Midweek Distractions 8/16/23: Thinking like the French

PARIS, FRANCE - AUGUST 09, 2012: A Young Couple Rides Vespa Scooter Through Paris Street.

We’ve been writing a lot about traveling to France lately. In fact, I just booked a trip there for next month! So all of the research I’ve been doing for my trip is technically work-related. (Work smarter, not harder, folks.)

But beyond hotel roundups and restaurant recommendations, Frenchly is, at heart, a place for cultural exchange. We spend a lot of time trying to get into a French mindset, so we can understand these confusing Gauls and their particularities. It’s something I sometimes take for granted, all this random knowledge I have about French people and what they like and don’t like. It came up last year, when my best friend visited Paris for the first time, and called me to talk about how rude everyone was to him. I was shocked—after all, he was a cultured and well-traveled New Yorker, not some obnoxious tourist who’d never been abroad before.

When I saw his Instagram posts from the trip, I knew exactly what had gone wrong. I texted him immediately: “You wore shorts in France!!” Tiny lavender short-shorts, to be specific. He didn’t understand the problem. “No one would look twice at this outfit in New York,” he said. “Well, Dorothy,” I responded, “You’re not in New York anymore.”

To try and get you into the French mindset, I’ve dug up some pieces that just might keep you from making a major faux pas like my friend did. Curious as to why French people don’t wear shorts? Wondering whether you should bring your beret to Paris? We’ve got you. Or maybe you’d like to know how the French feel about body positivity these days. Or feminism. Or gay rights. Or vegetarians. Maybe you just want some easy recommendations for how to dress in France. (For men or for women… or pick the best of both if you don’t identify with either.)

And don’t forget to check out Keith Van Sickle’s latest piece on how the French feel about McDonald’s, affectionately shortened to “McDo’s” (pronounced “mack-dough”) in French.

Things I found on the Internet…

What a French person eats in a day. Can you guess the price of this Parisian apartment? And how to sneak an extra carry on bag on the plane.

What to watch this week…

Our resident French film expert Andrea Meyer has reviewed a new film starring Juliette Binoche. Between Two Worlds tells an emotionally charged tale of a wealthy writer who goes undercover as a cleaning lady to do research for a story, accidentally allowing herself to get sucked in to the lives of her new coworkers.

Famous French actresses playing women caught between two identities seems to be the theme of this summer. This Friday, August 18, you can catch Madeleine Collins, “an unusual psychological thriller about a woman living a double life with some unexpected twists,” according to Andrea. The movie stars Virginie Efira, a Belgian-French actress who seems to be everywhere these days, whether as a grief-stricken survivor of a terrorist attack in Revoir Paris, or as a doting stepmother figure in Other People’s Children.

Catherine Rickman
Managing Editor, frenchly.us

Stay in touch! I’d love to hear from you: [email protected].







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