“Well we’ve all heard it or read it somewhere haven’t we?
“The French are so rude – and arrogant!” My husband said this many times before he’d even been to France proper. Admittedly he had been once, about 30 years ago or more when he ran away from home and decided to sign up for the French Foreign Legion. In case you’re interested – that effort went nowhere! However as he only spent 3 days in Lille as a snot-nosed rebellious teenager I hardly feel he is qualified to pontificate on the behaviour of an entire race of people.
It is though, something that you hear from many people who quote stories of rude French waiters who turn their nose up at you and refuse to understand what you’re asking for or snooty Parisians who won’t even consider helping you with directions.
Actually – it’s just not true! Of course I can’t speak for every French man, there are after all some 65 million people in France and logically there must be some really really rude ones in amongst that lot. It’s just that after 8 years of having a home here, I haven’t seen a shred of evidence to support the common belief of many that the French are generally rude, arrogant and hate foreigners.
Almost unfailingly everyone we meet is friendly, helpful, civil, and fiercely patriotic and welcomes you to the country which they are so proud of.
There is one thing the French do though that amazes us every time we see it and which we actually would consider rude in the UK. They queue jump like nobody’s business! Seriously it’s like some sort of queue allergy! As an illustration of this I can tell you about a pork festival in the little town of Fruges that we went to in the summer.
All was going well at the pork festival tent, when, just before they opened the doors to the hungry masses, there was a minor fire in the kitchen. The roaming lady DJ from French Radio Bleue had been revving up the crowds with her salacious talk of “the greatest pork you can have” and there were sighs of disappointment when she announced that due to the fire, the food service was to be delayed by 20 minutes. When the lady DJ excitedly announced the doors were open – there was a massive dash to the front by about 200 people. Everyone started barging in, there was shouting, fights broke out, my poor husband who at 6’3” towers above most of the French fellows in this region was stuck in the middle, being used as a cross between a battering ram and a human shield by a French couple. After a while we all got fed and watered and French formality prevailed again.
The French rude? I don’t think so but just don’t try to push in when they’re queuing.