Our site will be undergoing maintenance from 6 a.m. - 6 p.m. ET on Saturday, May 20. During this time, Bookshop, checkout, and other features will be unavailable. We apologize for the inconvenience.
Cookies must be enabled to use this website.
Book Image Not Available Book Image Not Available

See inside

Book details
  • Genre:TRAVEL
  • SubGenre:Europe / France
  • Language:English
  • Pages:120
  • eBook ISBN:9781543953527
  • Paperback ISBN:9781543953510

Demystifying the French

How to Love Them, And Make Them Love You

by Janet Hulstrand

View author's profile page

Book Image Not Available Book Image Not Available

See inside


Demystifying the French: How to Love Them, and Make Them Love You is aimed at first-time visitors to France as well as long-term expatriates. Designed to help readers "crack the code," avoid common mistakes, and get off on the right foot with the French, the book begins with five easy-to-follow essential tips "for even brief encounters" by introducing a few French phrases that will pave the way for a positive experience in France. The tips are followed by 10 chapters that go into a deeper explanation of French habits, manners, and ways of viewing the world. Hulstrand shares the perspective she has gained in nearly 40 years of time spent living, working, teaching, and traveling in France, and illustrates the principles she is discussing with sometimes touching, and often amusing, personal anecdotes. Her deep admiration and affection for the French people is clear, but she also knows that they can "require special handling" and provides helpful, practical tips on how to do so, inviting readers to learn from her mistakes.

Reflections contributed by David Downie, Adrian Leeds, Harriet Welty Rochefort, and other well-known commentators on Franco-American cultural differences provide additional perspective and depth. A glossary of French terms that is both substantive and whimsical provides surprising insights into historical as well as cultural reasons for the French being "the way they are." Aimed mainly at an American audience, this book will be helpful for anyone who wants to better understand the French, and have fun while doing so.


“...a witty, wise, and keenly observed cultural guidebook. As an American who has lived in Paris for 25 years, I found myself nodding vigorously throughout the book, thinking, 'Yes, yes, that's exactly right!' For those of us who have learned French cultural codes through painful trial and error, this book feels rewarding. For Americans just arriving in France, it will be absolutely indispensable." Jake Lamar, author of Rendezvous in the Eighteenth


“The only way to get under the surface of this country is to learn to understand and love the French themselves. Janet Hulstrand serves as your very wise, practical, and entertaining tutelary spirit. She invokes her own experiences as well as the insights of other wonderful writers on France to guide you to behavior and habits that ultimately show respect for French values and pave the way to some of life's most enriching friendships. She could not offer a more lovely gift.” Jeffrey Greene, author of French Spirits


“...a triumph! And funny! I laughed out loud in lots of places. The glossary alone is a treasure. So much good advice for travelers to France...” Diane Johnson, author of Le Divorce

About the author

Janet Hulstrand is an American writer, editor, writing coach, and teacher who lives in France. Her essays and articles have appeared in the Christian Science Monitor and Smithsonian, and she writes regularly for Bonjour Paris, France Today, France Revisited, and for her blog, Writing from the Heart, Reading for the Road. She teaches online classes for Politics and Prose Bookstore in Washington, DC; and she has led book groups at the American Library in Paris. 

Her first book, Moving On: A Practical Guide to Downsizing the Family Home, received widespread praise, and she and her coauthor publish a blog, Downsizing the Home: Lessons Learned. Her literary memoir, A Long Way from Iowa: From the Heartland to the Heart of France was published in 2023.

Book Reviews

to submit a book review