Are you really ready to be "French"?

I haven't been here a long time, but a certain tone comes out with almost every post.

Do you not like the French? Are you having problems integrating with French culture? (Which is to say, are you unhappy with the way the French deal with you on a daily basis?) Like many British and American citizens, you have, perhaps, come to France for financial or "quality of life" reasons without really believing in the political or cultural environment.

If you are still very British/American in your attitudes and convictions, I can see why the French aren't ready to accept you in their community. I'm an ex-American and I'm ready to reject you too, if you are still anchored in your original culture. I don not waste my time frequenting anglophones in France; That is an absurd idea. I came to France to have French friends and to leave all the silly anglos behind.

If this group exists to help willing Anglophones "survive" or adapt to the life in France, I'm ready to help, but if it's just another of the many groups of expat Anglophones banding together to resist French culture and hold onto their own questionable cultures while living in France, I'm out of here.

I don't mean to offend anyone, but I don't want to be dishonest. I love my life in France and I hated all of my 37 years of life in the USA... and if I had to return, I would hate it even more. I agree with the international opinion, "I love America, it's a shame there are so many Americans there."

Take this as you will.


Very well put, John. Thank you.

Hi, Ive been living in France for 17 years , since I was 25(now 42) i have my own buisness(glassblower), employ 3 people, have a french daughter(live on my own though) , have many french friends, and have practically forgot my mothertongue,i enjoy to the full my life here , and dont know where i4d rather be, but... there is still that nagging feeling, deep down that im not really at home.

To All really,

I wish I had the time to read all of these posts, it's all so interesting. I think there is enough material here to create an ebook, 'Survivors Guide' and the borrowed from W.Bush's 'The French don't even have a word for Entrepreneur' would make a terrific title.

it's a love-hate relationship, but those of us with a sense of tolerance seem to do fine. It took me a long wile (especially with my French other half) to just let things drop, and say "cultural difference"..... in the beginning, i would analyse everything, and chase things into argu,ents, these days I just say "we grew up differently, that's all there is to it".

The hardest bit is whenh french people take offence to things we see as being funny, but apart from that, they're a great bunch once you get close to them. Apero time has never felt cosier

I'm new in France but am fully of the opinion that if you choose to live somewhere then you should embrace all that comes with it! "When in Rome" and all that!

I'm taking French lessons so I can make real French friends but am still baffled by French etiquette in many cases! Everywhere has it's pros and cons but I wouldn't go back to England!

I know that some French reckon to have a direct line to God ( It's a culture thing ) but being able to pick their own noses? Wish I had been given that option...

I've replied to this before and just did again on FB Nothing wrong with criticism..the French are world class masters of the art.If you have ever lived anywhere outside your home country you have had to learn new ways and cultures you do not have to espouse every aspect to fit in and enjoy yourself.I have lived in the US,Asia the middle east and europe..there are wonderful things and people to discover everywhere.You Carson seem to belittle your "silly anglo" friends and profess a profound dislike for the states..I don't really think you like it here as much as you say ...maybe you like it so much because you aren't really fully integrated in your new found paradise (I am a franco-american and have been here for years and years etc.)Good luck and may you find some happiness somewhere.

Great post Corson, we've been hear now for nearly 10 years, and used the house as a holiday home for 10 years before that. I think the only french culture I dont agree with is hunting, but then I didnt agree with it in the uk, so cant see a problelm there. Dont go out and try and sabotage it or anything, just voted against it when it came up. My french neighbours are wonderfully kind people, who looked after our house when we werent here full time, who, when my husband was taken ill during one of the holidays looked after our (english) grandchildren so I could go and be with him, I have lost count of the number of times that they have been good to us. I love France, and so does my husband,

I'm with Andrew on this one. It depends on your situation. I work 8 to 10 hour days 5 days a week and am ready for some English banter at the end of the day after all the crap I've taken about being a "rosbif", and believe me it happens on a daily basis.

I consider myself fully integrated, French wife, French kids (although they wouldn't admit it), job, house, but it never crossed my mind to abandon my origins.

I love both England and France and it's a shame that we always have to defend one or the other.

I find the phrase "I'm ready to reject you too" a little pompous. Who asked you to accept us in the first place?

You took the words out of my mouth, Christa.

"For me [...] " my thoughts exactly, thank you Amy. I should add that I am British of Indian origin.

Corson defends the French because he has had a good time here. I haven't so I do have a negative view of them. I am trying to get over it through a religious point of view.

Thank you for your wishes.


as someone preparing a move to france next year i agree with Andrew and go on record to say that this forum has been very helpful in sharing individuals points of view and experiences in France. It's comforting and rather en-powering to know that there is a network of people who i can communicate with and are kind and giving enough to take the time to post has made me personally less fearful of coming to France on my own.

I consider myself a citizen of the universe personally and very excited at coming and living in France for I love all people, taking each one as i find them and truly believe if you show kindness, co-operation, compassion, tolerance (etc etc) it will be shown back to you. Glad you are happy in France Corson, you clearly made a great decision. My son left the UK to go to America on a soccer scholarship and loves it - and so do we, for it has shaped him into a very focussed, driven young man, counter balanced with his English playfulness and humour - of course. blessings to you all........

Except for the turkey...

I Am An American..I have lived in Montreal, Paris, Geneva and a couple of other French speaking countries...I enjoyed each location..but Paris the most..Married a Frenchman, but still I am an American.

I studied French at university and have just celebrated my first year in France - I have a French boyfriend, many French friends, speak French all day, every day and love living here yet I will never pretend to be French, nor would I ever want to. I am a Welsh girl, born and bred. I will never reject my culture or heritage, it’s what’s made me who I am today. I am proud of where I come from and I think it’s a real shame that you’re not. My place of work is probably the most international in France and I now have friends from all over the world thanks to my time there. Had I said at the beginning that I would only deem to have francofriends then I would have missed out on meeting a great deal of highly interesting people. What a silly attitude to have in this day and age. Similarly, if you’ve never been to the UK then I hope that you were referring to questionable American cultures, rather than ours.

Quite frankly, I couldn’t give a toss if you’re ready to reject me, but firstly I would have to give you a chance, and after your first impression here I’m not sure I would want to.

so what are you doing on this link then!

Emily, I noticed a few times you mentioned living in Brittany and a certain attitude toward Brits. I have no opinion on this, but wanted to mention that I am reading a book about the history of Brittany, Normandy, France in general, and Britain: "1000 Years of Annoying the French" by Stephen Clarke. It's a humorous approach to the history of the British and French. I'm sure you are much more well-versed on the history of both countries than I am; but the book has helped me understand the historical relationships of these people. As much as we wish otherwise, history often has a great influence on how people interact and perceive one another.

I'm only reading it because I wanted to learn some more French history without having to pick up a dry text. I live in the South of France where I understand the people are very different from your area; again, history has played its role. I'm American, so again, I have no opinion on this relationship; but to address other comments on this site, I have found the French to be very friendly toward me. And just like in the States, I've met a few people I don't care for very much. This is interesting to me because in the States the general feeling seems to be that the French don't like Americans. I haven't found this to be true at all.

Like you I married a Frenchman, and I say this because I think everyone's situation places them in different circumstances--good or bad or both. Recently I made a comment to an American colleague about my husband not telling me it was a holiday in France (I know, I should have learned that myself), and my colleague said, "I understand holidays and husbands." I said jokingly that French husbands are not much different than American husbands. The point is that I believe people are the same no matter where you live. There are good and not so good. Here in France I search for the good ones to be my friends; just like I did in the States.

It appears to me from comments I've read on this site that the longer you live in France (and I would say this is true in any country), the easier gets for relationships and integration in general. Those who have lived here a long time seems to have an easier time with some of these issues. This leads me to the logical conclusion that there is a transition time in moving here. I admit it's been a difficult transition for me, and yet I am happy to be living in France. I believe that as time goes by, it will get easier.

Personally, I appreciate that you've been candid about your experiences here, as others have. It helps me feel not so alone in my personal situation. I've also found that the so-called "moaning" by some elicits comments from others that comes in the form of some very valuable information. My take is that "moaning" is really just a way to ask for advice. Thank you to all who have so willingly and openly offered such advice. It has been helpful to me to read comments here. Sometimes it's practical advice; at other times, as Emily has said, it simply helps me understand my life here in France.

It must be love! All that was before is dross and dismay but the French, ah, the French... even the way they pick their noses is compelling and somehow sophisticated...

I'm with you Corson. The French friends I have made in the 6+ years we have been here add more value than the friends I have made throughout life in the UK with only a few exceptions. Life here is different for good reasons and if one doesn't like it the best action is to vote with your feet - don't try and colour the point of view for others. I'm sure that there are more objectionable English people in France than there are French proportionately.