• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3
'Foreigners should adapt to France': How well have you?
How well have you adapted to life in France?

'Foreigners should adapt to France': How well have you?

The Local · 15 Feb 2016, 16:47

Published: 15 Feb 2016 16:47 GMT+01:00
Updated: 15 Feb 2016 16:47 GMT+01:00

“It’s not up to France to adapt to foreigners, it’s up to foreigners to adapt to France,” said Laurent Wauquiez the second in command of France's Les Republicains party.

Nicolas Sarkozy's deputy said “there’s danger of a cultural and political disintegration” in the country unless foreigners' assimilate.

Well to be fair Mr Wauquiez, it's easier for some than others to adapt to la vie française.

But if you're questioning how well you have adapted, then run through this check list to find out.

How many of these can you tick off? Above 45 and you pass the Wauquiez test (and can stay in peace).

1. You know "salut" means both "hello" and "goodbye" and are totally comfortable with that.

2. You have your CV translated into French, but it doesn't say "résumé" at the top.

3. You know "plus" means both "more" and "none left" and are totally comfortable with that. 

4. You no longer complain about dog poo on the sidewalk because you’ve developed an unbelievable sixth sense for avoiding it.

5. Parallel parking is an art that you’ve mastered by not caring about scratched or dented bumpers.

6. You’ve given up going to the gym. Sprinting down Metro stairs and dashing into the train milliseconds before the doors close is exercise enough.

7.You’ve given up red solo cups and beer pong for quiet, calm French “soirées”: a small group of friends having lively intellectual conversations over a bottle (or two if you're lucky) of wine. 

8. You have a job that actually requires you to speak some French.

9. You speak French well enough to practice the celebrated Gallic art of puns and wordplay. 

10. You’ve learned to make all kinds of interesting mouth sounds that you never knew were possible, including saying "oui" at the same time as breathing in.

11. You’ve also added a plethora of Gallic gesticulations to your repertoire, including this one (below) for saying "drunk".

Photo: The Local

12. You’re not concerned about the sex lives of politicians as long as they get the job done, but you complain frequently that they never get the job done.

13. Once a stressed-out workaholic, you wax lyrical about the 35-hour work week, the five weeks paid vacation, the extra "RTT" days, the restaurant vouchers and you haven't had a walking lunch (no typo) for months.

14. You’ve stopped worrying about deadlines and loss of profits and instead join much of the country for a month long vacation in August.

15. You think nothing of saying to a friend, “Maybe you should go easy on the cheese tonight, your thighs are looking a bit plump”. (But of course you wouldn’t suggest giving up cheese altogether, mon dieu.)

16. Your road rage has transformed from angry muttering to full-on shouting matches with pedestrians and fellow motorists.

17. You are completely at one with French bureaucracy and have a huge filing cabinet at home full of pieces of paper you are too scared to throw away.

Photo: Flickr/TheeErin

18. You no longer complain that the French welfare system is too generous to unemployed "chomeurs" after having had at least two lengthy periods out of work, when you didn't have to call mum and dad back home for money.

19. You no longer tip a euro every time you order a drink at a bar. In fact, you no longer tip at all. And you don't feel guilty.

20. You no longer try to get a pay rise by getting drunk and asking your boss on a work's night out but calmly make an appointment to speak to them during work hours. 

21. You say “bonjour” in waiting rooms and stores and elevators, but you never smile too much. 

22. That sunny smile, once aimed at anyone from your boss to your waitress, is now reserved only for close friends and family and when you're actually happy.

23. You look forward to May and filling in you annual tax returns.

24. You no longer use “How are you?” as a greeting without an expected answer, but only ask if you actually care.

25. You’ve traded in a monstrous Starbucks latté on-the-go for a tiny espresso on the terrace.

Photo: Flickr/victorillen

26. You no longer wish France would change but instead long for it to stay the same.

27. You don’t think twice about giving your friend constructive criticism on her cooking at her dinner party.

28. You wear "speedos" to the public swimming pool without blushing.

29. You agree that the French language needs to be protected and promoted against the omnipotence of English.

30. You shake your head when you hear long-term expats who don't speak French or don't even try.

31 You can no longer imagine having a quick meal in front of the TV… Your reverence for a lingering three-course meal is the closest you come to having a religion.

32. You hide your religious beliefs from others fearing a verbal lynching.

33. When you move into a new apartment, you think it’s totally normal to have to buy cupboards, a refrigerator, a microwave, an oven, a washing machine, and other appliances you previously took for granted. 

34. You’ve got used to watching Friends and the Simpsons, but dubbed in French.

35. You’ve given up Marmite, Vegemite, or peanut butter for Nutella.

Photo: Flickr/moogs

36. Whereas your French cheese knowledge once consisted of "smelly" and “blue", you can now recognize and describe at least a couple dozen different varieties.

37. You no longer sweat at dinner parties when the cheese board comes out, because you know how to cut it.

38. You complain about the policies of the French government rather than the one in your home country.

39. You hate stereotypes of French people and your ears burn at criticism of France by other foreigners.

40. You accept strikes are held by "people fighting for their livelihoods" (except taxi drivers).

41. You don't think jobseekers are benefit scroungers, but that they are just claiming what they have paid into the system.

42. You can pronounce the French word for "écureuil" without swallowing your tongue.

43. You now play "pétanque" with metal balls in the local square rather than with multi-coloured plastic ones on a Brittany beach.

44. You have a real French friend, maybe two.

45.  You remember to take €23 in cash when you go to see the doctor.

46. You know you'll get some of that €23 back because you managed to get a "carte vitale".

47. You accept that as a vegan you're always going to be looked at weirdly.

48. For everyone else, you're not bothered if beef turns out to be horse. And you've never eaten frogs legs.

49. You speak French to fellow English-speakers, when there are French people in the room.

50. When a French politician says "foreigners should adapt to France" you totally agree (but wish they wouldn't say it all the time.)

by Katie Warren/Ben McPartland

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Special ops units to police Tour de France for first time
Photo: AFP

France is taking security at the Tour de France extremely seriously this year.

How French rail services will be hit by this week's strike
Photo: AFP

Another tricky couple of days for rail travel lie ahead this week.

French fuel crisis: One fifth of petrol stations run dry
Photo: AFP

Riot police clear blockades but some 2,400 petrol stations are running dry in France.

Here is where France is hit hardest by fuel shortages
Photo: Fuel comparison site Essence

UPDATED: With 2,400 petrol stations across France either empty or running out of fuel, here's a look at which parts of the country are the most affected.

Revolutionary French sex tech toy aims to break taboo
Photo: B-Sensory

An award-winning sex tech toy from France promises to revolutionize the erotic industry and break a few taboos along the way.

Guest blog
Five reasons Lille should actually be part of Belgium
Photo: Hailemichael FISEHA/Flickr

It's technically in France, but does it really belong there?

Le Thought du Jour
Don't panic: What can the French do if there's no fuel?
Photo: AFP

The French government is saying don't panic... but what ARE we supposed to do?

Paris transport workers set to stage 'indefinite strike'
Photo: AFP

Get ready for (more) strikes from workers on the Paris transport network. And there may be no end in sight.

Strikes, fuel, security: France faces Euro 2016 headaches
Photos: AFP

As the Euro 2016 football tournament approaches there are concerns that it could turn into a fiasco given the prospect of rail strikes, street protests, petrol shortages and security "failings" at the national stadium.

Say 'au revoir' to the Paris Metro ticket
Photo: clogsilk/Flickr

It will soon be the end of a very long era.

Travel
It will soon be time to say 'au revoir' to the Paris Metro ticket
Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
Culture
Revealed: The ultimate sex map of France
National
Migrants at Calais camp given dignity in death
International
How good is security at Charles de Gaulle airport?
Culture
How to make a traditional French cassoulet
Culture
IN PICS: Commuter trains in Paris get royal makeover
International
Terror attack 'likeliest cause' of missing EgyptAir plane
International
Who was on board the missing EgyptAir flight from Paris?
Lifestyle
New map reveals Paris flat prices by Metro station
Culture
Paris: Here's how to find French cinema in English
Culture
How to say 'OUCH' in French (and ten other sounds)
National
Get ready: France to be hit by week of transport strikes
Culture
France readies for first national 'motorway party'
National
Is this the eco-solution to France's wild-peeing plague?
Sport
Paris mayor wants Seine to be 'swimmable' before Olympics
National
IN PICTURES: Police car torched in Paris protests
National
Why there's another rail strike in France and more to come
National
Why does 'everyone in France hate the police'?
Culture
Foolproof ways to make French friends in France
National
Seventeen French ex-ministers vow to shine light on sex harassment
Lifestyle
French Riviera mega-mansion faces being bulldozed
Culture
Eight ways the French are different to Parisians
Features
Paris Fringe Festival to showcase English arts scene
2,740
jobs available