Why it pays to be late in France
It is a truth universally known that a typical French woman is one who exudes timeless glamour, has the ability to look chic at any time of the day, enjoys an enviable lifestyle and has a certain je ne sais quoi that makes her irresistible to men, much to the envy of women outside of France.
Though evidently this is a rather clichéd image, one that has taken on a mythological force, it is, nevertheless, one that has sway, and as such, many females settling into life in the country can feel intimated.
However, according to Géraldine Lepère, a French author who runs Comme une Francaise, a company that helps “guide foreign women through the maze of integration in France”, there isn’t any real need to feel threatened.
“Our reputation is such that they get the impression they’re doing it all wrong,” the 27-year-old explains. “We daunt them, so I break down the clichés and explain without taboos our codes – ones we don’t even know we have.”
Having experienced the expat life herself when she relocated to Leeds in the UK, Ms Lepère has developed a sound understanding of the difficulties of adjusting to a new way of life, and appreciates that cultural differences can be a difficult thing to get used to.
On her return to France, she decided to put her new found knowledge to good use and dispel some of the myths that surround French women and the country’s society at large.
She offers two courses, one called Moving to France and the other Your Vie En Rose. The first is pretty self-explanatory, giving tips to expats on how to prepare for a move and what to do when they first arrive in the country.
The second is a much more detailed course, which focuses on getting expats well-versed with everything and anything French-related. This involves learning how to speak in French, make French friends, eat like a French woman and understand French fashion.
Little idiosyncrasies include subtle differences about punctuality, for example. In the UK, this is a must, and people frown at others who are late. In France, however, arriving on time for a social is not so much a bad thing, but a faux pas. No one will be there – everyone is always running late (though keep it to 20 minutes max).
Ms Lepère highlights that one area that French people are particularly sensitive over is good wine. In general, this is a country that takes this alcoholic beverage very seriously, and given its renown in its cultivation – Bordeaux and Burgundy’s worldwide clout – it is wise to do some research when entertaining guests or attending a soiree.
“I believe fun, honesty and deep caring are the best ways to guide you,” she says. “I want you to go out and enjoy this new life. To taste everything and have fun. To understand and go back richer of this great time of your life.”
If you’re moving to France, find out how our international removals team can help to arrange packing, storage and transportation on your behalf.