Demystifying the French


“…a witty, wise, and keenly observed cultural guidebook.” 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 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.” Jeffrey Greene, author of French Spirits

A practical guide aimed at first-time visitors to France, as well as long-term expatriates, Demystifying the French: How to Love Them, and Make Them Love You is 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” 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.

Janet 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.

The book is now available for purchase from the following retailers.
BookBaby Bookshop*
Barnes & Noble

*Buying from BookBaby Bookshop is a great way to help support writers. (Authors get better royalties and get paid more quickly; and of course a little bit of competition in the marketplace is good for everyone!)

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Janet Hulstrand is a writer, editor, writing coach, and teacher of writing and of literature who divides her time between the U.S. and France. She leads writing workshops in Essoyes, a village in the Champagne region, and teaches “Paris: A Literary Adventure” for the City University of New York each summer. She is currently working on a literary memoir, A Long Way from Iowa.


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