The highs and lows of ‘growing up French’

Social media users in France described on Thursday how they have had to deal with a raft of misconceptions about the French that were revealed as the hashtag "GrowingUpFrench" soared to the top of Twitter trends.

The highs and lows of 'growing up French'
Many French people shared culinary memories of their French childhood. Photo: Massimo Barbieri/Flickr
The hashtag #GrowingUpFrench became the top trend on Twitter in France on Thursday, with thousands taking a trip down memory lane to share their favourite childhood television shows and characters, the music they used to listen to, or the US TV stars they had a crush on. 
It appears that the trend began by French tweeters who grew up abroad, or who have dual nationality, explaining why so many of the tweets (and indeed the hashtag itself) are in English. Later in the day, many French people joined in in their mother tongue, mainly to reminisce.
Regardless of the language, the tweets provided an interesting and amusing inside look into the misconceptions that many French forced to live with when growing up, especially when encountering foreigners in France or abroad. 
For example, many took the chance to point out that some people tend to think all French people are from Paris. In reality, only about two million people live in the French capital, while the population of France is over 65 million. 
Others were more forgiving, pointing out that some foreigners could at least throw in Cannes too, a town that's known worldwide for its international film festival. 
And sticking to the subject of the French capital, many talked of how the French capital wasn't quite the city of romance and love foreigners believed it was.
Others headed to the dinner table to pick on one of the more common misconceptions about the French – their dining habits. 
Other stereotypes were also broached with some tweeters lamenting having to grow up with others thinking they were a coward, a popular misconception made popular after France's quick surrender during World War II.

One tweeter even managed to combine most of these misconceptions into one short tweet:
For some social media users, it wasn't so much about the misconceptions from abroad, rather the pains they suffered themselves growing up French. One popular topic was language. This ranged from the most difficult of language faux pas in their mother tongue….

… to trying to adapt French words so foreigners could pronounce them too.
Others pointed out the difficulties of the dreaded English-language classes at school (… and we think the first tweeter meant 'hoovering'):

Some mentioned that growing up French was all getting used to the country's customs, such as French people's penchant for a good strike or their customary cheek kisses when greeting one another.

Elsewhere, food, glorious food was one of the hottest conversation topics on Twitter. And it's no surprise, French cuisine is a some of the most well known in the world and a key ingredient in French life. 


And lastly, among the thousands of tweets with the #GrowingUpFrench hashtag, some just picked on random elements of their upbringing to share with the world. Here's a selection. 

By Thursday afternoon the hashtag showed no signs of slowing down, as more and more French people joined in the English speakers. Click here to see the best tweets of the day, and here for the live stream as they come in. 

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