I’ve been reading a lot of Les Mis fics set in Paris lately, and I have noticed that there are certain things about France that other people just don’t seem to know, so I am here to educate you so that you can make wonderful works where the barricade boys are authentically French. This is going to be super long, and I don’t want to force you all to read it, so for those interested my rant about French culture is under the cut.
Really good post, thanks a lot! There’s stuff that I wanted to say though:
– coffee to go & names on cups do exist, but only in Starbucks bc well, it’s American (but tbh I don’t really see Enjolras going there bc too capitalist for him haha). But yeah in any other cafe you would have to sit down with an actual cup
– drive-through doesn’t really exist (except in some McDonalds I think), but takeout does, in ‘foreign food’ restaurants like chinese, japanese, indian or pizza places
– French people do seem rude to foreigners… that’s because of the way we approach interactions in the public sphere I guess. I noticed that in the US, people would randomly start talking to strangers in the bus or other public places “like hey how are you/what are you doing here”; French people would never do that. That just seem weird and off to us and we’re like “why is this guy even talking to me? i don’t even know him”. You can ask for directions or the time though, we don’t bite.
– In stores, taxes are already included in prices. I know, unbelievable.
Nice! Just want to clarify or add some points:
– if we don’t give tips, it’s because the service is included in the final price, but you can let 1, 2 or 3 (at the very max) euros if the waiter was very nice. Same for the hairdresser (I don’t know why).
– saying “mon cher” is weird indeed (unless you’re a sarcastic little shit), but we say “chéri(e)” (really common, especially for old couple) or “mon/ma chéri(e)” for loved ones.
– even if you’re a socialist, you will criticize the government, frenchs criticize everything because there is nothing worse than something you can’t criticize, that’s how you start totalitarism
– we mostly study french books in school, like for example if you want them to study theatre, make them read Molière instead of Shakespeare, it doesn’t mean we don’t read him too, it’s just the way they teach french (Molière, Voltaire, Flaubert, Zola, Rimbaud & Verlaine, etc etc)
– don’t know how it is in America, but back when I was in school (the law changed since then here) we could study latin and ancient greek quite easily
– It’s common for the “Collège” and “Lycée” to propose school trips (that can last a say or 2 weeks) to another part of France or another country, with my schools I went to England, Italy and Greece (and had I don’t remember how much trips into France)
– regions aren’t the same in France, our accents, our culture, the way we greet people, our food etc etc…
– we start school at 3 years old. The “maternelle” is for kids from 3-6, then you go to “L’école primaire” (the primatory school), from 6 to 11, then to “Le Collège” (secondary school) from 11 to 15 and then to “Le lycée” (High school) for 3 more years (from 15 to 18) and after that you can go if you want to the University.
– Before the “maternelle”, you can be placed into a “crèche” (nursery), have a nurse (really common, they take some kids at the same time) or stay at home with your parents. I don’t remember but I think it’s not an obligation to start school at 3, but everyone does it nonetheless.
– It’s not uncommon to finish your day at 17h or 17h30 when you’re in high school, and when you’re home it can be past 18h/18h30 or even later
– extrascholar activities are not a thing; you can do what you want with your time outside the school (if you have any) but it will not serve any purpose to enter anything
– school uniforms are not a thing
– nearly everyone had a “manga phase” during their teen years, mangas are everywhere
– but we mostly have BD
– now we have BDs that look like mangas
– it’s common for an high school to be on strike when the teachers are (so even if your teacher doesn’t do it, you may not be able to enter the school)
– we love japan so much people started talking about a “japanisation” of the country some years ago
– our big exam at the end of high school, le “BAC” is important, even though not as much as it was
– depending on the regions, you can “swear” a lot… but it can also not be considering swearing… I live in the South of France and everyone says “Putain” a lot (it’s like “Fuck” I guess here) and even if we don’t say it in the news or when you’re in front of your boss (I think I did it actually and he did it too), it doesn’t really matter here
– halloween is not a thing, not with the kids on the street, people may try to do it, but we may see like 1 or 2 kids on your door this day, it’s mostly to party in costumes nowadays
– no pumpkin-carving
– sometimes, but it’s rarer each year, during the summer we have block parties… It’s just a big reunion of the people living in the streets and everyone is cooking something… but like I said, it’s something quite rare now
– majority at 18, after that, there is no limit anymore for anything like you have in america
– administration is hell in France, everyone knows and hates it
– christmas is technically a thing, but less and less with years too, we still have christmas markets (during december) and some street decorations
– we don’t sing in the street… never
– we don’t hug strangers like they do in Brazil ^^ We’re maybe latins, but we’re still a little bit uptight for that, we’re not going to get angry for that, just a bit odd, that’s all. But we have free hugs too here! (and we call them “free hugs” because the translation is too weird)