Interpreting the French face

The French face is what hands are to the Italians. It stretches and twists to express a wide range of expressions and emotions with the same elasticity of a rubber band. From disbelief to discontent, it can convey a message just as clearly as any grouping of words. Here’s a look at some recurrent French faces, and how to interpret their meaning:



Frustration or general annoyance.


This face is probably the most common face made in Paris. It is formed by pursing the lips and blowing forcefully out, with a slight raise of the eyebrows. It is used in situations of general annoyance (for example, when walking behind someone who moves at a snail's pace).



Really? (Ah bon?)


This face is formed by raising the eyebrows, opening one's eyes wide and pursing or forming an "O" shape with one's mouth. It is most oftened used when one has heard a surprisng fact or bit of gossip, or when one has been told they are wrong about something.



I don't know. Or, I really don't care.


This French face is particularly difficult to pull off if one is not already accustomed to contorting their mouth into the shape of a frown. It is formed by pulling the corners of one's lips dramatically downward, and giving a wide-eyed stare. It is most often employed when one doesn't know the answer to a question, or finds the asker inane for having verbalised anything so obviously stupid.



You're full of it...


This face is made by filling one's cheeks with air and gradually forcing the captured breath out in short spurts by applying pressure to the face with one finger (usually the index or middle appendage). It is most often performed when one is certain they are being lied to or hearing a tall-tale.



He's full of it...


Apparently the French are very sceptical, as there seems to be a number of ways to say "I don't believe you/him/her/them". This face, which is made by pulling down the lower-corner of one's eye with a finger, is most often used when talking about someone who has likely stated something untrue.



Three sheets to the wind...


This face is made by forming a fist with one hand, covering the nose and repeatedly twisting one's wrist to the right and then the left. It's most often used to describe someone as having been drunk or as a drunkard.



That person is nuts!


This face is made by taking the index and either tapping one's skull or twisting the finger back and forth in a repetitive motion. It's used to describe someone in the nearby vicinity as being completely and utterly crazy or irrational.

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Hahahahahaha I'm french and I can swear that all of this is completely true!! We use these faces so much everyday... And we make quite a lot of sound effects too ! I hope it helps foreigner to understand us and communicate better...since we're so bad at languages >_>
I'm French. Do you mean they don't do the same faces in every country? lol I've been abroad, and never noticed we were so "chimpanzee looking" to other people :-)
Excellent post - has helped me understand my husband's non-verbal signals!
Funny and telling how there is no friendly face and expression to be found.....Paris!
So true. French is more than 'just' a language!
Have been in France 3 times, in 2 years, and yes, all of this is so true. I even do it sometimes :D
Excellent! Just missing the "but who are you exactly?" French look maybe :-D)) Posting this article on my French curation page!
Excellent actor! Perfect pictures... yes, a little shrug was missing in the "I don't know one," but that's OK
Well as a 7year old Parisien I can't disagree to the above gestures though I am yet to see the "You are full of it" face in Paris. Sinon I too have used all these expressions myself during my stay LOL! Good show m8!
Great! Does this mean I am ready to visit Paris and successfully communicate with the natives?
LOL you just made my day!! thanks i needed that......... :)
funny faces man !!!
Hee hee...excellent idea, well done Rachel!
Having been in France for 20 years I can say this is absolutely true (and well demonstrated). However, the "I don't know/I really don't care" face is nearly always accompanied by (or replaced by) the famous Gallic Shrug.
Heyeeee, salut Seb! Famous at last!

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