Today I went out walking on my own and was surprised that I still haven’t seen many stereotypically French people (a Google search for a French man resulted in the photo on the left). Now I know the stereotype of French people is just that, a stereotype. But I still expected to see something or someone that told me I was in France. So far it seems I’ve seen more non-French people than French people. And while that’s all fine and well, I was hoping to observe some French people in their native habitat. As one of the cities with a great fashion reputation, I must say I was a bit disappointed as I didn’t see anyone who was overly stylish or whose style I was impressed by. Again, I know there are certain stereotypes but from all the reading I’ve done on the subject, I know the French do adhere to certain fashion rules, especially Parisians. But I didn’t see anyone that seemed to personify this. Perhaps all the true Parisians leave Paris for the Christmas holidays.
One thing I was happy to have seen though were lots of people carrying baguettes along with the rest of their groceries, or even just a single baguette in their hand. The thing I found surprising though was that they were just carrying a baguette, nothing else. It wasn’t wrapped in paper or in a bag.
The other thing I was surprised by, albeit happily, were the free public toilets located on the streets. I’d never encountered toilets you had to pay for until I came to Europe and you definitely won’t find them for free in Russia. Although I didn’t try them, it was still surprising to find them and nice to know they were there in case you needed them.
While I’m on the topic of stereotypes, I found several interesting videos about stereotypes on YouTube. The first one is about stereotypes of the French in the media. From this link I saw several other videos, one on German stereotypes, another on French cultural differences which was very interesting as well. Last but not least, here’s a link to an article on myths of French culture. Some I’d heard of before, some were new, all were interesting. Enjoy!