1. French people are rude - false! We thought the Italians were warm and friendly. Well, the French are certainly matching them. They have been kind, generous and interested. Our attempts at speaking French have been poor at best, yet despite this, the French people we have encountered have been patient, encouraging and laughed along with us, rather than at us.
2. French women do not get fat - false! There are as many ladies struggling with their weight in France as what there are everywhere else in the world. And trust me, when there is three aisles dedicated to cheese in a supermarket, you try staying wafer thin!
3. Dog poo reigns on the sidewalks - true! French people are definitely dog lovers. We have witnessed grown men pushing their dogs in a pram, carrying them in a basket and even in a handbag, a'la Paris Hilton! They do not however, consider picking up after their dogs as important, and instead it is a smelly obstacle on footpaths and lane ways.
4. French men are seducers - true! Last weekend I was (innocently) ordering drinks at a bar when a lovely looking French man whispered something hypnotically to me. I laughed in a daze of delight and then he went in for the pash. Surreal and quite flattering, although somewhat disturbing for the female bartender who went running out to Dave, screaming in panic. What a memory!
5. French drivers are crazy - false! In fact all across Europe there is a sense of altruism on the roads that we probably miss in Australia. Driving seems to work well based on two simple rules: a) Get the hell out of the fast lane, and b) Be patient and flexible. At the end of the day medieval roads weren't designed with cars in mind so a bit of creative driving and calmness goes a long way.