Travel News

I’m an expat living in France – here’s how to make the locals love you

Simon Calder’s Travel

I’d always been told that the French were cold. That integrating yourself here was an uphill battle. That breaking into firmly established French friendship groups was tougher than shucking an oyster with a blunt knife. But after two and a half years here, many of my closest friends are French. So what’s the secret to getting in?

French friendship groups are a hotchpotch of every different style, interest and way of life, and herein is your golden ticket. You, with your funny British accent and odd ways, are different, so there’s a spot waiting for you.

At home in the UK, my best friends in the world, a tight-knit group of British girls, all evolved together a little like an American high school cliché. We all look rather similar, dress rather similarly, and have similar interests. It’s different in France: childhood friendships often endure here, but from my experience they don’t develop a communal style and taste. The heavy metal fans and house lovers hang out together harmoniously.

Socialising over good food and wine is a good way to bond with the French

(Getty Images)

Read more on France travel:

The single most important thing you can do to get French people to love you is make an effort speaking the language. If you can’t communicate with people, how do you expect to form a connection with them? It doesn’t matter if your French is faltering — you’ll always find people ready to be patient with you. What they’re not likely to be so patient with is the arrogance of expecting everyone else to make the effort and speak in English just for you. Mistakes happen, even when you’ve lived here for years, so be prepared to laugh at yourself and turn them into anecdotes. I recently mixed up ‘puppy’ and ‘toilet’ (‘chiot’ and ‘chiotte’), much to the amusement of all around me as I declared I’d like to adopt a toilet.

The author running a half-marathon with French pals

(Anna Richards)

Getting drunk and disorderly may be how we made friends as teenagers, but it’s not the way to endear yourself to the French, especially as we Brits already have a (deservedly) bad reputation for drunken behaviour abroad. The French love a drink, and sharing a glass of wine and some good food is a great way to bond with people, but vomiting up said food and shouting obnoxiously in ever more incomprehensible English? Not so…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at The Independent Travel…