Stereotype-o-scope: the arrogant French

‘The English can’t cook and get hopelessly drunk on holiday, Italians always try to steal your girlfriend, and Americans are fat and arrogant.’ Are these stereotypes really true? And what about the French? Three French students about their own stereotypes.


Clément Capoen,  International Business

Maud Canet, Communication

Aude Le Pivain, Economy and Business


The French are arrogant

Clément acknowledges the arrogance that is often associated with his home country. ‘People expect us to be arrogant due to our rich culture,’ claims Clément. ‘I’m not, so I hope that I’ve shown other nationalities that not all French are like that.’

Maud recognizes there is some truth behind the stereotype and, as a Parisian herself, says: ‘Parisians are often arrogant, except me, of course! The French like to stick together, too, probably because we are not great at speaking English and find it easier to converse with other French people.’

Aude was also aware of the stereotype: ‘People think that we believe we are superior to other nationalities, but I think this may be because tourists feel unwanted, as most French don’t want to speak English. We’re really not arrogant, though!’

VERDICT: FALSE (except for most Parisians!)


The French are unfriendly

Aude, who is from Paris, replies: ‘People say that we appear rude and unfriendly.’ Like Clément, Aude feels this is down to the fact that the French ‘don’t like, want or know how to speak English adequately. But French people who travel outside France, like me, are friendly, open-minded and speak English well!’

Clément agrees with Aude, saying: ‘The majority of French people don’t know how to speak English well and make no effort to be open-minded. In some cases that is true, but not for most of us and certainly not for me!’

Maud believes that this stereotype is true in some cases, but not others: ‘We often stay with people similar to us, probably because we are not good at English, so it is easier for us!’



The French love cheese and wine

Aude acknowledges that the French are universally renowned for their ‘love of cheese and wine’ from an early age, and yes, they boast superb cooking skills that are enjoyed across the globe.

Clément agrees, claiming that French people’s love for cheese and wine only adds to France’s ‘rich culture’.

Unlike Aude and Clément, Maud ‘hates cheese’, but admits that this particular stereotype is accurate in most cases.



The French are smelly and unshaven

When Aude arrived in Groningen, she had never heard of the unshaven and unclean French stereotype: ‘I laughed when I heard that because it’s ridiculous – of course we shower and shave!’

Maud agrees: ‘I had no idea about this stereotype – it is absolutely not true. We take at least one shower a day!’

Clément has heard of the stereotype before, though: ‘This is not my first trip abroad, so, in general, I know about various cultures. I try to be open-minded about everything, but this is certainly not true!’