Demystifying the French

“…if you only have one primer on the French to read before your trip or bring along with you, this is the one…” Harriet Welty Rochefort, author of French Toast, French Fried, and Joie de Vivre. 

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.

Praise for Demystifying the French

Demystifying the French is now available for purchase from BookBaby Bookshop, or from your local indie bookseller, IndieBound, or

You can also buy the book from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Kobo.

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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 writes frequently about France for, France Today, and France Revisited. Her memoir, A Long Way from Iowa: From the Heartland to the Heart of France, is now available. Look for it online, or ask your indie bookseller to order it for you. 

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