The webmaster of this site

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.It is not an academic site (although I wrote my PhD dissertation about American Firms in France) : it is more a Did-You-Know-That? site.


Philippe Rochefort and wife Harriet Welty Rochefort

 My personal opinions

On this site, I try to give balanced opinions but of course I have my own opinion about things. I express some of them on the Editorial pages. Please visit them and see :



Together or separately (click for information),

A question from the Webmaster : is this site anti-American or anti-French?   An important disclaimer...

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" !

Philippe Rochefort

About the design of this site
This site has has more than half a million single visitors a year. It is very likely that most, who appreciate the content, find the design corny, totally outdated, or worse. Understandably some of them send me negative comments about the design and suggest improving it dramatically and even, some of them, very nicely, offer to help me to do it.
I have hesitated a lot but I decided to keep it as is. Why ? Masochism ? An archaic aesthetic taste? Miserliness ? Laziness ? All of them and none ! In fact, I started this site in 1997, when none of today's wonderful software already existed and I did it with the tools I had, including writing instructions in html.

Over the years, I used a more efficient software but I was able to keep one of the main characteristics of the site : a very high number of internal links (more than 5,000 as of today). If I transfered the site to a packaged design, I would have to re-write the links, one by one and I guess I am too lazy for that. So please forgive me and adjust to my old-style design if you can stand it. Thank you for your visit anyway. (Credit)
Let's remain traditional !

 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 !

About numbers

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.

About religion

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 emails ?

See related pages : diary pages, family site, favourite links, etc...

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Harriet Welty Rochefort writes articles and books about France and the French. Order her books :

  • "Joie de Vivre", Secrets of Wining, Dining and Romancing like the French, St.Martin's Press, New York, 2012
  • "French Toast, An American in Paris Celebrates The Maddening Mysteries of the French", St.Martin's Press, New York, 1999
  • "French Fried, The Culinary Capers of An American in Paris", St.Martin's Press, New York, 2001

More on Harriet's books (excerpts, upcoming events, testimonials, etc..)

To email me

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