"The French." Two words usually uttered in America with a sneer and an offhanded comment about chain-smoking and world wars. Either that, or you get an obnoxiously over-the-top, 20-minute soliloquy from some Francophile who studied abroad in Paris and won’t shut up about the “French Paradox.”
But are any of the stereotypes you know and love about the French actually true? In her new book, They Eat Horses, Don’t They?, British author Piu Eatwell (could not make that up) examines 45 myths about the French. Her findings? Yes, they do eat horses, though not nearly as much as the Italians. And yes, they do smoke a lot. But on the whole, a lot of things we assume to be true about them are just flat-out lies. Here are 11 of the most fascinating.