August 11, 2013

C'est Trash

Most of the time, when people (myself included) talk about things they love about France they bring up baguettes, cheese, wine, the language, the architecture… stuff that is pretty classy.

But that’s not all there is to France. She's got another side, a trashier side, and, well, I love it too!

Here are four trashier aspects of French culture that I can't get enough of:

1. “Les Ch’tis à ___________”
One of my favorite French TV shows is a reality TV series that follows a group of young people from the North as they travel to new places. So far, they’ve made it to Ibiza, Mykonos, and Las Vegas to name a few. It’s basically like a French version of the Real World. There is roommate drama, hook-ups, and they are supposed to be finding jobs. It’s pretty low class TV, but I can’t wait for the next season. End of August!

Les Ch'tis à Las Vegas.

2. La Vache Qui Tache
While drinking games exist everywhere, it isn’t exactly a classy activity. In France, it gets even less classy beause they play a drinking game where you are literally marked up with soot as you loose.

La vache qui tache is a drinking game using a tongue twister, and if you mess it up, you earn a "tache” (or stain, which is also the same word for spot, as in a spotted cow, hence the fun playonwords).

Voilà the phrase:

“Je suis la vache qui tache numero ______ avec _____ tache(s), et j’appelle la vache qui tache avec ______ tache(s) numero ________.“
(I am the cow number ____ with ____ stains, and I pick the "spotted/stained" cow with ______stains number________.)
It doesn't really translate all that well.

Good luck saying that after a couple of beers (and numerous facial markings).

3. BB Brunes
People often ask me if I like French music, and in truth I feel like I can’t answer that question because French music encompasses almost all music genres. While I do enjoy listening to Edith Piaf and feeling classy, since moving here I've realized she's not all France has to offer. I have discovered some French pop bands, including my new favorite: BB Brunes. They are popular amoung 12 year olds, and are similar to those good ol’ American boy bands (except they actually do play instruments). I love the cheesy pop music and love songs.

BB Brunes. So dreamy!
My favorite song by them right now is called Afecionado, if you want to give 'em a try.

4. L’amour est dans le pré
Another reality TV show, this time showing various farmers all over France looking for true love. They do so by being interviewed, then people mail them letters, then they select from the letters people to do speed dating with, then from those people they choose two to visit them. The farmers themselves tend to be pretty interesting characters. They are from way out in the country, which leads to some impossible accents.


France turns out to be a pretty well rounded gal. There's a lot more going for her than just being hoity-toity. While I certainly love the classier aspects of France, like drinking champagne while listening to Edith Piaf and eating macarons, I also love that I can get an order of fries and watch crappy reality TV and still be experiencing French culture.

Vive la France!


  1. I love me some bad French téléréalité too! And BB Brunes may or may not have been the first CD I bought in France...Though when I saw the title of this post, I instantly thought of how horribly so many people dress here! It's not all Chanel and YSL, lol.

    1. Yes! It's all about téléréalité! Also totally agree about not everyone dressing well. It's totally a stereotype that doesn't quite fit.

  2. Haha I love this post! It's true about Spain too!

  3. I just found out your blog and it's great to read it. I myself am a Brazilian girl (who actually used to live in Cali) planning to come to Lille to study my masters (and to stay with my French boyfriend), so reading your posts and tips is quite soothing. It also gave me some ideas about the blog I'm writing about my experience. Thank you! I wish you all the best!

    1. Thanks for your comment! Good luck on your move to Lille! It's a great place and glad to be of help on your big move :)

  4. I don't need to wait for the next series of "Les Ch'tis.." - i get it 24/7,as been living in Valenciennes (59) for nearly 2 years. Salut biloute! Still creases me up the locals literally call each othe little dick. With an Ulster/Scots accent though my mouth wasn't made for this language. Think the French understand me better when try to talk Chtimi than standard French. Have converted a few though to saying murky buckets, instead of merci beaucoup. My mispronunciations are notorious.

    1. For me, the "Ch'tis" is more about watching people be stupid and dramatic than an actual representation of the people I met while living up there. Although I do love the chtimi phrases they use!
      Good luck on your French accent! I'm still not 100% there but I've improved loads from when I first moved out here ^^

  5. My husband is a big fan of Les Ch’tis à_____. I can handle it for about five minutes. They are just so dumb. So, so dumb.


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