The five most surprising things about French men (according to a happily-married Brit)

The five most surprising things about French men (according to a happily-married Brit)
Are all French men brooding heartthrobs like actor Louis Garrel? Photo: AFP
When (happily married) British mum-of-three Natasha Alexander moved to France she thought she knew what to expect from French men, but there were some surprises in store...

Disclaimer – This is, obviously, just for fun and does not apply to all French men or all Brits by any means. And if my husband is reading this then the ogling of well-dressed French men was just in the name of research.


Do all French men cry? From what I’ve seen on French television it appears that a French man will cry and get emotional about anything. 

I’m all for men being more emotional. There is no shame showing your feelings but French men seem to take it to a different level.


Want to find a French man? They're all out having coffee. Photo: osons163/<a 46403977="""" href="Depositphotos

From the big reveal on a home makeover shows to a cake disaster on Le Meilleur Pâtissier (French version of The Great British Bake Off) the bottom lip goes and they start blubbering.

British men don’t cry. Except for deaths and possibly a marriage break-down but even that could be stretching it.

Coffee Mornings 

Now from where I hail from, women do coffee mornings. British men do not meet each other for coffee. They might grab one on the go but you’re more likely to find them in the pub than saying “let’s meet for coffee!” Never. Gonna. Happen.

In France though, the men are having coffee mornings. You will be hard pushed, in Normandy, to find two woman having a good old natter over a coffee after the school run. I do this with a friend and we are the only women in our Tabac.

Granted, some of the men are retirees, all sitting up the counter drinking dolls house cup of coffees adding copious amounts of sugar sans milk and sipping it from a tiny spoon. I met another friend in another location. I stopped her mid-flow and said, “take a look around” – it was coming up to lunch time (the 12 o’clock pumpkin church bells were ringing) – “there isn’t a single female in here”.  

Dress Sense

Sorry British Men, the French men are better dressed, even in the countryside.

They have an uncanny knack of just looking effortlessly well turned. A shirt, jeans and a cardi for the old folks, for the middle aged, a scarf tied around his neck with not an ounce of shame or embarrassment. Something a Brit would be laughed at in the street for wearing. They will wear skinny jeans even if they’re 50.

They rock the casual look. It’s a good job really, as I don’t think I’ve seen a French man get dressed up for any occasion, even weddings. If you know what type of event a three piece suit is worn at then please do let me know.

Take for example the chap that came to buy my son’s bike. He must have been late 40s and bald. Skinny, darkish jeans, loafers (with no socks showing obviously!), blazer buttoned at the middle, shirt and sun glasses.

And do you know what? They are mostly trim. Physically they look a bit better because the vast majority are not overweight. Not only that, they look younger than their age. I wouldn’t say they were generally better looking (not that I’ve been looking) but the presentation is slightly better.

Think Macron (apart from the height). 

Clearly all the crying and coffee is paying dividends

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Is Emmanuel Macron in better shape than the average 41-year-old Brit? Photo: AFP

Fun Time Frankie

I have noticed that a French dad, in particular, is up for a fun time when out and about at any family attraction.

In fact, I’d say they’ve bought the theme park ticket for them rather than the kids. That’s not to say a Brit dad doesn’t enjoy a theme park but given a choice between watching the footie or a day out with the family – I’m going to suggest he’s opting for the ‘me time’. 

A French dad is up for all the fun at the fair and, my gawd witness them on a campsite and I don’t think you’ll see them happier. 

Not only that, I have never heard of the head of the Parent Teachers Association being a bloke in the UK. 

Yes, the dads would get roped into helping set up etc (usually by their partner who was on the PTA) but actually running the whole set up? Nope. Here, it’s the norm. The dad is head of the PTA. Bravo.


This is actually a national past time – men, women, children and dogs.

It’s quite off putting when you first arrive, as us Brits consider it to be the height of bad manners to stare at people. Not so here, and French men are no exception. But they do have a bit of a poker face – you’ll never know if they’re staring because you disgust or delight them. It’s all a bit of a mystery.

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Natasha Alexander does social media management for companies in Normandy and across France and also blogs about her move to France at Our Normandy Life. Find out more here.

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