Something which is characteristic (but far from unique) of French culture is a penchant for complaining. Man, it's like they're looking for something to complain about! Australians hardly fair better on this point, however. Admittedly, sociogically, it's easy for people to relate to each other when one complains because i) it's something anyone can do ii) we all have had less than positive experiences iii) it takes effort to see the upside in a non-ideal situation. However, I have noticed something (but it's hard to generalise, depends on the person); I've noticed that my French friends in Lille have less of a tendancy than Aussie students to verbal tear down their teachers personally, but nevertheless still are often less than rosy with their assessment of their teachers' communication abilities, if you get my drift. This could be partly due to the legal and cultural understanding that lecturers and school teachers are actually the 'face' or representative of the governement. They are an authority by which society is taught to be good citizens, and thus they are to be respected.
One of the funniest aspects of French culture for me is how they do nightclubbing and bars. Let's just say it's a bit different to in Australia. So, just to give you a bit of visual image, there is basically one big street of nightclubs in Lille, called rue Solferino. You get all types there. There are the homeless. Then there are those who sell roses (met a Sri Lankan once!), visiting every café and club in sight. Then there are the older men who walk into a nightclub and just eye everyone (possibly watching out for drug dealers). Well, many clubs along the Solferino are more café/dance style where many couples sit down at low tables for a drink and watches everyone else dancing, and then starts dancing whenever they feel like it. I guess my perception is that French are more chatty when clubbing than Aussies. As for bars, French are on the whole more subdued than Aussies who stereotypically laugh riotously and talk loudly over a beer.
Of course, wines and beers are significantly cheaper in France, so maybe French aren't as excited when they drink a fresh beer! In fact, I can simply walk into any supermarché such as Auchan and there are long aisles of wines which often cost $3 a bottle (for good quality too!), whereas in Australia there are dedicated wineshops, where you can find a bottle for about 6 times that, minimum.Tu vois?