Updated: May 26, 2018
Do you think the French are snobby, haughty and stuffy? They used to be, but they are not any more.
All in all, the French are more relaxed than they used to be, in many aspects – language, behavior, fashion, etc.
Their first encounter with a stranger is warmer than before; they are more and more helpful and friendly. When invited, you can now accept a drink without politely declining first and waiting for the expected second offer to say, “Oui, je veux bien!” (“yes, please!”).
They no longer make you feel that you are being watched, observed, and judged. They no longer add “Monsieur”, or “Madame”, or “Mademoiselle” after hello or goodbye. They use the formal subject pronoun less and less in the workplace and among adult friends.
This is not to say that they have lost their courteousness. Being more relaxed about life in general does not mean that you lose your manners. They have not! Even though they are no longer snobby, nor haughty, nor stuffy, the French are still courteous people. They still know and follow the rules of etiquette at all levels and in all situations. They still open a door to a lady – and the lady expects it, by the way, flattered, without rebelliously thinking that she can do it herself – She knows she can open the door, and she does not have to prove it.
The same goes with “ladies first” and many other rules of etiquette that will never be out of date because French women do not misinterpret those rules or feel belittled by them.
French women are confident and secure, and they do not feel offended by people with good manners.
Guys, if you hesitate to open a door to a modern French girl at the risk of annoying her, think no more. Instead, it will be at the much higher risk of getting a “Manners, please!” look on her face that you will never forget.
Manners still matter in France, and the French do not associate manners with sexism, snobbism, or passéism. What can I say?
They are simply part of our daily life, part of our culture over there.