11 Things French People Should Probably Stop Doing

A piece of cake sitting on top of a wooden table

After some time in France, you grow accustomed to certain French habits. We’re talking about those quirks that French people have that, from an outsider’s perspective, either don’t make sense or have overstayed their welcome. (Hey, every country has them.)

Maybe these trucs don’t bother anyone in France, or else the French have just given up trying to change (and we know that the French don’t really like change). Considering how much as French people love to complain, it’s surprising that these particular habits continue. So we’ll take over that job and complain comme les français about a few of the little things we would be fine with the French not doing anymore.

1. Reminding us that they are FIFA champions


We get it. You won the world’s greatest soccer tournament last year and it is surely something to be proud of. However, other countries have won it in the past too, but they don’t call themselves “the country of the champions.”

2. Wearing wool coats and white sneakers 

This trend may have started Stateside thanks to our favorite athleisure style, but the French have taken it to a new level. Pristine Stan Smiths and wool coats are a French go-to every. Single. Year. While sometimes suitable, this trend needs to go because the French are in the country of la mode and couture, after all.

3. Leaving dog poop in the streets 

It’s no royal duty to pick up dog excrement, but if you’ve signed up to take care of a four-legged friend, it is your responsibility. This would make Paris so much cleaner, too.

4. Translating American movie names 


Why does French cinema change American movie titles to bizarre, still-English titles? For example, “American Hustle” was translated to “American Bluff,” “The Hangover” to “Very Bad Trip,” and “Pitch Perfect” to “The Hit Girls.” Not only do these make little sense, but if you’re going to make the name in English you might as well keep the original one.

5. Saying “beeh,” “baaah,” “ben”

Similar to saying “like” in English speech, these conversational fillers sometimes sound pompous. Though we are not L’Académie Française, we thought the country so proudly speaking “la langue de Molière” would be using some more intelligent words.

6. Turning every talk into politics

Stateside, we tend to avoid politics over dinner, but in France it’s the exact opposite — everything turns into politics. It’s even worse with Americans at the table as we’re immediately questioned about our Republican president. Let’s leave politics for the politicians (or at least until after-dinner coffee).

7. Eating ends off baguettes 


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This one isn’t necessarily a crime, and it’s even quite endearing. However, the French have so many food rules, and no eating and walking is definitely one of them. So why are they allowed to walk and eat baguettes in the street?

8. Arbitrary store hours

In Paris, one is still more or less likely to find a chain store between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. but if the store is privately owned — you’ve got no clue. Shopkeepers go out for lunch, coffee, a walk, or just sometimes randomly close their stores without warning. This also applies to some neighborhood bakeries, especially outside of Paris.

9. Riding Metro Line 13

It’s a busy city with a fantastic-working metro system except the overcrowded Line 13. Of course, not every can just stop riding, but we can complain a bit about the sardine-packed situation.

10. Making reality TV shows

The French were once great at making movies (Nouvelle Vague, and all that,) but they really have no clue when it comes to reality TV. The French version of The Bachelor for farmers L’amour est dans le pré is absolutely cringe-worthy. Almost 3.9 million people watch per episode… and we have no idea why.

11. Saying Non-French Cheese is Plastic 

Perhaps Americans don’t have the best cheese, but it’s not true that all cheese is awful if it is not French. If it’s artisanal, even American varieties can be quite yummy.


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