Archives for category: american culture

If money is recognized valuable in America, the subject is totally taboo in France or rarely evocative.



An American person is very attracted at the idea of earning money and he admires people who has become successful and wealthy because of their progression in business.

On the opposite,making money for French people is not their first priority in their job.Most of them would prefer a reduction of their incomes in order to :

  • being less stressful
  • supporting better the competition
  • getting a healthier life
  • Dedicating more time to their family and or hobbies.

Furthermore, a French person usually doesn’t choose his job in function of the wage but in function of his interest.

An another surprising fact : nobody in France talks about his success or salary.

Why Money Is Such A Taboo Subject?

Well that’s because in France, being wealthy is badly seen by others even though you may have earn your success. Cultural and Historical events that happened in France may explain this particular behavior.

Until 1789 in France, only 3% of the population, the nobles, were wealthy. Nobelty was a right transmitted at birth for generations. They had privileges such not working to get money since the 97% of peasants were working for them.

French people also think that one who has a comfortable situation probably earn it in a suspicious way or that it is unfair for other people. For example: a specific question was asked at the department of economy of the Bourgogne University in France

“What do you do ?”

“ You are a small stockbroker and you have a very modest way of live. Your neighbors are in the same case. However, one of them start to plant potatoes and 6 months later, he is driving a luxury car, re-building his house and building a swimming pool.”

Naturally we are attending the answer “I plant potatoes too.

But the answer was : “I BAWL ! Because it is always the same : there are people who get everything while others get nothing!“

In United States, Business Success Is More Welcome.

French people feel rarely inferior to someone wealthier and have a tendency to mark anti-economic borders, criticizing those who brag about their economic success, on the opposite of American where the “level of comfort” is a mark of success envied and admired.

Finally the way of using money differs:

While French people economize every time they can, in the case they would have an economic problem or if they want to buy something new, most Americans would make credits over credits and spend their money as fast as they have it and then pay back the banks later.


Studies about french and american food consommationA few facts about the ways of eating in France and America:

First fact:

Most American prefer to eat small snacks all day long, in contrast, french people prefer to eat a few meals per day at very precise hours.They generally have breakfast generally at 7:00am,  lunch time most of the time at 12:00pm and finally dinner at 9pm.

However, there is a huger difference:

Go to some random school in Paris and then in to New York during lunch time, one thing that you will immediately notice is the food students are eating.


Photography by JohnSeb/flirckr.com

on the american side, you will have  fries, pizzas, burgers, vegetables with tons of sausage, sodas and hormones everywhere.

Photography by diekatrin/flirckra.comon the french side: meat or chicken, vegetables, rice /pastas and water.

Of course, it isn’t like that everywhere but it represents pretty well the difference between both cultures when it comes to food.

Furthermore :

Not only French people are more careful on the food they absorb, but they also have a tendency for eating small and nutritious portions, in contrast to America where everything is either microscopic or gigantic. Of course that last statement can be both positive and negative.

Finally:

A meal in France can last forever, it generally last between 30 min to 4 hours ! In the United State, except during family meals , they eat when they are hungry and as fast as possible for not wasting time.  After all, “Time is money. In France, family or workers take the meal as a opportunity to take a break and speaking with others.

For example, for a frenchie, thanksgiving would be an ordinary day.

France is a place surrounded by smoking teenagers. According to the studies of l’INSEE, (a french statistic site), 25% of the Frenchies aged between 15 and 18 years old are smokers, in contrast, only 16,7% of young adults smoke in america in 2006.

The numbers may varied a little, but the consequences are still the same : so why french people tend to smoke much more than american?

If the French law allows the consummation of cigarets at 16 years old, instead of most american states where a person can legally smoke in average at 21 years old, it seems to not be the only reason. Furthermore, some tobacco’s sellers in France prefer to sell their tobacco to their customers without paying attention to their age, something that wont happen often in America.

Finally the main and the most surprising reason was given by american teenagers themselves :
Most of them prefer to smoke drugs, such as weed, simply because” cigarets are really bad for your health and you can get cancer easily, smoking them make you look stupid and it is really pointless.” apparently from their point of view “weed have minor impact on you compare to cigarets, as long as you are not a huge weed;s addict of course”.

Photography by VincentBernier/ Flickr.com

Step 2

French, Cigarets Addicts?

Drugs, 1st American Smoking Choice?

Many stereotypes among the American are about the Frenchies being pro-smokeurs, and especially cigarets lovers. In addition, french people mostly think that American people hate cigarets, however there are huge drugs’ consumers.

The poll is a way to determine which kind of smoke is prefered among the public in order to see if the results will confirm those statements or not.

However I will give a much more complete explanation later.

It is mostly impossible to imagine that the rules of saying hi of your host country may be diffrent than the one from your country .

This video is a good summary of the huge difference among the European style -mostly french style- and the American style. Now you are prepared to the unexpected and become a expert of both American and french etiquette.

Enjoy the video !


Hug Or Bise ?

You are in a different country, then the first thing you need to ask yourself is : do people from foreign countries say hi the same way I do? I agree, it is not the first thing that will came to your mind, which is why people are always surprised when they discover that telling hi to other people differs from a country to an another.

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Don’t even try to hug If you are in France ! French people are a little more reserved when it comes to friendship, so your hug may appear like a excess of affection and sometimes that may scare some a little . However French people do hug, but only if they think they know enough the other person.

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In America, you will notice very quickly that here, kissing on both cheeks is something you want to avoid. In France, girls and guys will do the “Bise” (kissing on both cheeks), everytime they see each other, but American would find it weird, so hopefully you haven’t try that yet.

After a few embarassing moments, I always take a moment to think what would the best proper way to say hi when I am in a foreign country : as a result, people stopped viewing me as a freak at least the first two minuts =)

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Just try the experience and you will be certain to see some funny reactions.

Photography by Kalandrakas/ flickr.com

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Have you ever live, visit or think about going to a foreign country?

Then this blog may be useful for you:

For example:

If you are a french person going to the United State or an American going to France

then there are probably 15 main things you should know in order to survive the cultural shock =)

Photography by quinn.anya/flickr.com

If unlike me, you try to not attire people’s attention on you when you are in a different country, then you should really read the few choking – but proven – facts that I am going to give you .

This blog has been created in order to serve as a reference for people like me – who are living or visiting foreign countries or even for people who may be interested into knowing that it is not always easy to be in an another country without feeling sometimes like an outsider because of the cultural differences.

You always notice when someone’s behavior is not quite similar than someone’s behavior from your native country , which is why I will give you the main typical situations where you may want to act like people from your host country if you want to seem like a “normal” person.

I hope you will enjoy your lecture, and please feel free to leave a comment! Your personal opinion is more than welcome

Photography by Heizfrosch/dreamstime