor and coddle their sons over daughters, at least that's my experience.So beware of the mother if you are dating a frenchman. My french family have never visited the united states, nor do they want to, to see myself, or even my mother. They say they are afraid to come over, they don't feel secure. Yet they feel free to express their opinions and to criticize and make fun of american people, and base their views of American culture by what they see on television and in movies - and will tell me how they know how we live.
I had a french woman walk into the travel agency where I worked tell me that I wasn't a true french person because I was only half - yet I was born and raised there, and have family there - She expressed this with her nose up in the air, and I couldn't help but think how she personified what americans thought of french people as being snobs. I love both cultures, but feel trapped in the middle by having been offended by people from both cultures. Each one is different, so let's accept and enjoy the differences, this is what makes life more interesting - one is not better than the other.
I know that this post is sort of old but i was looking at the differences between American and French culture online and i came across this post. I know that there are a lot of ignorant Americans who don't favor the French, but personally i love the idea of the French life and the people. I have some sort insight into French culture because of my previous French teacher. She is very opinionated and had many stories to tell my class.
i think that in general the majority of Americans don't know French singers. And i am not so sure about French cinema. I love French films but most of my friends don't watch any foreign films. I think that Americans know famous French actors like Juliette Binoche.
I like the fact that the French take time to enjoy life. i feel that they have a lot more leisure time, between the short work weeks and long vacations. they take time to savor their food and talk to people.
Bonjour Pat. I'm an American teenager. I was born in New York but I am now living in the Southeastern region of the U.S. which is home to many prejudice and culturely ignorant Americans. I myself, am not your average everyday American teenager and I love France and the French culture. It really bothers me that because of my government, (Bush ect...) Americans are percieved as war hungry and uncultured (which in many cases tends to be true, unfortunately)I cannot stand how so many Americans feel superior to the rest of the world when in reality my country is backwards at least a hundred years because of stupid politicians. I have visited France once and I absolutely adored it! The food was amazing and the way of life was even more amazing. It appeares to me that Americans live to work while the French and other Europeans work only so they can live and enjoy life. Is this really so? Do the French really enjoy life as much as it seems they do?
I haven't seen as many French movies as I would like but I just recently saw La Vie En Rose, a movie about the life of Edith Piaf. She was a great singer with a very tragic life. I also know of other famous French singers and actors such as Charles Aznavour, Yves Montand, Bridgette Bourdoue, Catherine Denevue, Alain Delon, and Marion Colltiard.
Some Americans think that the French are snobby and stuck up but I didn't find that at all. Using the little French I can speak I was able to cummunicate fine and thought that the people were kind and helpful. I can understand why some French people don't particularly like Americans in general. An example of this, I witnessed at the Charles De Gualle airport in Paris...A rather obese American couple, adorned in sweat pants and flip flops, were so rude to this poor French airport attendent. They were apparently lost and were constanly complaining about how there weren't enough signs written in English (which I myself didn't find at all.) After they finally left the poor man alone I could have sworn he was cursing them in French...which sounded so funny to me never having heard a Frenchman curse before. Anyway I had a fantastic time in Paris and I plan to go back (perhaps permanately)
I am a U.S. citizen but was born and raised in Korea for 20 years, so what I can comment on French people or culture might be somewhat different, but I want to share my thoughts with you. I think my background actually makes me more interested in French culture and people, compared to my fellow Americans. Because, for example, I grew up watching Sophie Marceau's La Boom series and Charlotte Gainsbourg's movies when I was a child, and every child knew who they were in Korea. Later I got to enjoy movies of Isabel Adjani, Juliette Binoche, Julie Delpy, and I remember first time I listened to Vanessa Paradis's song about Marilyn Monroe and JFK (similiar like that, cannot remember well, I am over 30 years old)...It makes me laugh when none of American people knows Vanessa Paradis' career, except she is Jonny Depp's partner. I really do not have any friend or co-worker that know as much as French anything. They do not know Rudolv Nureyev danced with the Paris Opera Ballet - I feel very lonely for being unable to share my love of French art and culture with my loving friends. I let them borrow my films or CDs because I want to introduce them.
I do not think many Americans have experienced French anything as much(movies, books, music, etc.) and they worry about having problems with communicating in French. Actually I went to France for the first time in June 2007 and totally fell in love with your country and people. Contradictions to many Americans' fear, I have met the most kind people who were willing to help me wherever I went. The great thing about French people was that, if I did not understand it, a person next to the person or whoever and more people tried to help. Sevral people used total body language and did whatever will help me understand. I only used a few French words and that was it: "Bon jour madame, parle vous Englais(I cannot even spell well, as you can see)?" "Excuise moi, Ou est le metro?" "Merci beaucoup" "Comment cava?" Even if I was totally wrong with whatever I was talking about, people were so kind tome - Men or women, young people or seniors, they were very sincere.
In France, I felt so welcomed and did not feel like I was treated differently. On the contrary, living in US, I had a hard time adjusting in the first few years because of my language barrier and for being a minority. I was surprised and very happy about my trip to France, including all the beautiful places I went (La Tour Eiffel, Chateau de Versailles, Notre Dame de Paris, Strasbourg,...)I am a single parent and took my child with me, and my son enjoyed the trip because of the way French people treated us wherever we went. If
In my opinion French culture has charm and rich history that Americans should rediscover and learn more. Yes, US is fairly new and gives opportunies for people. However, in US, it is so easy to ignore what is going on outside the world. I agree the land is huge and there are more opportunities. By the way, I am not the best person you can hear about anything politic. I do not really understand political mind of either Korean or American. General people are fine, the people with power might be successful but may not be the best people to lead. What I know about countries so far is people are fine and they work hard to make a living and to support themselves or their family.
However, I would like to recommend many Americans (include myself) be more open to other culture and actually learn something. While I was writing this, I realize I should learn French because I did not speak or write English well when I moved to the U.S., so if I start working on French now, I will be able to speak and do better at it.
I hope my answer has given you some answers to your questions and keep searching for more answers you seek.
You should be proud of your country. It is the home of wonderful artists (Monet, Manet, Degas, Lautrec, Rodin,...sorry if I mispelled some words) and the French Revolution was a great influence to the birth of the U.S.
bonjour pat, ou Bonsoir parce que je sais que mnt il est 00h47 chez toi (ca c'est si tu habites à Paris :])
My name is Jeannette and I found your "blog" post (im not sure really what to call it here, a forum posts?) anyways, very interesting. I recently traveled to France last summer of 2007 and fell in love with the country. I have studied french for 6 years, so far, and have fallen in love with the culture.
Firstly, I had been told that the french do not like the americans, but I have also learned that it is, like you said, mostly our government, form of government, and our president that the french people dislike (I don't blame you for not liking our president lol). Nonetheless, when I was in France, I found them to be extremely nice there! I had no problems with anyone and anyone to whom I would ask a question or directions, they would kindly show me the right way. They were great! the only thing was that when i would start speaking french to certain people, im sure they noticed my accent, and would respond to me in french! This i found to be a little dissappointing because i really wanted to practice my french lol. anways...
Im not sure who is more conservative. I have a couple correspondants in france and they tell me they think the USA is more conservative, which i found awkwards being that I am from here and trust me, I see LITTLE conservation, at least in today's youth population etc lol...not always in a bad way..but for example, we were short skirts because, well, we like to show skin. Not in a skanky way. But its just the way we are used to dressing. we dont mean to imply anything or mislead anyone. When i was going to go to france, i was worried about taking skirts because one of my pen pals said that when girls DO wear skirts they would wear leg warmers under...and i must admit, i hardly saw anyone with skirts such as the ones we wear here, short denim ones etc (keep in mind it was beginning of july).
so yeah. just alittle something i wanted to mention in response to ur post. :)
My thing is, i wonder how difficult it would be to move to france after college. Im in my second year and will graduate hopefully in 2 more years...hopefully studying abroad in france next year! :] ...id like to possibly go to medical school afterwards...but my main goal is to be in france while im still young! =]
je constate que ton français est parfait, on voit que tu as de la pratique ;-). Sinon pour l'horaire que tu m'indiques en début de message ça doit être ça car en France il n'y a qu'un fuseau horaire (je n'habite pas à Paris mais j'ai la même heure qu'à Paris ;-) )
I will now maybe write in english if you want, it could be easier for other people to understand what I am writting if they do not understand perfectly french.
Just concerning the fact that some people in France think that the USA is a more conservative country than France or Europe : I think that I can understand their point of view, since for example we often hear that american people are against abortion (sorry I do not know if it is the correct word in english) and this proves that american people are still very conservatives since they still base their actual and modern life on ancient religious backgrounds. I do not say that it is bad, but for such a modern country we do not understand why this "modernity" is so much rejected in the US THE modern country. There are just a lot of things like that that tend to make us think that the US prefer basing its modern life on very old rules it is a kind of strange ambiguity (just take as an example the right for every american people to have a gun : a very old law that should be modernised because of all the problems this law now creates but americans seem to be strongly opposed to the modernisation of this very very old law that could be efficient or justified centuries ago and which is now the base of a lot of problems so it really needs to be modernized but american people refuse this modernisation and keep on being conservatives . It seems to us that the US just keep its standards (going at war without trying to find another solution, keeping very old rules alived while they are useless or while they could be modernized to benefit people's lives, basing its economy on Wall Street market something dangerous -as we've just seen -and quite archaic now, we also think the US are quite conservative because it is a quite self-centered country while on the contrary Europe and France are now very opened to the rest of the world.) We've got the impression that the US stopped modernizing thinking they've reached their goal (the most powerfull country in the world) but behaving that way they won't certainly keep on being the most powerful country in the world.
All these elements are certainly some reasons why from abraod the US appear to be a conservative country. It is certainly true that in your everyday life you may think that you're countru is not really conservative (and you're certainly right ) but from an international point of view, the US really appear to be quite conservative compared to other countries in the world.
Concerning the fact you'd like to move to France after college, I do not really know if it will be difficult or not (you should try to talk with american people who tried to do it) but I think that as long as you speak french quite correctly (it seems to be the case) and as you've studied at college there should be no real problem for you to come in France. Speaking french and having diplomas are some of the new criterias to accept people in France as a rule. So I do not think it will be too hard for you since you really seems to like french culture, language and maybe way of life, and these are the most important criterias !!!!
So I hope to see you soon in France ;-)
Hope this helped you
And thanks a lot for you're message !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sorry I've just seen I wrote too much !!!!! I hope you don't have a headache after reading my entire message sorry lol ;-)
I am American I am from the south eastern part of the US. I really enjoyed your post. I have never been outside the US. But I dream of learning French and visiting France and other places in the world. I agree with you about our polititicans especially bush who is from a place called Texas in the south western US. people in Texas(especially affluent people) generally seem to think that Texas is the best part of the WORLD and that they are better than others even inside the US so you can imagine the attitude he bought with him to the presidency. I did not vote for him but still he "won" Many people here believe the election was somehow stolen because it was such a close race and so many people so vehemently wanted him to go back to Texas and leave the rest of the world alone. But it is almost over. I do know people who treat their pets like people but most do not. Just a few ecsentrics as you said. It is unfortunate but we don't know a lot of French films, actors, art because the American media is saturated with nonsense and a person like myself who is facinated with other cultures in very much in the minority, at least that is, here in the south east. different parts of the country differ greatly. You want to know what Americans think about French people. Most of them that I know do not. Other peoples, many times do not come up in conversation but when I bring it up I find that people imagine the French to be smart, romantic, many of us admire your health care system . . . artsy. A while ago the media tried to turn us against the French because you would not go to war, but it did not work because we did not want to go to war either. Please keep in mind that I am black and so what we believe is many times very different than what the rest of America believes. We did not believe the ugly pictures the media tried to paint of France because we know how they paint ugly pictures of Black Americans for the rest of the world. There are black men in the army but for many the army is just a way to escape poverty. Once you join you must do as you're told as in any army. I'm sure some agree with bush but I have never met any who do. I see that you made your post long ago but here is my response nontheless. :) oh and one singer I know Madeline Peyroux, I really like her I think she is French.
I'm a 21 year old college student studying French and Business. Last year I lived in France for nine months for school, it was a great experience! My grandfather is French so I had a pretty good grasp on the language. Being able to speak French is something that will have an extreme impact on an Americans experience in France.
A few things that were hard to adjust upon arrival was seemingly lack of efficiency in public services and dealing with the "système d" and a lot of red tape.
With French people it's much harder to make the first contact but once you have you've made a good friend. I find that the French take friendships more seriously and prefer to have small networks of friends and less acquaintances.
Growing up I never understood my grandfather coldness with strangers however after my time in France I understood. The French find it fake to be so nice and smile when you first meet someone. You don't know them why are you smiling?
One thing I really like about French culture and wish was seen more in American society is the fact that they really try to appreciate and enjoy life. Their lives do not equal work.
And my biggest annoyance with the French as a resident were the constant protests. America's pastime is baseball and the French have protests. Anything from schools, businesses to transportation were shut down. My favorite one were the "Grève Général"(General Strike)
Movies, I loved bienvenue chez les ch'tis, les onze commandements, Taxi... and there are plenty of others.
All in all I loved France and plan on moving back there after I finish my studies.
All in all
Thanks for your message !!!! I think that your "analysis" or point of view about France and french people do really correspond to the reality . It is true french people prefer having "a small network of friends" but in this case Friend really means what it is suppose to mean !!!
And you're right writing that there are a lot of protests in France, but people often want to get involved in what's happening in the country, and sometimes politicians do "what they want" and people just claim they don't agree and that they'd liked to take part to the reforms that are taking place, it is just a wish to get involved in what's happening in the country (but it is also true that sometimes some people do abuse of contest and strikes, and there are certainly other ways to take part in the transformations of the country but people found this one in France, and it often prouves to be efficient. But it's true it is not always easy to cope with these strikes in everyday life....so thanks the "system D " lol
Anyway thanks a lot for your message!!!
happy new year 2009, I wish you all thebest for this new year !!!
Well I am not french and neither am I American, however i am Caribbean. I am currently in the advanced stages of learning French, I know a lot about the French Caribbean people however i am interested in learning more about french culture and the influences that have changed or altered it in the past years. one topic i am primarily concerned with is the influence of the internet on the french (youths. If you can be of any help i would greatly appreciate it. Thank you
I found this forum as a result of researching the cultural distinctions between French and American people, and I want to thank you for your openness and willingness to share. The reason I was doing this research is because I unintentionally offended my new French neighbor, due in large part to my ignorance about our differences. As an American, I am a very freindly and outgoing person and one who seizes the day so to speak in life. If I want to achieve something, I just go for it. I was so happy to meet my French neighbor because it has always been one of my dreams to learn your beautiful language and I love meeting people from all over the world and learning of new perspectives on life. Apparently I was too forward and enthusiastic in my approach to asking this person to consider accepting me as a student for private French instruction, as she teaches French in the local high school. Given her profession, I thought it would be o.k. to at least inquire about private tutoring. I must say, she was NOT rude, but was VERY blunt and clear that she had no interest in interacting with me beyond a hello in passing; that she is a very private person who likes her personal space and would prefer I respect that... I apologized profusely for violating her personal space or boundaries, and she sited cultural differences as the reason for our awkward interaction. I respect her, but must admit that I am a bit saddened. She seemed so lovely upon our first interaction in passing. Now, due to my over-enthusiasm and American assertiveness, I fear that I have ruined any future chance of knowing her... I want to learn more from this experience, so that I never, ever distance or repel a French person like this again... What should I do differently next time? Also, I heard that if you offend a French person or upset them by violating a cultural norm that it is the rare occasion that they forgive you and offer you a second chance to interact with them. Is this true? I certainly don't want to risk upsetting or irritating her again... I am curious as to your thoughts and most open to any education you may offer on the matter. Thank you...
Do not think every french people are like your neighbor (fortunatly for us !!!) but that's true that french people need more time to accept somebody as a friend (but a TRUE friend). In fact, we just start by saying "hello, How are you today?" for a few days or week, just to see if the person you try talking to is a "respectable person", since if this person does not answer you, you just start thinking, "well, this person is not polite, she even not says hello, well she does not deserve any interest from me". But things can take time, you first starts with the "hello", then day after days you could add things like "oh, you've got beautifull flowers on your front yard" and then a talk could start about everyday life, and then your neighbor could start talking about different other things such as her family, her move to the US.... In fact there are several steps : the first one would be to be polite and just say "hello, how are you?" (or just simply hello, with a great smile) if you've got a "hello" back, you are on the good way. So first be polite and patient.
Then the second step will be to start talking about everyday life matter (the weather, something that happened in your street....)
And finally after a few talks about common things your neighbor should start being more interested in you, and in more important thing about you.
But the key is to keep on being polite and respectful of her choice to talk or not to talk with you. If one day you see that she needs some help just say your ready to help her, it is just a lot of small things of politeness or willingness to help, of smilings...that could make her chance her mind/behaviour.
But just remember one thing : some people (french, american, spanish, italian...) are just extremly kind people while others are just more selfish, more self-centered, and she maybe is part of the second category, and if that's the case it will certainly take a long time for you to get close to that person...
It is also true that french people need some "private time" I do not know how to express it in english, but we sometimes like to be quiet at home and we appreciate some periods of calm, of being just at home with our family to share moments with our relatives, and we do not really like when somebody comes at home during that period.
I do not know if this helps you (tell me if yes or no) if you need more details, information just ask I'll be glad to help you (I'll do my best indeed !!)
I have to stop writting now (I always write too much but now I do not have time to write a longer message, so if you need more help just ask )
You appear to be a lovely person. Thank you so much for your kind and thoughtful response. I find it extremely helpful and re-assuring. I figure that I will just start over with her, doing exactly what you recommend and we will see how things turn out... I continue to study and read about the differences between our cultures and have great faith that all will turn out for the best for both parties. I am so happy to write that I am will be going to London, Paris and Barcelona this September and I can't wait. I am already proficient in speaking Spanish and obviously fluent in English. I will begin private tutoring in French next month so that I will have some basics down before getting to Paris. I certainly want to appear as little foolish as possible when in a restaurant trying to order a meal... :) I enjoy all that you write, so write as much as you want. Fully expressing oneself is most often the best way to go in my opinion! As for my neighbor, I really did get the sense from our first, brief interaction that she is a lovely person. I think I just overwhelmed her with too much too soon...so I will back off, be more casual, be respectful and polite, and go from there... So, if you only had 3 days and nights to visit Paris...what would you be sure to see and do during that time??? Will you be traveling to the States anytime soon? If so, I live very near Washington, DC and would be happy to help you in anyway if you ever find yourself in our Capitol... THANKS again Pat, and I would happy to remain in touch with you...
Hi Michele !!
If you want to remain in touch with me there's no problem, just e-mail me I'll be pleased to "talk" with you !!!
So feel free to e-mail me Michele !!
kind regards from France
Great! I'm sorry Pat, I do not know where your email address is listed on this site... Please forward to me and I will be delighted to remain in touch... Thanks again for your support and kindness!
Bonjour Pat, I also just found this site. My name is Terri and I live in Florida. I am leaving for my first visit to Paris in March! I am very excited, the city is so lovely from the photos and I can not wait to see the beautiful sites. I have met many French people here in the US, I live in Florida and we have a lot of tourist from all over the world, what I have notice from the French people I have met is that they are seem more serious than Americans. I don't like it when I hear Americans say that French people are rude! I always correct them and tell them that they are NOT rude, that their culture is very different than ours and that the French probably think Americans are foolish and think they are more important than others. I am looking forward to my visit so much, I have purchased some cd's to try and learn some of your beautiful language. I would love to hear from you if you are still around on this site, I notice your entry was a long time ago.
Au revoir Pat :-)
Hi Terry !!
Thanks for your message and for the love you seem to have for french people and culture !!
If I understood well your message you'd like me to give you more informations about Paris, and what's interesting to see there ?
In fact there are so much things to see in Paris, and I thing I wrote a message a few days, or weeks ago about this topic : what would be interesting to visit in France and in Paris. In fact, it depends upon the time you'll spend in Paris, because if you just go there for a couple of days you won't have time to visit a lot of things, while if you go there for a month for instance you could try to discover some secret jewels of Paris. But as a start, you should visit the Eiffel Tower, the Champs Ellysés, the Arc de Triomphe, Le Louvres, Versailles, Montmartre, Notre Dame........ and so on, I am sure you've got a lot of information about these places in your cds, and as it is your first trip in Paris you should start your trip with these kind of famous places.
Just an advice, try to visit Paris by day (you'll see it si great) but really try to see it by night it is just amazing and even more romantic. Try to take a boat called "bateau-mouche" on the Seine river by night and you'll see most of the famous place of Paris lighted and if you're lucky you'll come close (very close) to the Eiffel Tower and you'll maybe see it twinkling with its reflection on the water of the Seine river something unique and so great, I did it and I still remember it as on of my best memories of Paris.
If you want some more information or details (I'll do my best since I do not live in Paris) just asked me and as usual I'll be really pleased to help you ;-)
Bonjour, Pat! J'ai douze ans. Je suis une etudiante americain (je regret, mais je ne sais pas comment un personne mettre les accents sur les mots), et j'etudie francais dans l'ecole.
Haha, ils sont fous ces americains? Hmm, j'adore mon chien (mon chien est une fille...alors je dis "ma chien" ou "mon chien"?)! oui, j'ai (et BEAUCOUP de americains) deteste Bush...nous aimons Obama maitnent. Les personnes ditent souvent Bush n'est pas le gagne, mais il (cheated?)
Pour les chanteuses francais...Je sais Alizee. J'aime beacoup elle! J'adore les chansons "Lilly Town" "Mon Taxi Driver" "Mademoiselle Juliette" et "Gourmandises"...mais, dans Mon Taxi Driver, elle a dit "que les anguilles jouent les anguilles" .... je ne comprend pas. Il est un phrases francais (french saying?)? J'ai regarde le film "Le Fabuleux Destinee d'Amelie Poulain"...J'adore!
Les Francais...j'aime leurs culture. Les Americains aiment le deuvant francais et l'accent francais beaucoup. Ils ditent l'accent francais est "vraiment beau!" Un stereotype du Francais: ils ne faitent pas les douches et sont les egoistes. Mais les stereotypes n'ont pas raisons, oui?
Je vais aller en France pendant l'ete, parce que je vais traduisser (translate?) pour ma grand-mere et ma cousine. Je souhaite je vais comprendre tout les phrases, haha! Je vais aller en Paris. Ouii~!
Au revoir, Pat!
I am a 65 year young grandmother and have traveled to France as well as Switzerland,Germany, Belgium, Austria and Holland. I love it over there and I agree with most of what you said. Our politicians definitely think they are royalty, we elected them ro represent us and they in turn do exactly what they want only to further their goals. They become very wealthy in "serving" us, and I resent them as do most Americans, but we are so complacent we sit on our bottoms and cry but don't do anything about it. I also agree we think we can tell everyone else how to live, how dare we, when we don't live so well ourselves. So many of us have no mananers as do most of your countrymen, our young women though most are lovely, are too free and don't act in a respectful way. They go around half naked and some act so tough, I feel very sorry for them and how they represent our country to other nations. Don't get me wrong I do love this country, I just think we have gotten way off base with our politics and manners. I love your country and most of Europe and have met so many really nice people when traveling there. I can tell you the attitude a lot of Americans have toward the French is during the war with Germany we liberated France along with most of Europe, so now when we were deciding to go into Iraq we expected you to follow. I must say, I am proud of your president, just because we helped you then, in that war does not mean you should follow us like cattle in all we decide to do. I did not agree with the Iraq invasion and still don't. I want our boys out of there, and we need to stay in our own backyards and mind our own business. A lot of Americans feel this way and a lot of Americans think the French as well as other Europeans are wonderful..........so make no mistake there. It is the news media and our politicians who make all the trouble for all of us. You would enjoy the US, there are so many very nice people and very friendly. The American way is to be very open and friendly, really, and very helpful especially with people from other countries. You would find people everywhere here willing to help you in almost anything you ask. Sometimes that openess is misunderstood and people get the wrong idea. Really most Americans do have decent families and good upbringing. I have an 18 year old granddaughter who is sweet, very pretty of course and very refined and respectful. She has good manners and always a lady.I married A man named Croteau, so you see they have French blood in their veins. If you ever have a chance to come to the US, you would be welcome to stay with us for a visit, we have pleny of room, as in the US almost everyone owns a home and land. It is quite different in that way from Europe, we all own homes and have cars, each child in the family has a car. Too much I think but it is the way it is here. My son is very kind and just a very good man and very gracious host.
I am writing a college paper on the differences between the American and French cultures. This is what lead me to this site. I am a 45 year young woman trying to obtain the degrees I should of had long ago. I am writing to tell you that I loved what you had to say and I had to write and tell you. Ironically I am married to an East Indian and I recently met a French Caribbean Man who swept me off my feet and with our few months of interacting I am really considering altering my life. In short I can see your point of view and I think you hit American culture on the head. When you read this I hope you laugh at me because I am laughing at myself too. Peace and Blessings....
Answer to Pat 2007: I have just found this site in 2009 and like it alot!
I am an American of french ancestry and have traveled in France four times since 2003. There are some differences in the perceptions of our cultures. French people are not rude in general and Americans do not want everything their way or want to rule the world.I found the people in southern France, especially, to be open, friendly, helpful and so willing to share information about their lives, food, families, work, etc. I completely understand why they are fierecely proud of their language, cuisine and way of life. Lets be honest, Paris is a big city like any other including Los Angeles, New York, London, Dublin, Rome, Dallas, and Geneva. I have personally visited these cities and while I enjoyed them, they were not my favorites compared to the rest of their respective countries. The small villages on the west coast of Ireland, the rural towns of eastern California, the small mountain communities of Italy and the "tucked away" perched villages of the Vaucluse and Pyrenees and the river valleys of the Dordogne are where the "real" natives are. All of them interesting and fun human beings. So, basically, when in Rome do as the romans do!
I found myself so addicted to the french air, land, food,historical architecture and people that I feel sick when I must return home! I love living in America but truly feel connected to France in so many ways its like I feel like I am home when I am there! I took french in college and used it when I traveled but many French people spoke English to me. I certainly learn more when I am there and really enjoy that I understand it!
Yes, Pat, I like Johnny Hallyday and his son..rock music..and I love Marion Cotillard..actress "A Good Year" and the "Edith Pilaf" story. Vive La Belle France et a Votre Sante!
Thanks a lot for this message !! I completly agree with what you're writting !!!!! The best places in each country people can visit are not the big and main towns but the smaller ones !! and they are often lovelier than the big ones concerning the way of life, landscapes, people ...........
The valley of the Dordogne is great, isn't it ? (Don't tell it but that's where I live, at the very beginning of the valley, that's just such a lovely and wonderful place !! )
Thanks for sharing your point of view
Best regards from France.
A bientôt ;-)
I am a 46 year old american, born in Detroit, Michigan and now live in Phoenix, Arizona (much warmer here). I have some french ancestors and am about 15% french. You are probably all french (maybe not). I don't know much about france, but I have a friend that recently visited france, england, ireland, italy & the netherlands. He said that the french he tried to speak to were very rude to him, when he ask's someone a question or tries to get into a resturant. He doesn't speak french but does speak spanish. As far as women who spend far to much time and money dressing up there dogs, they are usually rich, spoiled women (like Paris Hilton), most people are not like that. We are often open minded about some things. Depending where you are born, poor, middle class, or upper class (rich). We like to have a good time when not working and sometimes do silly things for entertainment. Some poor people are in the redneck class, where they have no common sense and only believe what they were told growing up. So they appear defective, but are often times happy to be so as they do not know any better.
There are some people who will sue anybody just to get money, not most people. If for instance you crash your car into my car and drive away (hit and run), you did not exchange insurance information so if I don't know who you are, I can't have your insurance company pay for the damage to my car. I will write down your license plate number and get a lawyer to sue you for not paying for the damage to my car. This is not always the case.If you are wronged, you have a right to seek compensation.
I think some people make a living doing this, and they give the rest of us a bad reputation. As for politicians, they get away with almost anything they want and give the bill to the tax payers. We do not like this and are trying to change it, bit takes time. Americans are not happy with the government alot of the time. As far as re-electing a president, this is where classes differ (poor, middle and upper class) Poor people often do what there relatives have always done, as they are not always well educated on politics. Middle class wants to stop paying for everything as poor are under taxed and the rich are under taxed and the middle class pays for most if it. The rich find loop holes in the system to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. It is a flawed system. Then you have ethnicity, those who feel motavated by other issues important to them. It is a lot of different people who often do not see things the same way due to upbringing, class staus, wealth, religion, etc. I know it appears that our government wants to rule the world and if that was true you would all probably be americans by now. I believe they just want everyone to get along and live free of violence. But because people don't agree on everything there is confrontation, like some religions think everybody should do what their religion says and all others are wrong and they don't get along.
It is like being bullied by a big kid at school where if you don't give him your lunch money he will punch you in the face until he gets it or he is defeated. Sad but that is how some people are. Either because they are hungry, greedy, angry or what ever the reason. Sometimes force is necessesary to protect yourself or others. No one is perfect. Don't make the decision that all americans are this or that because that is stupid. Are all french the same. I never had foi gras, so I would be ignorant to say that I do not like it, I like wine and food and I know, you would like somethings we eat. We have heard that the french don't like americans. Do i think all french hate americans because of something they heard about us, no, that would be foolish. I think if you visited here you would find we are more open minded than you have heard. Here we will serve you in our resturants and answers questions without attitude.
But like in france, if you do not know english in america then it is hard for people to understand you, if they do not speak french. Which most people don't, as english is the language here, as french is there. There are people who know how to speak french, spanish and several other languages, but it is there choice to learn what they want in school. I do not speak for all americans but like you, i have heard things that make me wonder what it is like there. If for example you are rude to someone who does not know french, than you are setting an example of how some french act. If I were to go to france I would learn some french in case someone I talked to didn't speak english. Stop the hate over rumors and let's be friends, yes?
Your post was well written and easy to read, you are doing fine in that area. Now what do Americans think about the French??
It would depend on who in the United States you were talking to, many people in the US are very superficial, they like one another based on how much money they make, where they live and what kind of car they drive. They have issues with one another over their religion, their music tastes, their political views, lets just say they can find fault over nearly anything. Many of them think they are always right, even when they are wrong. Chances are when they come to your country and they act improper (which I know they do) they still hold on to the idea that they were in the right. Please dont judge all Americans on those with bad manners.
Also they are really funny about people from other countries coming in and taking a job of any kind, they think in America only Americans should be working. Not a very smart way of thinking but it is all the same. And yes they do like to use attorneys and sue each other sorry to say.
Some Americans who are more educated and interested in other cultures are just dazzled by the French culture. This semester I am taking a class comparing the French to the Americans and some of the things like the relationship with food and wine I thought was interesting, not bad but just different, I think driving there would be a challenge, the relaxed attitude over work was definately different than here, your health system I understand is very good compared to ours, your transit system is by far better than what we have here. Education is treated very different with yours being much more demanding, none of these things in my opinion are bad just different!
So not everyone in the United States thinks they are superior, they are warm and inviting and really interested in knowing how our differences make us who we are. Thanks for asking how the United States see the French..........Wishing you peace and joy.
I am from the USA and have been to Paris france two times now. Each time I have enjoyed myself and have had very good experiences with the french people. I think people in France as well as other parts of western Europe have an advantage from a cultural standpoint. The countries are very close together so each countries people get to have many experiences with other people and cultures. The citizens of the USA do not often interact with other countries and their people so I think when on holiday they find it difficult to interact properly on their first visit. Example: I have had friends repeatedly use American Slang that had absolutely no meaning at all to French or other people. This small example of communication is what challenges Americans initially. I had a friend say he had 20 bucks and our new friend was at a loss as to what Bucks meant. I was laughing but I could see both people slightly frustrated and lost at times as more slang was used. Also I think french people are thinner and dress a bit better which I like(on average and I am generalizing). The french people may think Americas don't care about their appearance at times but in reality most average americans don't even know the difference. I also noticed while in The Netherlands that people spoke multiple languages easily (generally 3 languages)which is a further demonstration of the advantage of the european countries when considering cultural experiences. I love the USA but I also love spending time in France and other european countries. I learn more and more about myself and others each time.
Sadly I dont know any French actors, singers or movies. But if I see an American movie with a French actor I know they are French I just dont remember their name, im sorry. But I respect French culture and hope to visit France next year. Also I might not know about French actors and singers but I do know some French history. ^_^
Yeah, you're right. Most of our politicians are wealthy snobs who, in fact, think they own the world. Most people view them unfavorably, and try to vote for the "lesser of two evils" so to speak. Much of our mainstream media revolves around political discussion. I don't know if they have this in France, but we have these 24-hour news stations that are basically 24-hours of politicians. In my opinion it is really boring. I'd rather watch child's shows. I would suggest that you look up "The Colbert Report" or "The Daily Show with John Stewart." They show a lot of insight into how American people view their politicians.
Although politicians in the United States have a tenancy to "control the world" as you say. However, when I was traveling in Europe, I noticed that there was a lot of our everyday cultural things in other countries. (Like McDonalds, Wal-Mart, Starbucks, etc.) I believe that this is not a cause of America so much as it is the cause of foreign consumers. Other countries have a choice as to whether they wan to make a spectacle of our pop-culture or create their own pop-culture. I, like most people here, appreciate diversity, and would especially appreciate if other nations would cultivate their own unique citizens and create a popular-culture that was entirely different from our own, for diversity's sake.
I hope you are able to retrieve this message. It is has a long time since you originally posted. Just wanted to take a moment to say thank you for beginning this conversation and to those who contributed afterward. I'm an American planning my first trip to France this Spring. The conversation has been interesting and informative.
It's been a very long time since I do not come back on this forum because of different things (a lot of spams for quite a long period of time on this forum, lack of time ....)
But it is a real pleasure to read what you've just written !!! Thanks a lot !!!! I'm going to try to get more involved on this forum if people here are ok with that, and if I have time to write.
I am really happy to notice that my contributions on this forum were usefull !!
Hoping to be rapidly back on this forum and to meet you through the web ;-)
HI, im Taylor and Im 16. I am taking French right now as a class in high school, and i have to say that i love everything about your country. It is beautiful, and the language is so unique. I just love it. It has always been a dream of mine to go to paris, ever since i was younger. Some words in French are hard to say, and comprehend, but it is such a beautiful language. I love France, and their people, they seem so kind. Thank you. bye. :)
Hi, I know this is a little late, but I felt like responding any ways... Many Americans adore France and French culture and many dispise it, as others have posted. But my family hasn't liked the French for a slightly different reason. I'm a decendant from French Hugonauts who fled from religeous persecution. This has lead to mambers of my family to dislike France. Obviously this is an outdated reason to dislike your country (which is wonderful, i might add. The people I've meet from there have all been lovely :) ) and my family have mentioned that they really just like to make fun of you guys and most of the time they aren't serious.
My family is fairly unique... so obviously not every American will be like this. I guess my point is that some people will have personal reasons for disliking any country. Either way, don't be discouraged if certian people of anouther culture are mean/rude/ignorant. It (probably) isn't your fault (unless your breaking some social code).
I personally love French people and culture ;)
the u.s. is sooooooooo boring and we are so violent and i live in Missouri and we are voted #1 most dangerous how is it out there!!!!!!!!!?????????
Well i think the first post is really right but i think french people are just to french.... i think there is alot more crime in france then in USA but that will soon change because of our "leader" well i have to go give my dog a baby bottle with milk. Ciao!
im not gonna spend alot of time answering this. so in a nutshell, ive found it to be true that americans dont like the french because they dont think you like them. to us, you have all seemed very "stuck up" and generally arrogant when we talk in our accents cosidering, french is not our native language. Also, there is alot of bad blood between the countries, dating back to the French Revolution, in which President Jefferson made it clear that he was intent on not interfering with the turmoil in the country.
Also, it is not my intent to seem rude, or disconsiderate, i am just displaying what i have come to see so far concerning interactions between americans and the french.
As for American opinion on the French, I think it's safe to say you get a different one from a different person. I wouldn't really believe that we are a very unified culture, we all are individual people who unfortunately get labeled by mass media and politicians. Common traits we share seem to be passion, goofyness, and slight, humble arrogance (if that makes sense).
A common view of French people are people not much different than us but who dislike us for our media and politicians that we often dislike ourselves. I personally think that they misunderstand us for the stereotype George-Bush-like American who I detest and am embarrassed by. Although we may joke that French people are snobby, skinny hipster types whose women don't shave, I think we all know better that the French are relatively similar to us.
About French culture, I am sorry to say we are ignorant as a whole. French films aren't shown in average cinemas and music isn't widely listened to. However, exceptions (like myself) do exist. I am in a French class at my high school where we enjoy many French films and listen to a great deal of music. I could easily tell you my top ten favorite French films and my favorite French band.
Here in america it is very diffrent we have diffrent beleifs and diffrent outlooks and people like u inspire me most people here tend to mix rasis and i did know back in the day in france rasias was illegal but the food types are diffrent also we do have food that came from france or shall i say was made and shiped over but it is a big change i have also no been over to your country but one day i would love to come so write me back on this and thanks for being a awsome writer and this histrey......... <3 chels <3
Bonjour pat je suis francais et pour te dire tout n'est pas qu'une question de culture même si des prejugés peuvent s'installer , je pense plutot que c'est une question de personnalité avant tout!!! comme par exemple le francais c'est la langue de l'amour ... tout n'est pas blanc et noir la vie est arc en ciel faut si faire ...
From France ; )
J'était en train de chercher des articles du journaux, car je suis dans un cours de Comédie Française,quand j'ai tombe dans cet blog...pour moi c'est très intéressant de voir ta question...Pour commencer je suis une femme mexicaine et espagnole de 22 ans..je suis citoyen du Mexique et de l'Espagne mais une résidente permanent des Etats-Unis.. j'habite en Arizona, et je suis a l'Université pour étudier l'ingénierie et le français. Je suis allée en France plusieurs de fois, quelques fois avec des Américains, et je veut dire que les français, a mon avis, aiment les mexicains plus que les américains aiment aux mexicains. Je sent un type d'hostilité aux Etats-Unis, quand quelques personnes tombent compte sur l'effet que je suis mexicaine. J'ai aussi vu que plusieurs de français ne parlent pas l'anglais..mais ils parlent l'espagnole..a-t-il un raison pour ça?
Pour répondre a ta question, les américains pensent que les français sont arrogants, qu'ils ne se baignent pas, et que vous mangez que du vin et du fromage...mais ils ont aussi quelques personnes qui ont des idées que pendant la Seconde Guerre mondial, les américains ont aide a la France et que les français devraient être reconnaissants (to be thankful) mais on doit penser que les personnes qui pensent ça sont ignorantes. Dans mes voyages, les personnes me dissent que je ne peut être pas mexicaine parce que ma peau est très blanche...c'est parce qu'ils sont ignorantes qu'ils me disent ça..au Mexique, ils existent des personnes de tout saveurs et couleurs :) ..dont si j'étais toi, je ne me dérangerai ..tous les américains n'ont pas les mêmes opinions, ça dépend de sa âge, ses expériences quand ils ont voyage en France, son ignorance, etc...Je suis sure que si tu est venu aux Etats-Unis, t'auras un très bonne expérience..Mon ami Hugues est venu pour visiter et il a eu un très bon expérience..bon chance! Et n'oublie d'aller au Mexique..Nous les mexicains, on aimons les français.. :)
J'ai un question pour toi..j'ai vu plusieurs de films français et j'ai parle avec plusieurs de français..et il pareil que les français sont très ouverts avec ses relations..je veut dire, qu'ils ont beaucoup de liaisons, même s'ils sont maries ou s'ils ont un petit/e ami/e...a ton avis..c'est vrai? Au Mexique, a mon avis, les personnes sont plus fermes que les américains..et c'est moins commun de voir les divorces et je sent que les personnes se respectent plus...Merci!
Perhaps I am a little biased being a French major, but I love French film and music. I recently attended the French Film Festival in Richmond and all of the films that I saw were amazing. I would recommend anyone with a remote interest in the culture of France to go next year. Some of the films I saw included L'age de raison, Le nom des gens, Oceans, and Hitler a Hollywood. (sorry about not adding accent marks) I was also introduced to shorts which I now love, I had never seen them before in the United States. As for music I like Edith Piaf, Kyo, Shy'm, Corneille, Christophe Mae, and such. (I have extremely eclectic tastes in music.)
As for how most American's view the French:
Arrogant, rude, snobbish, disdainful of everything American and just generally in a negative light.
This view of the French is completely unwarranted and mostly stems from people who have traveled to France and have been met with rude behavior when no attempt at speaking French or respecting French customs were made. For the most part Americans are ignorant towards French society and do not really care to learn. I do not know why Americans insist on not learning anything about the country they wish to go to. :(
This next Spring I am planning on going to France (Angers) for my first time and would like to know if anyone has any suggestions/tips.
I'm too impatient to read the millions of comments, and please don't judge me as lazy. I want to say that the diversity in America is sort of incomprehensible situation... sort of like trying to follow African politics. I have traveled outside of the US, and I especially enjoy the Southern parts of the Americas. The political situation in Venezuela, Peru and Bolivia is so very interesting. As far as how American's view the French, I have quite a bit to say about all of that. I was in the Marine Corps and went to the "sandbox" as they say. We also flew the French flag in our Beach house door on North Carolina. We caught a lot of shit for it, but it's not like you guys didn't support us during the revolution against the Limies and back us up in a variety of wars and give us the Statue of Liberty. Seriously awesome, and I would love to share perspectives and let you talk to my extended "family" here in America. Chin chin, as you say : )
I just read your comments on American culture vs French culture and would like to discuss this futher......
I don't know if you ever received answers to your questions about American culture, or if you even check on this question anymore, but I would like to offer you my opinions about our culture. I'm a 27 year old US graduate student, and came across this page because I was looking at websites that explained American culture to foreign visitors.
1. I don't know that it is necessarily easier to find a job in the US in general, but there are certain occupations that have a better job outlook than others. The "Occupational Outlook Handbook" is issued by the US government annually, and provides such information.
2. Some Americans are eccentric! There are reality tv shows devoted to strange people who worship their pets or do other strange things. This is not typical, and most Americans also find that type of behavior odd. As far as suing goes, there did seem to be an outbreak of lawsuits about ten years ago, but they seem to mostly be directed towards the injustice some people feel they have endured at the hands of large corporations. For example, many people sued Phillip Morris, a large tobacco company, because their products caused major health problems. On a day to day basis, Americans are not too concerned about suing someone/being sued by someone.
3. Presidential re election can occur at the end of a president's four-year term, allowing them to serve another four-year term if re elected. At the end of their term if the president is believed to have done a good job, Americans may want them to continue to occupy the office. Choice of president is rarely unanimous in the US, so re election gives members of the other party (Democrat or Republican) a chance to take the office. A president is limited to two terms by the Twenty-Second Amendment of the US Constitution. Limited presidential terms has been a tradition since the beginning of our country, but was enforced after Franklin D Roosevelt served four terms.
4. Many Americans are unsatisfied with the conduct of modern American politicians as well! Many Americans believe that the US government should not be "policing the world," and should focus more on domestic concerns.
5. I can't really speak for all Americans, but most of us do not have a problem with France, its people, or its culture. When President G.W. Bush renounced using the word "French" in the US, most Americans ignored him and mocked this ridiculous request. I think that French culture is as much a part of the US as any other, especially in areas with a history of French occupation like New Orleans, Louisiana.
I don't really know a whole lot about French actors, singers, or films. The first thing that comes to mind is the movie "Amélie," which was a huge success here and I don't think I know anything who hasn't seen it and loved it. The soundtrack was great too! Some other French movies I intend to watch soon include "The Red Balloon," "Microcosmos," "The Girl on the Bridge," "Diabolique," and "The 400 Blows."
I hope that I might have given you answers to some of your questions! I was intrigued by your post, and hope that you have had or will have an opportunity to visit the US yourself!
personally,i think french people are amazing.since i was a young girl(i'm 22)i have been facinated by the french language and culture.i have never been to france, but i do hope to go someday and really see how american and french cultures clash.but other wise, i believe french people arent as bad.
Pat this is going to sound so arrogant!! We do not think about other countries. Nor what other countries think about us. Not what we do here. We love to live, for our families and ourselves.
I for one am 58 years old. My parents came from Italy. Again Never thought about that either. Now am I proud to be Italian "YES" . However I am even more proud to be an 'AMERICAN"!
Just because you are French I will ask you. Have you heard of Jean Rebault and Renee Goulaine de Laudonniere? In 1564 Renee was head of the first European group of men, women and children to settle in Florida. In 1565 followed by Jean. So the French played a part in U.S. history. Other than history, sorry we never think about other countries. Better things to do.
I visited France the past two years. I loved it and thought the French were very nice. I absolutely loved Paris and would like to live there for awhile. I share many of the French opinions about Americans. I think I am more like the French. Recently I worked on a Marathon crew for a French woman runner in the USA. (Badwater-marathon) I met 8 French on the trip. Men and women. We became good friends. I have been e-mailing them and hope to travel to Toulouse where they live.
A few weeks ago I ask some personal questions. I ask my friend Vincent if the women runner was married (she was a doctor 46 years old and I think unmarried) or had been and if she had children, and a few other questions about some members of the team. I said I wasn't trying to be nosey only friendly. I am 71 years old and way beyond the age where I would expect someone to be interested in me except as a friend. Anyway I have not heard from them. Is it possible I offended them with my personal questions?
Do the French resent such casual inquiries?
I honestly tell you that I hadn't known that
some American disliked French people or the other
way around only until recently. I don't even know
what reasons they are that people use or say.
And speaking of France, I'm going next year abroad
for my senior year. Any advice? Of course learn as
much as I can of the language but any else that will
I hope this helped a little and thanks,
what are the differences between american and french dating?
I don't know a lot about French people, but I would like to know more.I would like to know more about many different countries. If it is the same in other countries as it is in the U.S.A, many people are different. I live in Oklahoma, not very far from the U.S. Mexico border. I know a lot of people from South America and have a good friend who moved here from South Korea. I treat all people the same, just like I want them to treat me, with respect. I don't like some of the arrogant and rude remarks some of my fellow countrymen have made, but just like all people around the world, we all have to choose the type of person we want to be.
I don't pay a lot of attention to politcs because too often it seems like we must merely choose a lesser evil. I love to watch international films, but not very many are available except through the internet. I have watched some from Denmark, France, Germany. I find them refreshing and enjoyable. I watch documentaries on other countries whenever I can.
I don't know a lot about French people, just what I've heard from television. While I've met many South Americans and Oriental people, I've never met a French person. I can't go by someone elses opinion, so all that I can say is I hope one day to meet a French person and learn.
I believe in being honest and building people up if they'll let you, not tearing them down. Glory to God.
"As far as possible without surrender, be on good terms with all persons."
Je prends une classe de francais et j'ai lu votre article. C'est bon ! Je veux apprendre le francais and je veux parler francais a bientot. J'espere je peux aller en France a la prochain. Si vous ecrivez en francais il me aide apprendre. Merci
Hi my name is Lauren im 35 and am a native
New Yorker. I liked your blog. From my viewpoint i
Think its hard to classify what is being American because
We are a country of many different cultures and nationalities. I am
From new york so i grew up being around from people
Around the world however maybe someone from the midwest
May not have been exposed to different cultures and
People from around the world.
I certainly know about France!!!!!! I could understand
Your language fluently. When i was 14 i wanted to learn so
I taught myself french. I studied books, watched french news,listened to rfi,watched
Mcm videos and many films.......
I like Elsa a lot also the music of Marc Lavoine and Patrick Bruel
My favorite actresses and actors are Juliette Binoche
Acually Americans(i am American) are not that open minded. most people are still gay-fobic and raceist. if i were someone planng a trip i would chose anywhere else because america is a lie. people do not like it if you have diffenert views on the world. you should trust my opion because i have a different view than most and have lost friends over it. also we are for the most part very unstable with our economy. finding a good job isnt that easy.
I've recently had the opportunity to spend some time Paris. I have to say I loved it. Paris is beautiful and romantic. But loving Paris has made me appreciate being American even more and all the great things about the USA. Paris was lovely, as have all the ciites in Europe that I have spent time in, but there is no place like home (USA). Yes, we have cultural differences and there is nothing wrong with that. I believe that it is important that we embrace those differences. The more I travel, the more I realize that I will never be French or English or German and they will never be Americans and that is okay. We should all enjoy our uniqueness. I love Paris and hope to live there someday but I will never stop, nor want to, being an American. We live are a great nation. So are other nations of the world. God Bless America (and Paris too!.
To me French is a very interesting language. I'm taking a french class now. My opinion of french people is that I am jealous. Americans are crazy. French people are crazy too but crazy in a good way. I admire France like it is a fairy tale. I long to visit there and hope to do so soon. (in the next ten to fifteen years or so)A lot of americans think that, because of american movies that have rude french men and women in them, french people are rude all the time. that can't be so because if french people were always rude how would anything get accomplished? From the story above, I know for sure that french people aren't rude. You are very polite and curious. I'm curious too you see. Also I am american and I am crazy. Americans act crazy all the time. you can not go to a grocery store and not hear someone talking like a lunatic somewhere. anyway thank you and bonjour or bonne nuit France.
To be honest, we Americans don't all treat dogs like people. We make fun of people that do. I also do not know of any famous French actors or musicians. A French stereotype from an Americain point of veiw is usually that you are snobby, always wear berrets and striped shirts, that you don't know what hamburgers are, and that you have funny accents. I honestly have never met a French person, so I cannot judge.
How is french music different from the US music
I would love to share what we think! I am half French.
Hi Pat, I think that like other cultures, Americans are just as interested in knowing them as they are about us Americans. When you refer to Americans, you are reffering to "general" knowledge. Every part of America, whether it be Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta, Florida, or other states they each have their unique ways of who they are as persons or as a culture. Soome Americans would say that New Yorkers are blunt and Californians are self-centered. It just depends where you've visited and what your personal experiences were of that people and its people. It's very different for each person because it's how you perceive your environment that makes the difference. I'm from California and I think that we are generally laid back people who likes to mind their own business and where I lived in that part of the state, we are mindful of what we eat because we like to stay thin. When I moved to Georgia, people here are much more approachable but there is also the obvious "indirect" racism as the "South" is widely known for that. Compared to Californians, Georgians are nosey, but they're also much nicer. SO much to learn about Americans: the majority are white people, followed by Hispanics/latinos, then Asians, then Blacks, and then the rest.In order to learn about Americans, you have to research each state and their different cultures.
I'm not American but I have been studying English for many years.En fait j'ai un très bon niveau en français, so si vous êtes intéressez a' améliorer votre niveau en Engluais faites-moi connaitre et partagera nos connaissances.
This forum is cool. I was wondering about the French people. I am born/raised American for many generations. I am not a history buff, or political. I am looking for love, real, true, love. Whether that last a month or 10 years, I want to experience it. I have come to the conclusion that France is where I will find this. One thing that stands out to me about the French is that they love... that when they love, it is with the whole heart. It does not have to turn into marriage, it is just LOVE. When I think of the French people, LOVE is what I think of!!
Hello, I would really like to know what France and United States have in common. Thanks!
Hello, I'm Lynnsey. I live in Upstate New York. (East Coast, U.S.A.) You probably got all your answers, because this is an extremely old post, but I'll respond anyway. I'm doing a culture report on Franc and the United States. Your post really helped me, by the way, thank you! Here are some answers to your questions thoughl. 1) What do we think of French people? Well, i personally adore the French culture. I plan on traveling there this summer, but I have never been before. I can say that some people think the French are snobby or stuck up. I believe that it is only because you do not tolerate the ingnorance that we Americans show. 2) What French shows, music, movies do we know about? I do not know of any French shows, songs or movies! Mostly we just have American or British tv.
Hope I gave you good answers!
I am american and I love French... I can not wait until I am older and go to France I really want to learn how to speak it fluently. And just want to know everything.
I am learning French and until now I thought that some French people could be very nice and others were snobs (no offense). My friend who is from Canada and who speaks French told me that his cousins who lived in France thought Americans were overall uncultured and basically stupid. There are some great differences and similarities between the French and American culture and some might prefer one over the other, and that's ok. I am an American and I don't think it's fair that some French people think its ok to prosecute Americans. Americans helped the French during the holocaust and World War II. The French also helped the Americans during the American Revolution so there should be no bad blood between us. Maybe thats the way it's supposed to be.
Who really knows.
I know that your post is old, however I felt the need to write you. I am actually studying the french language in hopes of going to Paris in the summer. I am striving to understand the french culture; from what I am reading I love it. I wanted to write this for people trying to understand the american culture. I am 28 and from a liberal family so I don't see nudity as sexual or wrong. Many american do, this is usually because of christian beliefs in the culture. This is changing a lot since the younger generation do not believe in religion. I love how France does not care about religion, sexual orientation, and personal affairs of your government leaders. America seems to care a lot, which again is changing as we move toward equality. In america, women smile in the stores at men and women who they happen to catch eye contact with. It is just to be nice to show them," I don't know you but have a good day". If you catch eye contact with a person and don't smile people just think your rude or snobby. This is the culture differences. People in America that don't know your culture think your snobby because you don't smile. American girls may be labeled whores because they smile at everybody. It's just a huge misunderstanding with the cultures.
In general most Americans watch their own movies, music, and sports. A small group like myself watch foreign film or listen to their music.Foreign films are not promoted in the United States, many people have to seek them out.
Women in America are taught to play stupid for a man to like them, and look pretty. Not so much now, but it is still in the culture.Women that are intelligent, assertive and don't wear make up all the time are considered undesirable by men. American women try to cover up imperfections and are self conscious of their bodies. We are taught to have perfect breast, butts, and to get plastic surgery.This is why we have the most eating disorders in our country. This again is changing. Women are now taught that it is ok to be overweight. In the United states curvy women are desirable, because they have large breast. We are taught it is better to be heavier than too skinny.
Dating is what americans do. If a guy sees a girl on the street he will smile at hear and start talking to her. He will ask her out for coffee or dinner. The guy usually gets a kiss on the lips at the end of the date; if they end up liking each other. The guy will not call the girl for at least 3 days, because he doesn't want to look desperate. If a guy called me the next day after the date, I would die of shock. Then I would worry about him being liking me too much. It shouldn't be that way, but this is the culture. Many american women make jokes about american men because they take too long to call.
The girl and guy can date other people, until they both decide they want to be in a relationship together. I heard the French don't even have a word for dating, and the guy usually calls a lot. Americans are really into labeling things. I don't know why, I wish it would stop too.
Men in America have to look and act tough or they are not considered a real man. This again is slowly changing as women now like men that are sensitive,sweet, and intelligent. It comes down to the women preference. My cousin and her friends like rough neck types, and guys that think it's awesome to talk down to a women and carry a gun. It's primitive and disgusting in my opinion. My parents would disown me if I dated a republican or a man that carried a gun. I am a social liberal, which is close to your government policies in France. Men in France are like catnip for liberal women.
Americans are carefree and taught to be unique and take a joke. This may be why we treat our dogs like people. We like to talk like babies to our animals it makes us feel connected to them;It can be lonely in the world. We are like the children compared to other countries. We like to have fun and see no reason to act cranky and serious all the time. We love to talk and share personal information about ourselves very early in friendships. We say we are sorry when it's our fault. If we do something embarrassing we laugh at ourselves, anybody not laughing needs to get a sense of humor.We might need to take advice from other countries and grow up a little bit and not giggle when we see a naked body. Some countries need to stop acting like grouchy old people and laugh at themselves. I would love you to write back to me to clear up some things about France.
French people don't and never give tips compared to the americans, they are selfish....
i am researching the differences between american and french culture- with special regard to cuisine. i found your article but i cannot view any of the posts in reply! HELP!!!??
I have seen that you (?) were interested in cultural differences between France and USA, and I'd like to answer you but the subject is rather vast, and it would be great if you could precise a little your question (or I will write too much about the subject :) and it might be too boring )
Another thing, that is quite important : are you french, american or english ?
Since I am french I could easily talk about french cuisine and give you a french point of view, but if you are french it won't interest you that much to have such a french point of view since you could have the same.
I would be happy to talk about this subject, since some differences are quite clear and others are not so obvious.
I am an American girl in the USA. I will tell you a little of what i know.` Well from the people I know, if you say you're french people will say wow! really! and they probably want to know about you and ask you tell them something in french. Me, I am fascinated with french and France and french people so I really want to about french people. I don't think anyone here minds when the products have french writing in them. I actually try to understand it and read it.I don't think people really talk much about french since there isn't alot of french people here. But highschools and higher do have french classes. About Americans treating their dogs like babies is kid of true but not everyone is like that. It depends on the person. i'm curious, could you tell me more about what else french people think is crazy of us. Well that's all i know.
When reading your answer I noticed that where you live people do not talk that much about french people, and it is surprising to notice that in France everybody seems to have an opinion about american citizens, even if there are not a lot of american people in the town and area where I live. But it seems to me that french people are constantly under the influence of the american culture since there are a lot of american films and series on TV, there are also Mcdonalds "restaurants" and US music on radio.... and this is a good way for french people to appreciate the american culture, but as we are sometimes over-flooded with all these american products, some people comes to think that the USA are a threat for the french culture. (that is sometimes a reason why some people have a bad opinion of the USA, since french people are generally really attached to their culture and do not really like when another culture pretends to impose some of its "aspects".)
Concerning what french people think is crazy of american people, I may add all the stupids world records that some people are ready to do just to be "famous" (I do not say that some french people do not do such things, but the USA seem to be the place which has the world record :) of people ready to do stupid things just for fame !)
In addition to this, american people seems to be eccentric person, since we have examples of people disguised in hotdogs just to make advertising, or we have recently seen a man in underwear playing the guitar in the streets of New-York or Los Angeles (I do not remember well) to make money and this would not be possible in France since this man would be arrested for indecent behaviour.
American people are thought to be much more eccentric than french people, meaning that they are ready to do anything in order to be seen, to attract attention while french people are educated in a different way, since french kids often hear : "tiens-toi correctement !" = "behave correctly" or "ne te fais pas remarquer" = "Do not attract attention on you !"
I have to stop here for today, since I no longer have time to write, and you are maybe fed-up with readig me and my Frenglish !!
So I stop here and wait for replies, and I will maybe carry-on later on if you are not too bored with my replies!!
Thanks a lot if you have succeeded in reading till the end :)
To finish, I just wanted to say that when I talk about french or amrican people I just refer to some groups of people, and not to all american or to all french people since I am well aware that everybody do not have the same opinion concerning the same subject, and do not thing that I express or only express my opinion too, it is just a very general description of some thought, idea and opinions.
Here it is truly the END
Hi! It's Karen again.
I like reading about what you have to say.I wonder why so much of the world is influenced by American culture.I just don't understand why people in france would blame the USA. Isn't it the government or whoever is in charge of allowing american things in France responsible?
The hot dog thing is true, but i guess growing up here with all the customs seems normal and it doesn't seem bad to us. I think if i saw a man in a hotdog suit I would just think its funny. Then the man in the underwear, that's just innapropriate.
I guess that many people here do want attention or fame, but doesn't every country have people like that?
Well nice talking to you,
Concerning the fact that a lot of countries are influenced by american culture, I think that the main reason why this culture is present all over the world is just a matter of business and money ! Indeed, the USA are the most powerfull country in the world, and it is seen as a chance if an american company is interested in your country to settle new firms and thus encrease the benefits your country can get from these new firms. This is why a lot of governments cannot (or dare not) say(ing) "no" to the USA government (and to all the products they want to sell : Mcdonalds, TV film....) Indded, just take for example what happened with France concerning the war in Irak, when the french government said it was against this war, the USA just kept on reminding us (french people)that they helped us during world war II. It is true that this help was necessary and welcomed (and we still thank americans for this help :) ) but is it a sufficient reason for us to always agree with the USA government ? And it appeared that the USA did not accept and understand this refusal to have the same point of view, and as a result they started making fun of France through some TV show, they stopped importing some french products.... this is the solution they found to make France understand that it did not behave correctly (with having a different point of view : who would accept that the difference of point of view is a kind of threat ?)So, the US government took economic sanctions against France. This is why I think that the fact that the american culture is spreading all over the world is just a matter of economic interests (even if I agree that a lot of people like what the US culture gives them ) I think that it is impossible for a country which wants to have some importance at an international point of view, to forbid this pieces of the US culture. Thus I think that money and business ( and business strategies) are the main reasons why the US culture spread all over the world, since the USA are the "1st economic power" (I don't know if it is correctly written in English ?! sorry !) of the world, and it can be resumed that way, with imaginnig the US government saying to a country wishing to develop "If you want to develop accept our goods and trade contracts, and we will help you. If you do not accept you will never succeed in developping". I do not think that this rapid sum-up is far from reality. And I think that the USA want its culture to develop all around the world to make the biggest amount of benefits it is possible to make, and the other countries which, maybe, do not have this capacity just have to accept this situation which nevertheless has its limits.
Here is my point of view about the reasons why the american culture influences a lot of countries in the world. There are certainly other reasons than economic one (it is obvious) but I cannot develop all of them (I would need several pages ! :) ) but I think that it is the main one. This is just my point of view of french man living out of the USA = an eye seeing the USA from abroad...maybe in a wrong way (not so sure it is the wrong way..)but just tell me what you think about this, since it is a great pleasure to talk to you !!!!!
have a nice day/evening/night.....