Why We All Hate the French

Vernon Coleman

French customs officers are responsible for massive holdups for travellers struggling to get across the Channel.

This is nothing new.

French customs officials are the rudest, nastiest little oiks on the planet.

It was, in part, their incredible oikiness which led to Antoinette and me flogging our flat in Paris and deciding never to visit France again.

In the years before we sold our home in Paris, we learned a good deal about the French. And since the French have done a great deal to make our departure from the European Union difficult, painful and expensive, it is worth taking a look at the people on the other side of the English Channel.

The French have a well-deserved reputation for arrogance, selfishness and insensitivity. They are like the Welsh in size and colouring but without the good qualities; without the Welsh sense of humour. They also lack the Welsh generosity of spirit and intellectual depth.

It is not surprising, perhaps, that as a nation, the French have never achieved anything very much. They are stupid, crooked, incompetent and cowardly and their main skill is in surrendering. They lasted less than a year in World War II before surrendering to the Nazis – leaving the British to fight on for another four years before liberating the ungrateful bastards. It is no surprise that the French are known as 'surrender monkeys’. The French would win far more medals in the Olympics if the organisers put real bullets into the starting pistol and allowed the starter to aim the pistol in the general direction of the athletes. The French, fired by fear, would streak away like rockets.

When I look back on life in France I realise that, over the years, we encountered far more than our fair share of crooks and cheats and con artists.

There was the painter who didn’t bother to turn up – but kept our money. The numerous boiler repair people who repeatedly tried to cheat us by selling us new equipment we didn’t need, and the plumbing company which refused to send a plumber even though we had a contract with them.

The other strange thing is that most of the people whom we think of as French and successful weren’t French at all. The most famous 'French’ singer and film star was Johnny Hallyday who was Algerian. Charles Aznavour (once voted the most famous entertainer in the world – beating Elvis Presley and Bob Dylan) was Armenian not French. The most famous 'French’ painter was Picasso who was Spanish. The most famous 'French’ writer was Georges Simenon who was Belgian. Even the most famous Frenchman of them all, Napoleon, was only just French. He was born on Corsica and if he had been born a couple of weeks premature he would have been Italian.

Oh, and just for the record, the Bayeux Tapestry was created by English nuns; champagne was invented by an English monk and the two most famous artefacts in the Louvre, the Venus de Milo and the Mona Lisa were also created outside France. The Venus de Milo was created by a Greek and the Mona Lisa was painted by an Italian.

Here’s a list of some of the things I had learned about the French during the sale of our apartment:

1. When they say they speak English they are usually exaggerating. I speak very poor French (and would never claim to be fluent) but my command of the French language is usually better than a French person’s command of English.
2. The French are not properly civilised. It is important to remember that they have only just stopped using those infamous 'stand up and aim’ Turkish loos. They only abandoned the guillotine recently. And within my lifetime the drinking water in Paris was not safe to drink.
3. The French think they have a sense of humour but they don’t. They have no sense of fun and cannot ever laugh at themselves. They take themselves very seriously. If you are daft enough to ask a Frenchman how he is, he will proceed to tell you – in nauseating detail.
4. Any property transaction which takes place in France should be invalid since anyone who buys a property in France is clearly certifiably insane. The French system of rules and taxes make buying and selling property in England look a doddle.
5. The French have a law to force citizens to help others. I used to think this was rather a decent thing (it is part of Napoleon’s legacy). But as Antoinette pointed out, no other nation in the world needs a law to force its citizens to behave decently and to require people to do the right thing. (Anyway, the French ignore the law though foreigners might well be caught out by it.)
6. The French are rude by nature. They are rude all the time, to everyone. And, amazingly, they are quite proud of it.

I am not alone in having a low opinion of the French. Stendhal, who was French, felt that his fellow countrymen were bigoted, frigid, cynical, vulgar, insincere, arrogant, money-grubbing and fake. He commented that the French never do anything that is not for personal gain. How right he was.

What a delight it will be when we are out of the EU and away from the clutches of these primitive people. We should fill in the Channel Tunnel with unwanted EU regulations and build a high wall across Southern England to stop the little bastards coming into Britain.

Copyright Vernon Coleman March 2019

Slightly adapted from Tickety Tonk by Vernon Coleman. Tickety Tonk is the seventh in a series of politically incorrect diaries and is available from Amazon as an eBook and as a paperback.