Spelling in France is quite important and there are specific courses in school (dictée) to teach that, although as DearPrudence told, it's less emphasized than in the past, ministers even regularly contemplate the possibility of removing such a teaching. I remember the Dictée (a televised exercise of extreme difficulty spelling with awards and such), where i was happy i made only 19 mistakes (and i was quite good at that exercise at school), while my father made only 14 and i was so surprized seeing my grandmother sobbing in tears, complaining she was getting older and useless. I asked her her score, and she had made 4 mistakes. I was ashamed to tell her mine... Yet wrong spelling is everywhere, and it's not uncommon to see some red felt-tipped correction on a poster or a note displayed in a public place. It's also common that on forums some people (generally young) write with a lot of spelling mistakes (when not in sms language) and see an army of angry redeemers coming to castigate the infidel (which in turn are called old-timers when not nazis by the wrong spelling one). Incorrect spelling in your cover/motivation letter can cost you a job, even if you apply for the least of unskilled labour, because it would mean that you are not serious to the job if you don't give the fuck to examine your mail with the spell-checker, even if the employer has to run the spell-checker himself to detect your mistakes. But then, when in the place, you are free to make all the mistakes you want, even in educated jobs, because most people are like you and they don't bother or wouldn't because of social conventions, i exagerate maybe a bit, but it's kind of a paradoxal situation.