About this site
- The Webmaster is Philippe Rochefort, a Frenchman married to
American writer Harriet Welty Rochefort (see picture).
- The purpose of this site is
to help American visitors better understand France and the French
and, hopefully, benefit from some tips on Life in France.
- A few figures : 1.5 million hits per year (2014), 0.3 million single visitors, annual growth rate >20%+, 6 pages per visit ; the most visited pages are : French issues, education, attitude, songs, Dos&Donts, unknown Paris, intercultural, provinces and history.
Philippe Rochefort and Harriet Welty Rochefort
From time to time,
I get messages from American (or French) visitors complaining
that the site is grossly anti-American (or systematically anti-French).
It is, in a way, reassuring to be criticized for two opposite
reasons ! The truth is that it is neither anti-American, nor
anti-French. I know and admire the two countries and the two
civilizations ; the only purpose of this site is to make Americans
better understand France and the French by illustrating differences
with the US and trying to give the reasons for them. I do not
think that when the French do something differently, it is either
BETTER or WORSE. It is just DIFFERENT. Recently, someone wrote
to me : "what do you acheive when you insult the americans
you are writing to in an effort to get them to see the glories
of france" (read more
negative messages). Well, frankly, I do not know how to answer
this question, which looks very strange to me. Since I do not
view the two people as superior vs. inferior, or right vs. wrong,
the question of anti - Americanism or anti - Frenchism of this
site is, for me, meaningless. It may happen that, because I am
French and I do not master the English language well enough,
the way I express things conveys a message different from what
I mean : in this case I do apologize for it. But if it is not
the reason for your being upset about the site, before you write
that it is "anti-American" (or anti-French), ask yourself
: what is it, really, to be anti-American (or anti-French)? Is
it being actively against me or is it just being different ?
Why ? etc... Read more about anti-Americanism,
see my page irksome France , see why it so difficult to criticize America and remember my suggestion : "first
understand, then judge" !
Is this site anti-religious ?
or : Am I anti-religion ? or : are the French anti-religion ? The
answers to these three questions are (respectively) : No, No and No. On my page about religion,
I try to give only facts. Why do I sometimes get such violent
About intercultural stereotypes.....
One could say : "this
site is filled with stereotypes" , "this is over-simplifying
and France is not like that, not all the French people react
the way you describe it", etc... Absolutely true. France
is a big country, the French people has multiple aspects and
what I may describe as typically French does not apply to everybody
in France and could be encountered also in Kansas or elsewhere.
But still, certain reactions and values are really typically
French. This site is designed to provide (hopefully) useful advice
to Americans who sometimes do not understand situations and people
in this very different context. Sometimes a good stereotype
can help !
WARNING : Most Americans are interested only in a stereotyped image of France (food, fashion, restaurants, strikes, ....) and do not want to know anything about today's France. This is why a book like "One year in Provence", full of "clichés", was such a success. Try to understand the "real" country !
This is not an academic study or a textbook, it's a blog. When I find a number I consider interesting to illustrate one of my points, I include it (with the source) but I do not update it. Do not be surprised to find numbers at different dates and please do not write to me to tell me they are not consistent : I know they can be. If you are working on an academic project, go back to the primary sources and quote them.