1. The Little House on the Prairie
The Little House on the Prairie has been on French TV since 1976. For years, it’s been broadcasted during lunch time. Whenever the channel tries to replace it with another show, the fans go nuts and sign online petitions, and Little House is back on air a few months later.
2. Woody Allen movies
His movies are often more popular in France than they are in the U.S. and the recent scandal might not change that. He’s considered a genius and the epitome of the New York intellectual.
3. The Young and the Restless
Let’s be clear, not ALL French people love The Young and the Restless. But it is a household name and an absolute must in every retirement home in the country.
4. Starbucks Coffee
We may be coffee snobs, but the idea of walking around with a grande skinny caramel macchiato in our hands sounds so American, so “Hollywoodien,” as we say, that many French people wish they had a Starbucks in their town.
5. Paul Auster
For some reason (probably because he is a Francophile), the American author has achieved more literary fame in France than he has in the U.S.
6. Harlan Coben
Coben is big in the U.S., but he’s huge in France. French director and actor Guillaume Canet even turned his novel Tell No One into a successful movie.
7. Douglas Kennedy
Kennedy is another very popular American francophile whose books were turned into French movies.
8. Burger King
Right after Paris’ only Burger King outlet opened in December, people waited up to an hour to taste a Whopper — and people in Paris tell me the line is still very long today.
Burger King’s novelty might be appealing, but in our eyes, the real monument to American gastronomy is McDonald’s. Sad, I know.
10. Naming their kids after American TV show characters
When 90210 became a huge hit on French TV, people started naming their children after the show’s heroes — in particular Dylan and Kelly. These typical American names were among the most popular in France for a few years. So if you ever meet a French Dylan, you can bet his parents loved Luke Perry.
11. Barack Obama
Barack Obama can do no wrong in our eyes. He is the coolest politician and the president we wish we had.
12. American politics
American politics is extensively covered in the French media although we’re still trying to figure out how your electoral system works. The Monica Lewinsky scandal and the overall reaction in the United States particularly amused us.
13. 7th Heaven
The show was extremely popular on French TV in the 2000s. Other American shows were too, but 7th Heaven was popular because it was so exotically wholesome, American, and Christian.
14. HBO and AMC shows
We’re not only into mediocre American TV. Shows like The Sopranos, Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, and Mad Men also have a cult following in France.
Network American shows like Friends and Desperate Housewives also have a huge fan base. Seinfeld, however, never made it big.
15. Philip Roth
In our eyes, he’s kind of the literary equivalent to Woody Allen: a brilliant self-depreciating New Yorker who’s been in therapy for the past 30 years.
16. Jonathan Littell
To be fair, Jonathan Littell gained French citizenship a few years ago. But he only had an American passport when he wrote his French novel The Kindly Ones, which became a best-seller in France and went on to win the Prix Goncourt — the highest literary price in the country.
17. Jerry Lewis?
Americans seem to think we love Jerry Lewis. The truth is, old people love him but younger generations barely know who he is.