episode 2: stereotypes

In this second episode of the France project we look at stereotypes and how they influence the way we see a country.

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In Part One of the show I head over to the Champs de Mars and the square in front of Notre Dame and chat to tourists about their experiences in France and their encounters with the French. In Part Two I chat to Sigmund Frog, a very well-travelled Frenchman, about how stereotypes of France have affected him when he has been overseas. In Part Three you’ll hear some of my thoughts about how stereotypes can influence the way we travel.

Part 1: on the street interviews

1 - Anirban

Place of origin: Calcutta in India
Particularly surprised by the number of different dog breeds!

2 – Tor Jakob

Place of origin: Norway
Came to Paris just to watch the end of the Tour de France.

3 - Renata & Nathalia

Place of origin: San Paolo in Brazil
Renata was thrilled to see that tourists are treated much better than they used to be.

4 - Adrian & Amy4 – Adrian & Amy

Place of origin: Melbourne, Australia
Amy got quite emotional when seeing the Eiffel Tower for the first time and Adrian thought that was a bit weird… In a good way, of course.

5 - Becky & Dave5 – Becky & Dave

Place of origin: Sydney, Australia
Were very good-humoured about us gatecrashing their romantic picnic!

6 –  Marta & Bob

Places of origin: Cuba and the United States, currently Washington DC
Had a lot to say about how attitudes towards tourists have changed in France over the years.

7 - Randi & Jan7 – Randi & Jan

Places of origin: Norway and Ottowa, Canada
Were shopping up a storm on a girl’s trip to France. And laughed. A lot.

Dieppe and Kamal8 – Dieppe and Kamal

Place of origin: Perth, Australia
Were impressed by the multiculturalism and wanted to visit the night markets.

9 – Maren

Place of origin: Germany
Thinks that the French are a bit too quiet for her liking!

10 - Imran & Maria10 – Imran & Maria

Place of origin: Manchester, England
Were extremely thrilled to be in France but disappointed that they hadn’t seen any mimes yet.


Sigmund FrogPart 2: tête-à-tête
with Sigmund Frog

I wanted to find out what impact stereotypes can have on people outside of their country of origin, so I decided to have a chat with my friend Sigmund Frog, a French guy who has lived in several different countries – including Sweden, Thailand and America. We chatted about the different stereotypes people have about France and, interspersed with hilarious anecdotes, how that influenced their perceptions of him when he was travelling or living in other countries.

Sigmund FrogWe talk about how his behaviour sometimes changed in order to live up to the stereotypes and why, and whether he experienced any “cultural cringe” in relation to France. We talk about the different stereotypes of French people in different countries, then get into the specifics of the true and untrue stereotypes of French stereotypes: whether they’re flirtatious, enjoy extra-marital affairs, are they good lovers, are the women hairy and do they sunbathe topless, and much more!


Part 3: musings

In the final part of the show I think about all the things that I’ve heard. I wonder how much of an influence can stereotypes really have and how much can that impact the way you feel about a place and the experiences you have when you’re travelling. [Read the full transcript]


Full picture gallery

  • Notre Dame
  • Amy & Adrian (Australia), in front of the Eiffel Tower
  • Imran & Maria
    Imran & Maria (England), beside Notre Dame
  • Becky & Dave
    Dave & Becky (Australia), on the Champs de Mars
  • Randi & Jan
    Randi (Norway) & Jan (Canada), in front of Notre Dame
  • Dieppe & Kamal
    Dieppe & Kamal (Australia), beside Notre Dame
  • Sigmund Frog
    Sigmund Frog (France), in front of the Eiffel Tower
  • Sigmund Frog
    Sigmund Frog (France), in front of the Eiffel Tower
  • Sigmund Frog
    Sigmund Frog (France), in front of the Eiffel Tower

All the people featured in this picture gallery gave permission for their photos to be published. Thankyou to everyone for being such great sports!

Music featured in this episode


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Notre Dame
a podcast exploring
the je ne sais quoi
about life in France

created & produced
by Katia Grimmer-Laversanne
© 2012