I actually understand and accept that no matter how long I live in France, or how much my speaking of the French language improves, I will never be considered French enough by the French, and will always be considered “un etranger”.

Author: jimmy.lavoie; via Wikimedia Commons

This is very different to Australia where you become an Australian as soon as you land as a permanent resident, and understand what is the meaning of “… our home is girt by sea …”, or New Zealand when you are immediately considered a “Kiwi” when you get really angry and depressed if the All Blacks get beaten by the Wallabies (fortunately not very often).

via Wikimedia Commons

I have a friend who is married to a Frenchman, has lived in her village for over 40 year, speaks perfect French and is still called “l’Anglaise” by those in her village, even those younger than 40.

So, after 15 years of owning a home in France, and over 10 years of living here permanently, I have been wondering about at which point your attitudes become more predominantly French than just reflecting those attitudes of the country you originally came from.

I have therefore decided that you know you are becoming more French when you:

1. …shave, shower (optional) and get dressed up when you go out to do some shopping, even if you are just going to the hardware store to buy a new drill bit.
2. …use a piece of baguette as an item of cutlery rather than just using a knife and fork combination.
3. …sulk into a bad mood if the host serves a wine that you would never buy even if you were dying of thirst.
4. …really believe that foie gras is a healthy food item with life enhancing properties.

Author: Feth; via Wikimedia Commons

5. …believe that it is acceptable to have steak that needs to be cut with a chainsaw, as that means it has been raised naturally, rather than the tender aged steak that the rest of the world eats.
6. …believe that when it comes to food, it is a shame to waste any part of a pig.
7. …believe that the only rule for parking a car is that you do not block a driveway.
8. …are certain that where you live has a microclimate that differentiates it from anyone else living more than 1 kilometre from your front door.
9. …believe that the government should cut spending but not in any way that would affect your pension, medical care, education of your family or anything else to do with you.
10. …know that a GP’s skill is in direct proportion to the number of prescriptions with which you leave his surgery.
11. …believe that part of the fun of a vacation is to start and finish on the same day in August as the rest of the country, and that 4 hour traffic jams are a great way to meet new people.
12. …are not fazed when a poodle at the next table has a napkin around his neck and is perusing the menu.

Author: Pleple2000; via Wikimedia Commons

13. …see garlic as being the one condiment that goes with everything including desserts.
14. …know that any lunch has to be at least 4 courses, and include at least one glass of wine, or it should be considered as just having a snack.
15. …believe that no matter in which direction you drive, the food will deteriorate the minute you cross a border.
16. …tell someone with a bad haircut that their hair looks terrible.
17. …know that French letters are actually not French, but are English hats.
18. …refuse to hand back a microphone once it is in your hands.
19. …know that a dinner party has not been successful unless at least one guest leaves angry.
20. …vote for a President only if he is known to have at least one mistress.
21. …are prepared to drive 20 kms daily for the perfect baguette if you feel that those that are available close to you are not quite good enough.
22. …consider the Renault Twingo to be a medium sized car.
23. …are angry that Napoleon sold Louisiana to the Americans.
24. …believe that your mother was the best cook in the world, and that if she had cared to open a restaurant it would have immediately gained 3 Michelin stars.
25. …are not surprised when a 10 year old at a neighbour’s family lunch can beat you in the blind tasting of a local red wine.
26. …can sit through the entire Wagner ring cycle opera without needing to go to the bathroom.
27. …consider toothpaste to be a con by the US consumer manufacturers just to make more money.
28. …think that working a 35 hour week is still too much.
29. …know that whilst two kisses on the cheek are acceptable in the southwest, you will need four in most of northern France.
30. …believe that queuing for anything is a waste of time and energy, and that it makes more sense to just do a herd-press towards any narrowing point of access.
31. …realise that a street being marked as one-way should not stop you from getting a good parking spot.
32. …believe that cheese can be counted as one of the 5 serves of fruit and vegetables needed for a healthy eating plan.

Author: NJGJ; via Wikimedia Commons

As the author of the American Declaration of Independence, and 3rd President of the US, Thomas Jefferson said “France is every man’s second country”.



  1. Frank says:

    Les, I’m not sure Aussie’s accept a person as an Aussie until they cheer on the Wallaby’s and esp vs the All Blacks, so probably no New Zealander no matter how permanent, is seen really as an Aussie. Rgds, Frank

  2. Ian says:

    Les, Excellent blog. I thought I was well on the way to becoming ‘French’ but now realise that I am only 5% of the way there! Cheers, Ian

  3. Roisin says:

    HIghly entertaining, as always, Les. Made me laugh and so cheered me up on a chilly Autumn day in Angleterre. All the best, Roisin

  4. leshayman says:

    Thanks for the kind words … come back over here … we are still in the mid 20s during the day.

  5. JB says:

    He poodle thing is more LA… And the four course lunch? As much as the wine thing is somewhat accurate, perhaps you should mention portions! Are you American or British? Not bad otherwise. Didn’t get the microphone thing… (I’m French)

    • leshayman says:

      JB, I am neither American nor English. I am somewhat of a blend but I am a New Zealand citizen. I had my childhood in Paris and my family emigrated to Australia when I was 6 years old and I then moved to NZ when I came out of university. Since then I have lived in Australia, Singapore, Germany, US and now France permanently for the last 10 years, after having a holiday cottage here for a long time. Dogs in restaurants is very common where I live in the Gironde (including our own). The microphone comment is about how French people love to talk and talk, for example, if we go to a concert or art exhibition most times someone will talk for 15+ minutes as introduction whereas Anglophones would do 2-3 minutes, as well as French TV being filled with programmes of groups of people just talking, usually interrupting each other. 4 course lunches are alive and well in Entre deux Mers (Entree, Plat, Cheese, dessert). My association with France is over 60 years. Les

  6. Thanks for making me laugh and reinforcing that I am well on my way to becoming French according to your list. Wish I had a Euro for every time I have been asked “Vous etes Anglaise?” irregardless of French language skills and length of stay, it’s that slight accent that gives it away!

  7. leshayman says:

    24/7 I know how you feel. I can walk into a store and just say “bonjour Madame” and get answered in English. I am told that it’s less my accent and more that I just don’t look French enough. I wonder whether I should always wear a beret and carry a baguette ? Les

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