What Is the Culture Like in France?

While France has a diverse culture that varies by region, there are certain social conventions that can be regarded as traits of French culture as a whole. For example, the French tend to have an overall implicit formality and conformity in how they dress and act. They are proud of their language and treat it with a respect that is not often found in other societies.

The French tend to dress more formally than Americans, even in informal situations such as college classes. Jeans and sneakers are not a common sight around France. In addition, the French use often honorifics in their speech. People are addressed as "Monsieur" or "Madame", and the formal word for "you" is used to show respect. The informal version is only used when speaking to children or if granted permission by the recipient.

The French people generally enjoy discussions and debates on topics not often found in casual conversation in the United States. Topics such as current events, politics and religion are acceptable forms of small talk. Many people enjoy arguing, and discussions may seem more aggressive than those in the U.S.

French society places a high importance on food and the enjoyment of it, although breakfast tends to be simple. Lunch and dinner, by contrast, are the main meals of the day. It is common for these meals, especially those that are formal, to have four courses.