French don't like americans and this is not a safe place for americans
That's pure GOP propaganda... Being able to criticize the former G.W. Bush administration does not mean or imply we have anything against americans. And it's a safe place here. There are still far less weapons than people here.
French don't speak english.
It used to be true. It's not any more. Most people will be able to help you if you speak english. But don't speak too fast. Be polite and ask "sorry, do you speak english?" (excusez-moi parlez-vous anglais ?) ; speak slowly ; don't forget to say thanks and smile, just like anywhere else in the world. Be ready to get an answer in french at full speed if you try showing french skills beyond basic ones :-)
Some french accents are really hard to understand.
True. I can have myself a few problems with some people from south-west of France near the spanish border for instance.
Lots of things are closed in Paris in august
That's correct. A lot of stores, bars and restaurants are closed between 15 to 30 days in august.
All french walk with a baguette at 6pm.
That's almost true. That's still remarkably true in places where people do walk, like big cities. Between 4:30pm (kids leave school) and 8pm, you'll see many, really many people walking with their fresh daily baguette.
Taxis don't accept credit cards.
That's too often true, have cash with you.
You don't have to tip in bars and restaurants.
Entirely correct. Tip (15%) is already included. I tip myself rarely.
France is always on strike.
In fact no, but the strikes too often happen on important holidays and they become then very visible...
France is a socialist country!
Not in the way you understand it. Let me remind you that the Farewell file was given by socialist François Mitterrand to Ronald Reagan to prove him we were on the right side of the iron curtain. We just care about people, and don't let them die of tuberculosis because they have no health care. See what I mean?
French are trouble-makers.
Absolutely. And proud of it.
French food is fabulous.
It is. But large food corporations have strongly impacted restaurants and bars in France. A lot of them, too many of them, now serve you food that is cooked elsewhere, in a large food factory. If you can, prefer a restaurant where all food is fresh, prepared and cooked from A to Z in the restaurant itself.
Snails are disgusting.
They taste just like mushrooms. Add butter and garlic and they're delicious.
Frog legs are disgusting.
They taste like chicken. My kids love frog legs.
French wine, wooohooo!
You'll find french wine quite expensive compared to US wines in the US, even excellent US wines. We find them quite expensive too. If you go to a supermarket to buy wine and can hardly make a choice, just ask for help. You'll be pleased to see other customers ready to help you immediately on such an important topic :-) Trust their recommendation.
I need a rental car in Paris or Lyon.
No way! Use the excellent subway and bus network. And you can also rent bikes (Vélib in Paris) within the city limits.
Why are all the other tables in this restaurant looking at us?
Probably because you talk too loud... Americans tend to speak quite loud compared to europeans. Here in France it's considered as really impolite if other tables out of immediate reach can too often hear what you say.
How many kisses to say hi and goodbye?
Two. Unless people tell you more :-) To know if you should give kisses or just a handshake, let the other party make the first move?
Men can also kiss other men to say hi and goodbye!
Yep. Good friends and family relatives.
Can I avoid kisses to say hi and goodbye? I don't like kissing people.
I don't recommend you do unless you want to disappoint some people.
It was 6pm and the restaurant was closed!
Sure thing. Almost nobody here would go to a restaurant before 7pm...
I can't use my AMEX card.
Right. AMEX charges more the merchants and that's why it's uncommon here.
I can't use my credit card for small amounts.
Right. A lot of stores/bars/restaurants will only accept a credit card payment above 10 or even 15 euros.
It's hard to be invited at a french friend's place.
Correct. But once you're invited, it's usually forever.