Parisian Living

L’Amour Parisien: 10 Signs I Live With a Frenchman

by Sylvia Sabes
Written By

Sylvia Sabes

Sylvia tells stories through images and words. She has worked as a Creative Director for international ad campaigns like Cartier and LOreal, and as a National Award winning Polaroid photographer. She writes and shoots all things Paris and beyond… She lives in Paris and the French Basque Region. View Sylvia Sabes's Website

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37 comments on “L’Amour Parisien: 10 Signs I Live With a Frenchman

Vous avez raison ! Mais mon français vient de Châteauroux et travail dans l’agriculture, donc il n’est pas tout à fait parisien…

J’ai beaucoup ri en lisant ça !
C’est certainement représentatif d’une espèce particulière d’hommes : le “PARISIEN”. Mais c’est une espèce à part tout comme la “parisienne”.

Mais n’oubliez pas que Paris est à part et ne représente pas la France.

Alsace! Yum! I love their gingerbread and wines.
I get the “non”, too. Its like a knee jerk response that he uses before actually thinking about what was jsut said. And we’ve got the same distaste for the word chéri in my home. I can almost see the hair at the name of his neck stand on end when I slip and use it. For some reason, “darling” works, though!
Cheers. S

Sylvia, my Frenchman is an oddball (from Alsace).

In our household I often hear the word Non, which Is a quintessential French trait. I’ve also become familiar with constant moaning from morning to bed time about anything and everything. Patience is not one of his virtues. He eats cornichons like there was no tomorrow. For him it wouldn’t be Christmas without eating Foie gras.

However he is not very French in other areas. He doesn’t like baguettes or any white bread. He hates going shopping and his wardrobe is quite frankly pathetic. The only thing that belongs to him in the bathroom is his toothbrush. He regularly complains about the space taken by my skincare products. He hates with a passion the word chérie.

After 20 years I still love him despite our cultural differences.

Hi Ann,
Last night I made risotto. Once again, bread was requested! Do you have any particular signs that you’re living with a Frenchman?
Cheers. S

Hi Daria,
I’d love to hear your 10 signs that you’re living with a Frenchman!
Cheers. S

Hi Joanne, Funny you should mention the lack of hats! When the French start wearing their bonnets, that’s when you know its trally cold out. So far, we’ve had a hat free winter!
Cheers. S

I’ve been with a Frenchman for 20 years and none of the above is applicable to him.
I read Kasia’s comment about Italian men. I’m originally from Italy and I must say that Italian men can be a lot worse than their French counterparts in the ego department.

Oh, yes, the shoes! I was in Paris for several bone – chilling days a few January’s ago, and the first things I noticed were the men’s wonderful shoes, the fact that none of the local women were wearing hats, and the beautifully – cut coats on Parisians of both genders.

I’ve been with the same guy for 7 years now (a French man from the up north) but none of this applied, except maybe for n°9 🙂

Hi Maite,
These are absolutely generalisations. Its great you’ve found the perfect Frenchman for you!

Hi Theresa,
Follow me on FB, I’ll be answering that question very soon!

Hi Piaf,
Is yours reading a BD on this chilly Sunday evening, mine is ?
Cheers. S

Hi Cecilia,
En ce moment, au musée des Arts et Métiers, il y a un expo sur Bilal, un illustrateur de BD. Et aux enchères il y a des oeuvres qui partent à plus de 100000 euros !

Hi Erica,
The voting!!! Mr French is always surprised when my multi-culture teens expect him to answer that question, and they can’t understand why he won’t tell them.

Hi Avinash,
Never fear. Frenchmen have written plenty about Parisiennes!
Cheers. S

Hi Gold digger,
Very industrious for a millionaire.
Cheers. S

Kashia! I’d love to read what its like living with an Italian.
Let’s hear it…
Cheers. S

Je suis francophone Américain. J’ai une amie de Paris. Son épouse et mon marie dis souvent “c’est parce qu’Il son Français.

Married to a bonafide French man for 25 years (22 living in France) I must disagree. He hangs around the house in his underwear, goes out looking like an unmade bed, wears his clothes until they start falling apart because he hates shopping for himself and refuses to accompany me, doesn’t polish his shoes ’cause you can’t polish flip-flops, his bathroom clutter is limited to disposable razors and a collection of old toothbrushes, asks what we’re having for dinner before buying bread (no bread with pasta!), has few BD’s but thousands of DVD’s and he although a ski instructor when younger we haven’t gone in years….

Been married to bonafide French man for close to 25 years (22 living in France) and he is the antithesis of everything you mention. Loves to hang around the house in his underwear, goes out looking like an unmade bed and absolutely hates shopping, even for himself.

Sounds delightful, where can I get one (Frenchman)??? I would love for a man (with fashion sense) to go shopping with me and pick-out my clothes.

Kasia . . . I sense a whole new post?!!

While some of these traits can be charming, I’m happy to be living in Paris with an Italian man! 😉

My Frenchman never comes down for breakfast without taking a shower and being fully dressed. He loves his bread so much he is, in fact, at this very moment baking some. He adores arguing . . . and he never tells who he voted for. That is a huge ‘non non’ for the French apparently! – Erica

Avinash S, Limaye

See the modesty of Frenchmen, not a single one have commented,upon there ladies.

I spent a week in Paris with the Moroccan Millionaire, who was not French but who had gone to college in Paris and had gotten his PhD there as well.

He polished his shoes every day:

Hi Michael,
Thank you. I’d love to swap notes someday!

Hi Lynn,
And merci! Its a bit daunting to talk about cultural differences; trying to separate the clichés from personal experiences, and not confusing them with local customs. Here’s hoping tomorrow’s grasse matinée includes breakfast in bed!

Hi Maria,
My Mr French would be shocked to hear that. He showers every day, some times twice. I think you got very unlucky, I haven’t run into that issue here since the 80’s, when there was a simultaneous metro strike and a heat wave!

Hi Diane, Point well taken, and a great idea for another piece; when Parisans forget they’re not the center of the world!
Cheers. S

Perfectly analysed and described Sylvia. And I can say that this applies in “non-traditional” French-American marriages too!

Piaf Vintage French

Haha, what a great article! I definitely recognize some of these in my own French husband, namely nos. 4 (but then again, we live in the Alps so not going skiing every single year would feel like a crime and an affront to the bounties of French geography), 5, 7 and 9 (yes, what is up with having bread with pasta and potatoes!! I find this so strange as well….but also so very French!).

J’ai eu un petit ami français, il aimait lire des bandes dessinées, j’ai pensé qu’il était enfant. ja! et bon, c’ est la vie!!

Suis Cecilia, je suis Argentine.

While some of these things are certainly true, I’m not sure if these will apply to men outside of Paris. When I dated a Breton, there were certainly lots of days when we didn’t get out of our t-shirts and sweat pants the entire day!

I was in Paris last June and French men over all are beautifully dressed, with perfect scruffy hair and amazing shoes. Fabulous suits, well tailored, but I will never understand why 90% of them when I got near them have horrible under arm odor. Is there a cultural thing, not to wear deodorant or aniipersperant….on both flights to and from Paris I sat next to a Frenchman and it was undeniably offensive.

Nailed it! The only difference in our home is that Sundays are for grasse matinée, and for shoe-shining and ironing (for him!). And sweats except when I’m doing last minute shopping for the week…

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