Do French People Like Americans? A Surprising Answer!

Are you wondering if French people like Americans?

Then, you’re in the right place.

As an American who has been living in France for several years, I have a unique perspective on this topic. Not only that but I’ve traveled throughout the country, I’m fluent in French, and I understand the culture. I’ve even had discussions with French people about how they feel about Americans.

In this post, I’ll cover how the French view Americans and share with you some tips for traveling in France like a local.

Let’s get started.

Do French People Like Americans?
Do French People Like Americans?

Table of Contents

Do French People Like Americans?

To answer your question – yes, French people like Americans.

But, in reality, the answer is not that simple.

While French people do like Americans, what they don’t like is the American way of life.

This attitude is based on the perception that America is a country where right-wing politics and capitalism reign supreme. Where working long hours appears to be more important than enjoying time with your family. And, for a country that offers its workers nearly five weeks of vacation per year, America seems intolerable and unforgiving.

It’s a chaq’un pour soi (or every one of themselves) mentality, which is the opposite of how France operates.

French People Enjoying their Vacation on a Beach in Marseille
French People Enjoying their Vacation Time!

But this is how they view the country not Americans themselves.

In fact, French people appreciate the work of American musicians, artists, designers, etc.

Not only that but Americans generally receive a warm welcome in Paris and other cities in France. This is especially true for those who try to learn the local language and customs.

Useful Tip: Keep in mind that there is a tendency for French people to stereotype Americans, but the reverse is also true. It’s important to be open and willing to have a dialogue because that’s how these stereotypes are erased.

Needless to say, Americans are far from being the enemy in the eyes of the French.

Do the French hate American TOURISTS?

No, the French do not hate American tourists.

In fact, France welcomes millions of international visitors each year. And many French enjoy meeting people from other cultures and countries, including Americans.

There are, however, unspoken cultural norms and expectations that American tourists often ignore. And this is what French people don’t like.

For example, Americans tend to yell in public, take obnoxious photos, and refuse to speak French.

If you plan on traveling to France, you should take the time to understand common social conventions before your trip. It will show that you are interested in French culture, and, as a result, locals will be more willing to engage with you.

Why does it seem like the French hate foreigners?

The French may seem like they hate foreigners, but the truth is that their behavior is often misinterpreted. Most French people are actually very welcoming and friendly toward those from other countries.

It is, however, important to remember that France has its own culture with a different outlook.

For example, while it’s not considered rude to have a conversation with people you don’t know, for the French this kind of familiarity is intrusive. And it’s not meant to be antisocial – rather, it reflects respect for privacy and individual boundaries.

This is the opposite of how Americans behave.

In the United States, it’s common to make small talk and engage in a friendly discussion with complete strangers. It would be rude not to.

So, naturally, it’s easy to see why French and Americans misconstrue each other’s behavior. The social norms are completely different.

Then, there can sometimes be a sense of superiority among the French. And they don’t hide it well. They believe their country has an exceptional cultural legacy expressed through language, fashion, cuisine, and art.

Medici Fountain in Luxembourg Gardens is one example of cultural heritage in France
Medici Fountain in Luxembourg Gardens!

But this doesn’t mean they think less of other cultures.

It’s pride for all things ‘français’ or French.

However, this kind of patronage can be observed in every country, including the United States.

So, while it’s easy to think that the French hate foreigners, it’s simply not true. In fact, it’s an overarching stereotype that comes from a lack of understanding. And, once you realize that most of these behaviors are justified, you’ll see that the French are very welcoming.

My Experiences with Locals in France

My experience with locals in France has been overwhelmingly positive. I’ve integrated into the culture by learning French history, customs, and language. And my efforts haven’t gone unnoticed. Whether I’m wandering through a small Alsatian town or touring a bustling city like Marseille, I’m met with open arms.

In general, I’ve found that most French people are shy at first. But, after a few meetings, they are curious to get to know me and learn more about my background.

It also helps that I am fluent in French, so I can connect with people and culture on a deeper level.

I will say, however, that Parisians tend to be less welcoming than most other cities in France. It’s crowded and locals don’t enjoy pushing through tourists to get to where they want to go. And to be honest, I don’t blame them.

Sacre Coeur Basilica full of tourists in Paris
Paris is always full of tourists!

I lived in Paris for several years and I developed this same mentality after a while.

But Paris is like an island in France. It’s its own separate entity and there’s a big city vibe that doesn’t exist elsewhere in the country.

If you’re willing to be open-minded and respectful of French customs, you too can find a sense of belonging in this amazing country.

Tips For Traveling in France Like a Local

Traveling in France can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but it’s important to remember that you are a visitor in someone else’s home. Luckily there are plenty of ways to make sure you have an authentic French experience while still respecting the culture and its people.

So, to ensure your trip is enjoyable, here are some tips for traveling in France like a local.

Try a Quiche Lorraine in Metz it's part of the culture
Try Local Cuisine

Learn some French before your trip. Even if it’s just a few basic phrases or a simple greeting, learning French will go a long way in helping you communicate with locals.

Be respectful of local customs. As an example, don’t ask for a doggy bag at a restaurant or if the water is safe for Americans. Both questions are out of the ordinary and are frowned upon.

Avoid taking pictures of people without permission. Nobody wants a tourist in their face snapping a photo. It’s impolite and borderline offensive. Most of the time, if you ask politely, French people will say yes.

Don’t ask too many personal questions. French people are more reserved than Americans. So, if you start asking questions like “How much do you earn?” you’ll likely raise a few eyebrows.

Don’t get frustrated if people don’t respond immediately; it might take time for them to warm up to you.

Don’t leave tips in restaurants. Leaving a tip is not customary. It’s as if you’re showing off how much money you have.

Get out of the big cities and explore the smaller towns. Paris is not the only city in France. You can’t say you’ve been to France, but then only spent two days in Paris. Step off the beaten path and explore a less popular region!

French cuisine plays a big role in the culture so trying something new will help you engage with locals. From traditional staples like coq au vin and steak tartare, there are tons of delicious dishes to sample. And, if you’re a foodie, be sure to visit Lyon. It’s the gastronomic capital of France!

Americans tend to talk loudly, especially in restaurants. Such volumes are considered rude in France. Respect the intimacy of others dining next to you and talk at a low volume.

Avoid the undeniable desire to put locks on bridges. In most places, it is forbidden because it destroys the infrastructure. If you feel that you are above the rules and want to do it anyway, someone will come by within a week and cut it off. So, it’s not worth your time or money.

Americans are typecast as being loud, invasive, and outgoing. And, while not every French person believes these stereotypes, you’re sure to stumble on a few who do. Don’t be offended and try to adapt to the people around you.

FAQs About Whether French People Like Americans

What do French people call Americans?

French people typically refer to Americans as “les Américains” or simply “Américains.” “Les Etats-Uniens” is another term, but it’s almost never used.

Is Paris friendly to American tourists?

Yes, Paris is generally friendly to American tourists. But French culture is very different from American culture so it’s best to be aware and respectful of the local customs.

Are French people friendly to tourists?

Yes, French people are friendly to tourists. If you are respectful and courteous of the French culture while you travel, you won’t have any problems.

What are French stereotypes USA?

French stereotypes of the USA focus on Americans being loud, overconfident, and materialistic. They are also seen as being obsessed with technology and modern conveniences. They tend to think that Americans have poor fashion sense and lack knowledge about fine dining. But it’s important to note that not all French people believe these stereotypes.

What do French people like from USA?

French people generally like American culture, such as pop music, television shows, and movies. They also enjoy well-known brands from the USA, including apparel and technology companies. Moreover, French people often appreciate the quality of American products and services. Many French people also have an affinity for iconic places in the United States like Monument Valley.

How can an American be polite in France?

The most important thing Americans can do to be polite in France is to learn and respect French customs. This includes speaking the language (or at least trying) and being mindful of local etiquette. Remember that simple courtesies are highly valued in France. And a sincere “merci” goes a long way!

Conclusion: Do French People Like Americans?

The answer to the question of whether French people like Americans is a resounding yes! But it’s still important to show respect while traveling in France. From being aware of cultural differences to learning a few French phrases, your efforts won’t go unnoticed. And don’t let existing stereotypes discourage you from visiting France. If you follow the tips I suggested here, you’ll be welcomed by locals throughout your journey. Bon voyage!


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Jen Ciesielski
Jen Ciesielski

Jen Ciesielski is the creator of Dabbling in Jet Lag. She has lived abroad for over ten years, traveled to more than 50 countries, and speaks French and English fluently. Her areas of expertise include moving abroad, learning languages, and travel planning. Originally from the United States, she now lives in France, where she has been for more than six years. She has also traveled extensively around the country. She shares her experiences as an expat living in France and helps thousands of people plan their trips every month.

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