10 Things you should never say to a French person

OHMYGOSSIP — Ah, France. The land of lazy workers, surrender and adulterers. Come again? Say that stuff to a French person’s face and chances are you’ve made them really angry. Here we’ve listed some of the worst things you can say to a French man or woman, The Local mediates.

1. “All French men are unfaithful.” Sure, President François Hollande and fallen IMF head Dominique Strauss-Khan are cheaters and a recent study said half of Frenchmen step out on their partners. But tonnes of Anglos cheat too and then get divorced. We on the other hand stay together because we understand it’s a reality of life. So ‘laissez-nous tranquille’ (Leave us alone).

2. “The French are kind of lazy aren’t they?”
The American chief executive of Titan International Maurice Taylor infamously said of the French: “They get one hour for breaks and lunch, talk for three and work for three”. But this criticism is unfounded. True, we have a 35-hour week and are blessed with long vacations but we are also very productive with our time. According to data from the OECD, France’s productivity is in fact above Germany’s and close to that of the US. So there.

3. “Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir?” Gramatically it’s correct, so that’s good. But speaking proper French is not going to save you from getting slapped for using the one offensive chat-up line most Anglos know. It does after all mean ‘Do you want to sleep with me.’ Better try ‘Comment tu t’appelle’ (What’s your name?)

4. “Why won’t you just answer me in English?”
How about we make a deal. You make do with the English that we are kind enough to speak with you (imagine me getting angry if no one understood French in London) and we’ll let you stay in our gorgeous country, eat our incredible food and visit our world-class cultural sites. Vous comprenez?

5. “Why don’t French women shave?”
Because the ladies here wax. We challenge you to go to any of our beaches and find a single strand of unsightly hair on a French woman’s body. Imagine what you’d find on the shore in Brighton or, gulp, New Jersey.

6. “You guys eat such weird stuff. Frog legs, snails, yuck!”
Frog’s legs and snails aren’t exactly the staple diet of the average Frenchman and you’d have your work cut out for you to find someone who has actually tried them. Oh, and while we’re on the subject of food: we eat normal moderate amounts of garlic.

7. “Why do you hate Americans?” It’s a belief that has kept many an American from heading to France. The truth is the French might get upset about American politics or policies, but in general are very interested in the US. The feeling must be mutual because Americans make up the single largest group of Paris’s whopping 30 million tourists per year.

8. “You’d be speaking German if it wasn’t for us.”
Perhaps and we are forever grateful for your help. But don’t forget, our American friends, that we bailed you out during the American Revolution. So maybe we’re even now? Besides, we may have surrendered to the Germans, but we’d never give up our language.

9. “Did you know that the British invented Champagne?”
Yes, a British cider maker from Gloucester, England, by the name of Christopher Merrett may have been the first person to come up with the idea, but we made the drink what it is today. You see anyone rushing to buy British Champagne?

10. “I love Tintin!”: So the Tintin books may have been your first introduction to the French language but that doesn’t mean that they have anything to do with us French. If you want to stay in our good books then best keep your love of the tufty-haired Belgian adventurer to yourself.

Look also:
10 Things you should never say to a Spaniard

OHMYGOSSIP — Living in a foreign country is a minefield, and it’s easy to fall back on easy stereotypes about Spain. Whether it’s comments about lazy work habits, UK outposts (think Gibraltar!) or macho men, there are plenty of things it’s better to leave unsaid on the south side of the Pyrenees. So if you want to hold onto your Spanish friends then check out this list of ten things you should never say to a Spaniard.


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