beauty, exploration
blue, skiing
cheese, Paris, puff pastry, Europe, TGV
Cote d'Azur, Paris, cheese
culture, art, food
culture, corrupt
europe, map
Europe, Paris, Eiffel Tower
exotic, food, warm beaches
foreign, beautiful, quiche
French, the map of France
frogs, Platini, Zidane
high class, vinyards, aesthetics, stylish
Louvre, Bastille, colonies
love, language, fragrance
Paris, croissants
Paris, French, Europe
Paris, Riviera, vacation
provence, food, wine
Red white and blue, map, baguette
summer, cannes
sun, xenofobia, rosignol
travel, trains, language, food
wine, eiffel tower

beau, culturel
beau, paysage, histoire
bien-être, cuisine
culture, Vichy, orgueil
culture; histoire; démocratie; liberté

Europe, Paris, diversifié
Exception, Culture, Lumières
franchouillard, vindicatif, marseillaise
fromage, Bande dessinées
histoire, culture
liberté, culture
Paris; culture; musique;
Paris, fromage
Paris, la tour Eiffel
Paris, provinces, luxe
refermée, protectioniste, sociale (de moins
en moins) mais individualiste
Tour eiffel, hexagone, gastronomie
tourisme, culture, exception
tricolore, Paris



I was somewhat surprised to see that both groups offered similar answers to the France word association exercise.

It seems that both the French and American students had a deep appreciation for French culture and cuisine. In addition, a large number of students seemed to be enchanted with Paris.

At the same time, people in both groups indicated that there problems in France such as xenophobia and a protectionist and social government.

The results of the United States word association exercise are definitely much more explosive.


Bonjour à tous,

je remarque tout d'abord que les français et les Américains ont une conception différente de la France. Tout d'abord, les Américains voient la France comme partie intégrante de L'Europe ( le mot Europe revient 5 fois contre une fois pour les étudiants français). ce n'est pas le cas des français. En effet, les mots "exception" et "fermée" donnent l'image d'une france qui se distingue de l'Europe. Je trouve que les américains ont une excellente image de la FRance parfois empreinte de certains clichés. Les français sont quant à eux plus nuancés en n'hésitant pas à critiquer l'isolationisme et l'orgeuil français.

Bonjour à tous Je ne suis pas d'accord avec Allan, car je pense comme Joel que ce questionnaire montre des différences vraiment importantes. Je trouve en effet que les réponses que les étudiants du MIT ont donné sont toutes des clichés sur la France véhiculés par les médias. Cela montre je pense une absence de démarche personnelle des américains pour connaître le reste du monde. Mais les français ne sont pas n'ont plus à vanter : il est clair que nous sommes très voir trop fier de notre pays : La personalité du général De Gaulle en témoigne trés bien.

I'm not sure that it can be said that the French responses were dominated by politics. On the contrary, Paris and culture seemed to be by far the most popular responses. Still, I found Joel's point about France and Europe to be very interesting. I mentioned something about politics in my original message, but please understand that since I live in the United States, I will not always be able to pick up on the subtle points made about French politics on these forums.

I must say that I was a little bit disappointed to read Yoann's comment about Americans not caring about what happens outside of the American border. Many of us have families that live in Europe and around the world. For instance, my grandparents live in Romania. In addition, one of my favorite hobbies is reading magazines like The Economist which discuss world news. Over the years, I have enjoyed reading about French politicians like Jacques Chirac, Alain Juppe, Martine Aubry, Dominique Strauss Kahn, Pierre Moscovici and others.

Moving along, it is true that the American responses are a little cliche. However, I doubt that these cliches appeared out of the blue. Instead, they have arisen because the pre-eminence of French culture is admired around the world.

Many years ago, I was able to take a trip to France and I had the opportunity to visit the Louvre, La musee d'orsay and the Centre Pompidou. From my experiences, I must say that there is nothing on the North American continent that quite matches these museums.


When one has not visited another country, one can only go by what they read and hear about that place. You can say that the American students know only the cliches of French society and culture, but this is not always the case. Americans, like myself, who have not been to France can only follow what they read and hear about France if they have not experienced it first hand. I for one have not been to France, so I am sure my views are very limited. I go to see many French films, but just like in America films do not always say very much about society. This is the same for the French students. I have read many of what you call "cliches" about American society. My main point is that it is unfair to claim that all Americans know little about the rest of the world. I think the American students chose to focus on more neutral topics of France: those pertaining to tourism and culture. This does not signify that the MIT students know nothing of France, or the rest of the world. I know on my part it was a conscious decision to focus on what I know of France based on what I have seen of French culture, not on France as it relates to the rest of the world.

In my opinion, America is not the only imperialistic and narrow-minded nation in the world. I find many European nations to be, as well.


     I have never visited France before, but I think it's evident that the French are very proud of their culture – as they should be. Many French students associated France with their culture, history, food, and music. In general, many thought of other places, like Paris and the Rivera.

     Food is an integral part of any culture. Since many students associated things like cheese and even gastronomy with France, I was wondering if the French are particularly proud of their cuisine. I oftentimes associate not only cheese and pastries with France but also wine. I was very surprised to find that no French student had this on his/her list. Do the French not drink wine often, or is this a common misconception?

     It is true that France may be associated with Europe in many Americans' minds, but I do not believe that we think of France and Europe as a single entity. In effect, I believe that why Europe appeared so many times is simply because American students thought of a European map.

     I agree with Yoann that Americans who have not seen France may have stereotypical views of the country. Without having visited the country, however, how are we supposed to view France? I am sure that stereotypes of foreign countries are typical wherever you are.



Having been in France and in the US, I was not really surprised by seeing the results of the two groups. I believe that, although cliche, American's perception of France was quite positive, which was not the case for french students with the word "United States".

This reinforces my comment in the other forum, regarding the ultra-positive point of view of americans, contrasted by the more critical and aggressive approach that French students show. In the same post, I also I pointed out the broad knowledge and deep opinions of the french on global issues, and the biased perception of the same issues by the americans.

I have a question for the French students: which other country in Europe is regarded with the same respect and pride, by French people?


Like others, I was surprised at the number of identical answers given by Americans and French people when asked what we thought of France. However, though the words were the same, the implications were subtly different.

French students used words such as "culture" and "gastronomie" to show things they were proud of in their country. American answers indicated that people in the US tend to view France as a wonderful place for vacations, associating it with trips throughout Europe. While both views were positive, there was definitely different meaning in the secondary associations of each group of students, I think.

Bonjour a tous,

I was wondering how prevalent American culture is in France. For instance, do you INT students listen to American music and watch American movies?

I have also heard that the French government is quite strict about incorporating English technical terms related to computers into the French language. To what extent is this true? Finally, how do you French students, as well as the general public, feel about American culture penetrating France? Why?

Once I get some answers to this question, I will post additional questions about France.

In case you INT students were wondering if North Americans have been exposed to modern French culture, I would have to say that French culture is more accessible in Canada. As far as French music and movies go, I have heard music by French artists such as MC Solar and Ophelie Winter. Although it seemed to me that their music was heavily influenced by the American music, their music definitely had a different flavor.

Over the past few years, I have had the opportunity to see a few French movies. Perhaps the movie that made the strongest impression on me was "Au revoir les enfants". Most recently, I saw a movie called Venus beaute (institut). I heard that this movie was very popular in France? Is this true?

Finally, when talking about France, I can't resist talking about football. My first exposure to French football came at the age of six when I watched (on TV) Michel Platini and the French team play Brazil in the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. This game, which France won on penalty kicks, was one of the greatest games that I have ever watched.

Of course, I also watched France defeat Brazil in the 1998 World Cup at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis. In addition, I also watched the France-Italy final of Euro 2000. I thought that France was a little lucky to win the 1998 World Cup. This is because the tournament was played in France and also because of Ronaldo's "convulsions" before the final. However, after Euro 2000, nobody can dispute that the French football team is the best in the world. In all these tournaments, the French team delighted me with their inventive football.

To me, it seems that Zinedine Zidane plays much better when he is representing France than when he is playing for Juventus. The other French footballers I admire are Patrick Viera, Fabien Barthez and Thierry Henry.

Is football by far the most popular sport in France? I've heard that the British, Italian and Spanish take football more seriously. Finally, which football players are the media-darlings? Is Zidane the most popular?


Bonjour à tous Je tiens tout d'abord à dire que ces propos étaient d'ordre général, en effet il est clair que vous , étudiants au MIT, n'êtes pas représentatif de l'ensemble des américains : aussi je tiens à m'excuser si j'ai heuter la sensibilité de certain. Ceci d'autant plus que mes remarques sont valables pour les français! Il est tr"s intéressant de voir que vous avez été nombreux à répondre (oui je sais moins que sur le thème Etats Unis !!!), et cela démontre bien votre intérêt pour la France et de manière plus générale pour le reste du monde. Maintenant je me sens vraiment obligé de parler de la repésentation de la culture française aux Etats Unis (et vice versa) puisque le thème a été soulevé : Je commencerai d'abord par vous faire remarqué que dans le domaine du cinéma et de la musique la représentation de la France est, il me semble, mauvaise. De nombreux films français sortent encore chaque année. Je dis "encore" car si c'est le cas c'est parce que l'Etat français a imposé des quotats dans les cinémas français pour les films français. sans cela, le film français n'existerait plus ( il a connu une chute moins importante que le cinéma italien depuis les années 50). Je trouve dommâge que cette suprématie du cinéma améraicaine se fasse au détriment de la diversité. Je suis bien conscient que ce n'est âs forcément une volonté américaine mais plutôt le résultat d'une économie ultra capitaliste. C'est donc le dictat de l'argent qui en est responsable. Enfin pour terminer sur ce théme et répondre à une question précedemment demandée que les français redoutent l'uniformisation des cultures.


I can definitely understand why you are a little upset that the French and European film industries are slowly dying.

I have always felt that American movies, as a whole, are of very poor quality. It seems as though the Hollywood companies are more interested in creating dazzling special effects as opposed to telling an interesting story. And of course, almost no American movie would be complete without an exchange of gunfire. I am really baffled that the Hollywood movie companies can pour endless millions of dollars into these movies, and have so little to show for the money. I am sure that given these vast amounts of money, the Europeans, or anyone else could do much better.

One might say that Hollywood is merely trying to please its customers. If Hollywood movies really please Americans, then this is certainly a damning indictment on the sophistication of America's tastes.

Personally, I rarely watch American movies. I would say that out of every four movies I watch, only one is American. Us MIT students are pretty lucky because there is a movie theatre near the school that plays very good foreign movies. Without this theatre, the cultural landscape here in Cambridge would be even more barren.


Hello again,

A few days ago, I asked if a French student could translate the following expressions:

"Ou l'on chope" (A fun party forum)

"bluedot" (United States forum)

I would greatly appreciate if a French student could provide a translation.



Salut Allan,

je suis vraiment étonné par le fait qu'Allan ne regarde qu'un film US sur 4. Même en France où le sentiment nationaliste est important en la matière, la part de marché des cinéma non US n'atteint pas les 50% ?

Je serai donc curieux de savoir quels sont les films étrangers que tu as dernièrement regardés. Les films non américains ont beaucoup de difficultés à s'exporter et à se faire connaître : je suis juste surpris que tu ne regardes pas plus les films US.

A+, Joel


I don't see movies very often. So when I do go to see movies, I try to make it a point to see quality ones (ie not American in most cases).

Off the top of my head, here are some movies that I have seen recently:

A Time for Drunken Horses (Foreign): This movie describes the plight of the Kurdish people living along the Iran-Iraq border.

Venus Beaute (institute) (Foreign): The french movie that I mentioned in my previous post.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Foreign): Perhaps you have heard of this one, it has been nominated for a few Oscars.

Billy Elliot (Foreign): I absolutely love British dramas and comedies.

Snatch (American): Although this movie was American, it was made by a British director and had an almost exclusively British cast.

But what you say is true. Foreign movies aren't very common in the United States either.


Well, I hope someone is still reading this...

I just got back from spending Spring Break in France. I spent a jet-lagged day in Paris, and the rest of the week in Val Thorens (a ski resort in the Alps, for those who don't know). I noticed in ValTho that every restaurant and store put great emphasis on local specialities in food, wine, and other things. I know that a lot of this is because it is a resort and wants to put on a show for the thousands of tourists. I was wondering however, how regoinalized France is.

Are there great differences between the different regions of France? And is there a lot of regional pride as well as national pride within France?

Thanks to anyone who can answer.


Salut Diana Ces questions sont trés pertinentes puisque comme tu l'as souligné il existe effectivement de grandes différences entre les différentes régions de France. la raison première étant que la France connaît à peu prés tous les climats, il est donc clair que le mode de vie sur la côte d'Azur est fondamentalemnt différent de celui que l'on trouve dans le Nord de la France! Mais il y aussi des raisons historiques qui font que par exemple la Corse revendique une certaine idée d'indépendance ou que d'autres régions (comme le pays basque, la bretagne, l'alsace, ...) sont fiers de leurs traditions. Cet esprit de fierté se traduit notamment par des fêtes locales,des langues, des habits ,un manière d'être en communauté et aussi les spécialités culinaires de la région. Tu as donc raisons en disant que cette fierté régionale n'est pas uniquement un piége pour touriste! J'espére t'avoir un peu éclairé. yoann