As a reader of Comme une Française, you are interested in France and its locals. You are willing to integrate. This is awesome. I’m so proud of you.
So, in order to live “Comme une Française”, please, stop asking the questions below. Or I will come and slap you, as a reminder of the article.
Why? Just accept the facts and move on. Don’t try to change a whole country at once. Others have tried.
This might be a bit harsh to read. But stopping to ask this will show that you really are absorbing the culture.
Is it true that French people don’t wash?
This is a funny one. As a reader of Comme une Française, I doubt that you can ask yourself this. However, let’s answer.
No, it’s not. We wash everyday. We also use deodorant, perfume and we shave. Louis XIV did not wash, he’s been dead for 300 years. American GIs found French people did not : they had no food, no water, no soap. WWII ended 70 years ago.
If there were less taxes, maybe people would have more money (to start businesses/to feed their children/to buy stuff…)?
The French system is about helping each other. Like a 60 million people community. The tax money is for building roads, organizing free events, paying the police, educating our children for free, going to the hospital without selling your house… It also comes back to you when you are unemployed, handicaped, very poor… Maybe the money could be used more efficiently, but the tax level is not going to lower.
If unemployed people did not have help from the government, they would be more motivated to find jobs?
What would I have to pay for lazy people?
For us, it’s the whole society’s responsibility to take care of the ones in difficulty. And being in sh*t can happen to anyone of us: accident, economical crisis, sickness… Being unemployed is hard enough for their self-esteem and future, we don’t want them to starve as well.
The client is king. How can I not find any good customer service in France?
Maybe one day, we’ll reach the anglo-saxon level of customer service. Fingers crossed. But keep in mind that in France, the spirit is not “the client is king”. It is more a “the client enjoys what is offered”. So, in a restaurant, you pay to enjoy the meal proposed, to have a good time. It wouldn’t come to our mind to ask for anything that would not be on the menu. It’s not even about the money, it something that would not come to a French mind. And asking for it would be highly disrespectful.
However, if you have a complaint to make, about after sales service in particular, resist! There are ways to make them listen.
Can I have a doggy bag?
No. Going to the restaurant is not about “buying food”. I know it’s your right to do it but don’t.
It’s 4 PM, what about lunch?
No. Food is served between 11h30 and 14h. And between 19h and 22h. Not before, not after. This is our respect for food. And the cooks.
If shops were open on Sunday and later at night, businesses would make more money?
We respect the time the business owner needs to spend with his family. And to rest. Family is more important than money.
And what if I need to buy milk at 10 PM?
You wait until tomorrow. Next time, think ahead and buy it earlier.
Should I wear this tracksuit? Should I wear these good old trainers to visit Paris? Should I keep this old tee-shirt?
Can I speak to French people even if I only know 3 words of French?
Yes. We highly value foreigners trying to learn our language.
Should I take French classes?
Amusez-vous bien !