The French seem to be obsessed with ...

Les Français semblent être obsédés par ...

cafes and great food


fashion, fine cuisine, make-up

fashion, love, and freedom.


their language

food, beauty, vacation

food, tight pants, coffee shops

food, wine, cheese



good food and parties.

having fun, appearance, holidays

history, fashion, arts.

looking their best at all times, politics, and wine.

luxuries; cafe; free time;

maintaining a more equitable society. And good food.

much of the same things that Americans are obsessed with, strangely. I suppose it is true that we are all part of the one and same world.

speaking French.

taking vacations, attempting to preserve their cultures, and wine.

the purity of French ways.

theater, their language, culture

their superiority, the "negative" aspects of American culture, raising productive (but not individual) citizens

wine and being classy.

l'argent, le regard des autres, en faire le moins possible

l'indépendance, l'exception culturelle.

la crainte de perdre leurs acquis sociaux.

la mode, les filles, le bon vin et les droits de l'homme.

la mode, les problèmes des autres pays, et la nourriture

la réussite personnelle, le droit de grève, leurs acquis sociaux

le travail sans efforts, un changement de gouvernement et le vin.

le vin, l'Europe, Paris.

les droits, la culture, le maintien de la culture française

les inégalités sociales et les problèmes d'intégration

les vacances, le football (soccer), la liberté.

leur bien-être, leur culture.

leur gastronomie, leur histoire et leur culture

leur histoire, par ce qu'il font (champagne, tableaux..)

leur importance, leur culture, l'argent

leur indépendance, leur exception culturelle

leur situation et le fait que personne ne gagne plus qu'eux.

leurs acquis sociaux, leur bien être personnel et la possibilité de pouvoir en faire le moins possible

Paris, leur avenir

préservation des droits, culture française


Je trouve étonnant que notre vision des choses soit différente concernant ce sujet. Le mot fashion revient souvent côté Américain et pas trop côté Français, serait-ce en lien avec le fait que, d'après le forum sur la façon dont les Américains voient les Français, on retient entre autres l'éducation ?

Au vue de toutes vos réponses, il semble que les américains résument la France et les français à la mode, à Paris et à quelques éléments culinaires.

Cette vision est très réductrice, incomplète et souvent fausse. Pourquoi avez vous une telle image de la France ? Est-ce celle distribuée par les médias ? 

Car non seulement ces caractéristiques ne nous correspondent pas vraiment à nous étudiant de l'ENSAM, ce n'est pas non plus l'image que nos voisins européens ont de nous.

Well, I didn't quite agree with the answers the forum gave so I cannot say for sure why the answers were like that.. but I guess it is largely due to the media and since most people think about France = Paris, wine etc the answers were more geared toward such things.

What I was surprised by was some MIT students wrote "French language." How can one say one's obsessed with their own language? I felt rather upset about the answer because it made me feel that Americans think English is the language everyone should speak.

Yes, english is important but I think it's not as important as one's native language. Not just because it's a mode a communication but because the language is the culture itself. To love one's language is to love one's culture and heritage. I think it's wonderful.

And I've also noticed that the French think they are obsessed with their own well-being. Is it just me that that's just a very honest answer? People can be obsessed with many different things but in the end, don't we all strive for the well being of self? When I recall living in France, I must agree that the French are very much geared toward their own well being but I think that is what's so attractive about France. Although it may sound rude, people are so frank....

I agree with Rose.  I feel the same way about some of the answers on our class side.  I feel that the reason why these answers are as such is because of the media.  Media depicts many aspects of cultures and their faults. When somone sees the culture on television and has never experienced, it is easy to believe it is actually like that.

Marc, I think it is good that this discussion started because you mentioned that the Europeans do not view the french this way.  At least through our exchange we can try to remedy this.


I am curious as to what other European countries think of France!  Or, Marc, what French people think of how other European countries think of France!  This cycle could continue for a while...


I would like to address that these select words are certainly driven by the media portrayal of France.  When compared to the first Cultura exercise, the answers to this sentence completion of "The French are obsessed with ________" is quite similar to the American word associations to France in general.  People's one-dimensional responses might be a result of simply the last 'French' thing that we have been exposed to -- perhaps dinner at a lovely French restaurant, a long night of French homework, or in my case, watching the Yelle Tecktonik video:

(I think this song is so much fun....are the French obsessed with it as well?)


Also, I believe the Sentence Completion was not phrased in a very positive light to begin with -- 'obsessed' seems like a rather strong word, negative in many senses.  Perhaps it should have been, "The French have a strong passion for __________."



The American responses probably do have a lot to do with the media. Whenever an American movie is set in France, it normally involves caviar and champagne. However, as is common with Americans, when we think of culture we tend to associate concrete objects. And, of course, what we see come out of France and into our malls is designer clothes and brie. Again, it's just a different way of thinking.

I noticed that a lot of the French responses had to do with and "obsession" over the French culture. How important is it to the French to know about different cultures? In the States, diversity is always a big issue, probably because of the many ethnicities here. 

Comparing these responses to the other forum, "Americans are obsessed with...", MIT students once again responded with materialistic things: fashion, food, wine, etc.  On the French side, things like human rights, history, culture, etc, were put forth.  This points to an entirely different mindset when asked the same question! 

I find this fascinating, but also, I wonder why it is so.  Does American culture teach us to see things in a concrete, materialistic way?  Does French culture lend itself to seeing things as the "bigger picture" and more generally?  This trend has shown up in several other forums, as well.

Tiffany makes a very good point about how the question was phrased. On the French side, do you think that if the wording of the question was changed, that the answers would have varied from what they are now?

Tina's response also brings up another important view about how our responses seem very materialistic.  Personally, I think that when we took the questionaires, we didn't have many time to think about the questions deeply and just generalized as fast as possible, or put the first things that came to mind (which was probably the point to start discussion).

On the France side, how did students take the questionaire?  Was it a quick on the stop exercise, or did you sit down and take more time to answer?

I too believe that the media has a large role in formulating our opinions of other countries.  For the vast majority of people, the only view we get of other countries is that which is provided by the media. This happens because very few people get to actually explore the world and live in many different countries, gaining a real feel for the culture of various countries. I feel like the survey was not meant to be offensive to the French, but rather is just how America is taught about France. I feel like the same thing occurred in the "America is obsessed with..." topic concerning war.  Americans for the most part are not a militaristic people.  Our penultimate goal is peace among the world, so it is sad to see our country with such connotations.  Perhaps if given more time, as Carlos said, the American responses would not have been the knee-jerk reactions of France which have been imprinted on our minds by the media.

Tout d'abord, merci pour toutes vos réponses. Et parmis celles-là, je pense avoir eu la mienne. Les réponses que vous avez écrites sont un "premier jet" : comme nous, vous y avez répondu rapidement et de ce fait, ce sont souvent les stéréotypes qui viennent en premier, c'est pourquoi même nous en répondant sur ce qui obsède la France, nous avons parfois cité ces stéréotypes.

De plus, ces stéréotypes ont évidement une raison d'être, et je pense que beaucoup de français restent rattachés à ses clichés ( par fierté ? ), mais sans y contribuer. C'est pourquoi on ne les retrouve pas vraiment dans la société d'aujourd'hui.