Working in a French company is usually similar to working in an English company, but there are some cultural differences.
Firstly, the top-down management is very important. Your boss is your boss and not your friend and so you must be respectful. That is why, you refer to your boss as Mister or by his last name. You usually need to use “vous” and our boss calls you by your last name. You can kiss on the cheek your colleagues to say “good morning” but never your boss. In French companies you can discern the top management with the dress code. In fact, contrary to English people French people are not used to wearing a suit. Although Paris is “the fashion capital” people usually wear a casual look even at work. French people can be smart but wearing a suit is reserved for the top management.
With your colleagues, you can have a friendship but your personal life is very different from your professional life. We don’t have many resting rooms or sport rooms in a company. French companies are not friendly. However, there is one exception: it is at lunch time. Eating in France is an important moment so you can’t eat a sandwich or a salad in your desk in front of your computer. People go to the company cafeteria and take time to eat with their colleagues. Lunch time lasts about one hour and it is a complete meal.
When you apply for a job, your qualification and your diplomas are very important criteria. A manager is forbidden to ask a candidate his or her religion and his or her sexual orientation. It is for fighting against discrimination. The company cannot have quotas on these topics.
In France, there are a lot of meeting and bureaucratic procedures. In fact, only a written document has a legal value. A contract cannot be agreed and binding orally.
A French employer works 35 hours per week but top management usually works more. After a working day, French people go back home to spend time with the family, watching TV or participate in sport. French people mostly don’t go out in the night during the week, instead it’s typically on Friday and Saturday night. The evening begins at about 9 or 10 PM because the dinner is at about 8 PM. People like going to the cinema watching American, European or French movies. Indian or Asian movies are not very present in France. The French cinema is very varied and France is the second biggest film exporter after America.
There are a lot of restaurants and cocktails bar. Pubs are less developed than in the United Kingdom. Bars are open until 2 AM and night clubs until 6 AM. Population in bars and night clubs is usually under 35 years old. In Paris, there are a lot of museums and theatres and culture is important during the free time. On Sunday, shops are closed and people rest at home with family or friends.
French people like sport, especially football. Cycling and tennis are developed too and there are national events like “Le tour de France” for cycling and “Rolland Garros” for tennis. Rugby is more and more appreciated. Finally, France doesn’t have famous contemporary singers only in the electronic music with David Guetta and Daft Punk. The French variety is famous with Edith Piaf for example but French people mainly listen to American and English music.
Written by Amelié Touzeau Duqenese.