Hello, I come to tell you about my hexagonal country. I realize that if France sells stuff abroad, if France exports artists around the world, France also has its own little stuff that no other country likes (or much less ). What is popular with us is not necessarily so in the rest of the planet. That’s what I want to talk to you about. And I will.
France is the second world market for McDo after the United States, and it’s true that most French people go there several times a year (even a week for the craziest). But you are going to tell me: “So McDonald’s is still more popular in the States, isn’t it? » and I will answer you that not so much. There, the brand has a much less “cool” image than it does at home. The restaurants are less attractive, people don’t linger there, and they don’t know what they’re missing. This is also why the USA has decided to redo a lot of their McDo’s like those in France to improve their image. Afterwards, there are still plenty of other countries that love McDo, but people are much less crazy about it than here. Yet nothing is better than a McDonald’s on a Sunday at 3 p.m.
It’s not just a cliché: France is the champion of the strike. For 1000 employees, there are 114 strike days for France, far ahead of Belgium (91 days) and Canada (80 days). With us, it’s totally normal to stop working to claim rights, and it’s much less so in other countries. For some, it’s not even normal at all, or more or less impossible given the labor law they’re going through (the USA are on strike for 6 days per year for 1,000 employees, it’s hot).
3. Woody Allen
The American director is more popular in France than in his own country and sometimes even makes more box office admissions here than in the United States (although they are still a little more numerous than here). This can be explained, among other things, by the fact that Woody Allen has criticized the Hollywood system quite a bit and that he has increasingly highlighted France and its actors in recent years. But, a priori, all this has nothing to do with the fact that he made out with the adopted daughter of his ex (which nevertheless shocked almost everyone) and that he was accused of incest by his daughter Dylan.
There are other countries where we kiss, like Belgium where we slap one, but it’s less present than in our country, and people are generally much less attached to it. So yes, la bise is indeed a French thing, and we are probably the only ones to have had debates on the subject since the arrival of the Covid. Besides, when we say it’s time to stop kissing, only the French are up in arms. That too is popular with us, rebelling.
5. Jerry Lewis
The American comedian-comedian-director-screenwriter who died in 2017 was quite popular in France, and it was a big source of mockery from Americans who did not understand why he was worshiped so much. There, he was quickly considered old-fashioned because his humor was no longer fashionable with his grimaces and his comic gestures, but he always continued to make the French laugh. Simply a matter of taste.
6. Formal formalities
The formal mode exists in many other languages, but it is only in France that it is really popular and massively used. In other countries, it ended up being neglected in most situations. In Italy, Germany, England or Spain, you won’t see anyone addressing the baker or the shoe salesman as formal, whereas the reverse would be shocking here. It would be so much easier to drop the formal address, however, so we would finally stop wondering if we have the right or not to say “you” to mother-in-law.
7. Strong cheeses
France is not the only country to produce cheese, and the French are not the only ones to appreciate cheese, but as soon as we talk about good big cheeses that whip, then there is only we. Abroad, we prefer when it’s soft (even tasteless with a plastic appearance), but we like it when it stings in the nose and gives you jackal’s breath. Moreover, when you look at the ranking of the strongest cheeses made by an independent British study, you only find products from here. And we are proud of it.
8. The Wand
Even if we lost the World Bakery Cup in 2020 and the edition was won by the Chinese – which allowed journalists to make lots of puns on the Chinese baguette – the (bread) baguette remains popular only in France. It is spreading little by little everywhere else, but almost all the time in “French-style” bakeries. It is still a long way from the day when all foreigners will walk proudly down the street with their wand under their arm. Without forgetting to eat a piece of it on the road, of course.
9. Alain Souchon
Yes, I could have given many other names of French singers who are not exported abroad, but here I just wanted to say Alain Souchon. It’s like that.
With about 8kg of butter per year per inhabitant, France explodes everyone in the adoration of milk-based fat. Only Germany and Iceland love it almost as much with respectively 6 and 5.8 kg per year per inhabitant, but after that the figures collapse. What do you want, when you make good bread, normal that you put lots of butter on it. And then we are not badly carried by the Bretons who must, at a glance, come close to 25kg of butter per person.