The Typical French Family

Life in France

I have been living in France as a local for almost four months and in doing so have seen the inside operations and inner workings of French family lives.

The Mother

One of the big things that other exchange students and I have noticed in France is the mother of the house.  The typical French mother is very busy and typically rules the roost.  Usually having a job that allows her to walk in the house and outside of the house.  She is constantly busy whether helping kids with her homework, cooking, working, or cleaning.  She is typically the one you ask if you have been invited out for a day.


Discipline in France is also different or many exchange students.  Parents demand a lot of respect from their children and when they ask something of their children or make a decision, it is respected.  Also like Latin American countries and Italy, French families are very vocal if there is a problem.  For American exchange students it can be very startling to all of a sudden have your family start screaming at each other, however this is normal for them, it is a part of their culture.  As explained to the exchange students in France it is believed that it is much better to yell and let out your feelings when you need to rather then hold it in and make grudges.


Meals are very important for the French.  This is the family time, the time to bond and talk about your day.  They are usually quite formal and it is important to keep phones turned off and put away.  Good manners are expected elbows off the table, eating with fork and knife, etc.  Food and drinks are also very important to the French, however quality is more important than quantity.

Helping out around the house

Children help out around the house a lot in France.  They help with cooking, cleaning, and it is expected to keep a clean room.  Usually the children do a lot to help clean after meals and little around the house tasks.  In France a tidy house is a priority for your French mother.

Social life

The family is almost always together for at the minimum two meals a day.  And in my family even on the night s the parents go out to eat, they sit with the kids while they eat before leaving so that you still have that family time.


In France currently the most prominent religion is Catholicism.  There are a lot of private Catholic schools in France as well.  Most families go to church every once in a while and most for christmas mass.

Overall living in a French family is certainly an experience.  Of course each family is different in it’s own way, however these are the common things that have been noticed by exchange students in France.  It is amazing to experience a new culture in a family.  You learn so much and its amazing to have a second family and make connections that will last forever.

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