Main Differences Between French Men And British Men

By: Muriel

Every time I watch a TV series, there is a French man having an affair with one of the main characters. My new favourite series, Homeland, is no exception: Saul’s wife, Mira, is falling for a French colleague. So, what makes French men so appealing? Is it a stereotype only? Come to think of it, well, I am not sure it is. I would know, I used to be surrounded by French men because I studied science. Well, obviously, since I moved to London, things have changed quite a bit. I believe that I am therefore is a unique position to compile for you a list of the main differences between French men and their British counterparts. Feel free to add to it, to agree, or to disagree. After all, I am still learning (aren’t we all?).

1. Sense of fashion

First of all, French men know how to dress. They are always immaculate and don't do fashion faux pas such as wearing too many stripes or having sport socks with a business suit. Take note. They also seem to look good effortlessly. This is obviously not true. I had to give up having a shower in the morning because my (French) husband spends forever in the bathroom. I shower in the evening. Sad but true. Relationships are about compromise. In France, in the UK and also anywhere else. Sigh;

2. Chivalry

French guys -young or old- also keep the door open for you. They wait for you even when you have to trot in high heels. They make it look completely natural. It doesn't feel sexist or anything. They don't slam the door in your face as is so often the case over here. They make sure that you go home safely after a night out, even if you are not particularly friendly. Not in the UK. A few years ago, after an office Christmas party, I was slightly drunk (you have to let your hair down sometimes, right?). My British colleagues didn't make sure I managed to get back home. They couldn't care less. This is something a French guy would not do, not even to his worst enemy. I am still shocked. They didn't understand why I was a lot less nice to them the day after. They still don't. Anyway: lesson learned - I don't get drunk anymore. Or at least not with British guys;

3. The accent

All my female friends say that, whenever they hear a guy speak with a French accent, they melt. Well, it doesn’t do anything for me. Quite the opposite in fact. When I hear a French guy speak English, I automatically switch to French. And if the guy persists speaking English, I sigh. I get bored. Maybe I am becoming cynical, after all.

That said, I love a guy with a British accent. I find it cute. What I love even more is when a British guy says something that can mean one thing and its complete opposite, like ‘I don’t disagree’. It keeps me busy for the whole day, trying to figure out what he means. I can read French guys pretty easily. Not British men;

4. Sense of humour

It took me a while to get it –and sometimes I still don’t-, but there is such a thing as a British sense of humour. And I love it. Most British men have this amazing ability to laugh at themselves, warts and all. It can be dry, sarcastic and at first it might not even sound funny, but I usually get it a bit later. Let’s just say that French men usually laugh at someone else’s expenses;

5. Drinking Preferences

Well, this is pretty straightforward. The Brits drink beer. Beer in England pre-dates other alcoholic drinks produced in England. We French drink wine or champagne.

And when they don’t drink beer, British men usually have a cup of tea. Of course they do. We French like to have an espresso coffee;

6. The dating game

Every month or so, one of my friends comes to cry on my shoulder because she fancies a British guy and he hasn’t made a move yet. French men are forward. Some even say heavy. Well, British guys aren’t, and my friends never seem to know where they stand. When they make the cardinal mistake of trying to make the first move, the guys usually chicken out. They can’t win. They have to wait.

Given the countless heartbreaks this situation seems to have caused, I am therefore taking the liberty of giving some free advice to British guys out there: make a move now (especially if your first name starts with G. and you are interested in a friend of mine. Just saying).

Honesty, guys, make a move. Tell her you like her;

7. Sports

French usually watch football and rugby. British guys indulge in cricket and golf as well. Do not think that you will be able to watch anything on the telly during the Ashes. Now you are warned;

8. Education

Most schools are single sex this side of the channel. Well, it is not the case in France, where boys and girls are educated together. Some British men are still ill at ease around women, because they are not used to interacting with them. Some women find British men’s clumsiness old-fashioned and charming, others can’t run away fast enough from what they perceive to be a sexist way to behave. After all, it is all a matter of perspective. As for French men, well, let’s just say that most of them are very much at ease around women. A bit too much sometimes;

9. Cold

British men are so used to the cold that they don’t feel it any more. French men are always wrapped up to keep warm, whereas British men run in short pants even when it is snowing. They never ever have a coat on, even during the cold British winter. They seem to be immune to the cold. It is a case of successful adaptation to adverse weather conditions;

What are your views? Did I miss anything? Please let me know.

About the author

Expat Blog ListingMuriel is a French expat living in England. Blog description: A blog of a self proclaimed Yummy Mummy living in London
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Contest Comments » There are 12 comments

Caroline Serfass wrote 10 years ago:

I am French and have lived in London for the past 12 years. Muriel is spot on on all counts!

Judith wrote 10 years ago:

I am French, living in London and I completely agree with Muriel! Especially on the British sense of humour. I didn't get it before moving to London but now I just love it!

SARAH HAGUE wrote 10 years ago:

There must be something wrong with me! When I was married I didn't get one single proposition to have an affair. In fact, I was regarded as an amoeba by all the French men around me. It was only when I went to England that I was entertained to flirtatious badinage. Bizarre. I must be someone who attracts exceptions to the rule because my dearly beloved dislikes being snappily dressed and spends all his time in synthetic black tee shirts and easy-wash trousers. But then he is a biker... On the other hand, my eldest son is very smooth with girls and always has been. That must be his French side! Great selection of observations Muriel. Vive les differences!

Joanna wrote 10 years ago:

I enjoyed this very much - particularly because I wanted to see a French woman's appraisal of British males :-) My French husband lines up with most of the above - tidy appearance, and more of a gentleman than most men I met in Britain (where on earth did England get its reputation for chivalry?) I, on the other hand, do not behave like a Frenchwoman, and regularly get told off for my windswept hair, burping and mismatching socks. Well, they do say that opposites attract: maybe that explains the cross-Channel entente cordiale :-)

Janine wrote 10 years ago:

According to my observations, I agree with most of your points except the dating game - I found English men just as forward and sleazy as I found French men, and Italian men, and a lot of men for that matter...maybe its me!

Um, Muriel... I hate to burst your bubble, but Saul's wife is having an affair with an Israe-li Mossad agent... So... now, what comparisons do you wish to make?

Thomas Brown wrote 10 years ago:

Any experience with American men? I'd love to hear it.

Rochelle Gordon wrote 10 years ago:

I am American and have worked with both French and British men. I really enjoyed what you wrote and from my limited perspective, it rings true. I am going to share this link with a French girlfriend who lived in London with her Irish husband for a while. I think she will enjoy it also. I wish you luck on your entry.

Carolina HeartStrings wrote 10 years ago:

I love differences. Brits vs. French vs. US. North vs. South, here. It makes life interesting. Enjoyable post Mureil!

Joy Manuel wrote 10 years ago:

I don't have any valuable input to add to the list. But I must say this was an entertaining list! I particularly loved #6, hehehe.....

Sonia Marsh/Gutsy Living wrote 10 years ago:

Having lived in France and the UK, (35 years ago,)I agree with everything in Muriel's post. I am surprised things haven't changed though, especially regarding the younger British men being a little more upfront when they like a woman, or perhaps their sense of style improving. There is one thing I'd love to compare: the British and the American men, since I have lived in California for over 30 years now, and married an American.

David Caldwell wrote 10 years ago:

I never realised there were French Men in London. What happened to the old rule that they needed to be clearly identifiable by wearing a beret, having a necklace of onions and puff on Gitanes? However Muriel has clearly done her research and I defer to her entertaining experience in this field!

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