Aargh! No More France!

Hi folks out there in France-land. I am at my whits end and can almost not take anymore, so am reaching out to see if anyone has any insights that might help me continue my life here.

I need help in restoring my faith in this place…. (And apologies in advance if I am not politically-correct at times)

It has been 30 years that I have been living with Francophone women. First 10 years with one woman and just recently ended 20 years with another. I have embraced France and its’ idiosyncrasies over the years with pleasure and good humour. Heaven knows, one needs it!

Of late, however, I find myself increasingly (and rapidly) fed-up with all of the annoyances of what is Frenchness. What once used to amuse me, or I simply ignored or laughed with, is now becoming a damning indictment of something closer akin to loathing, annoyance and a general state of “damned these stupid people!”.

Certainly not a little-Englander, I voluntarily left Blighty in 1990 and have not regretted it one little bit. I have had a great time over the years, living and travelling and working quite literally in all four corners of the world. I am, I am proud to feel, a genuinely global person, with an open and accepting attitude to cultures far and wide, and an easy way with languages.

Mais les français commencent vraiment à m’énerver!!

Top of the list goes their pedantry!! Putain - if I added-up the amount of time I have wasted in shops and businesses waiting for stupid folks to stop nattering about nothing with the cashier or other “intervenants”, and always about absolutely nothing. It is their turn, and they will bloody-well make use of every remaining millisecond - especially if there are others waiting in line. I always complain that they talk and talk, but in fact are saying nothing!

This attitude has been best displayed in my recent mother in law who drives on the motorways like a monster. Her response? “I paid the tolls, it is MY road now!” And this isn’t just her, it simply illustrates a mindset that I cannot take any more and is so bloody pervasive.

This form of pedantry leaks into everything that they do - from blindly filling-in forms that in reality nobody actually needs - mais c’est comme ca! Thats not to mention the fact that there are tens of thousands of pointlessly-employed people creating those stupid forms.

To the utter stupidity of having to prove your income to someone for something completely unrelated to anything at every turn of the corner. Again, for no bloody logical reason than simply “c’est comme ca”.

When combined with the arrogance that is so deeply embedded into their mindset, this makes for an increasingly-unpleasant mindset. As an ex-Brit (in a way) I have often had to explain to folks what is the difference between the Brits and the French, and I always said that the Brits are (in general, of course) xenophobes who simply don’t like anyone from somewhere else. The French, on the other hand, are convinced of their innate superiority to everyone else.

This combination of pedantry and arrogance is so pervasive that it is causing me much concern as it is starting to seep into the minds of my 3 little French kids. They are adorable little monsters that I love totally, but increasingly I start getting feedback from them about the way I or others do things, that is displaying the emergence of the very same attitudes to others. And it is starting to freak me out!

They are saying that I am anti-French and for some time I have blindly been denying it. But ow I am starting to wonder whether the things that I once found amusing and almost endearing, are becoming a potentially dangerous hindrance to my peaceful existence here.

I am certainly not intending to leave. I have, for example, been suffering from some extremely serious health issues these last couple of years, and have found the French health system looking after me in a frankly incredible and laudable manner. They have, quite literally, saved my life, and for that I will be eternally grateful.

There are, I am sure, other reasons to stay (although it is starting to become a struggle to find those reasons). Once upon a menu, France was a great place to eat, but that has now gone the way of the pizza establishments that seem to populate the country these days (although obviously not in the cities).

The scenery is very beautiful in places, but a the son of a Tuscan, I can equally find other beautiful places to see and live if I were so inclined. Lord knows, I have been privileged to see some wonders around the world, so contrary to popular belief, France does NOT have the monopoly on that.

So - food and scenery are out of the window!

And that leaves what?

Renaud? As much as I have slowly grown to appreciate him due to my ex’s love of him, he does indeed represent a peculiarly French outlook that is driving me nuts. Yes, he’s a contrary misery who has smoked and drunk his life into a catatonic state, but everyone holds him dear as a son of 1968 and as such he is almost royalty!

Égalité, Fraternité, Je Veux Pété! Pu-lease - Egalité in this place? Libérté in this place? I don’t need to detail it here….

Their famous splitting of church from state is a total farce, with more public holidays linked to the christian calendar than pretty much everyone else in Europe - but they INSIST that their state is “laïc” - mon cul! Hundreds are dying of all kinds of problems, but the French seem particularly touched by the recent fires in several churches, starting with Notre Dame. The monies suddenly pouring into coffers to restore them is simply disgraceful.

I was going to go on and on with my list but started to realise that I was beginning to complain - just like a French person! The Aussies may criticise the Brits for being whingers, but honestly the French take the cake - at every single possibility.


I want and need to stay here as my beloved little kiddies are here.

But it is becoming increasingly impossible to tolerate the annoyances!

I know full well that there is nowhere perfect on this planet. Everywhere has its ups and downs. I suppose, although I can’t find out what, that the UK even has some positive points to it, and if there is hope there, then there is hope for us all.

I have tried to take comfort from French women, for whom I have an EXREMELY soft spot for! But in truth the rawness and natural beauty and sexuality of them also has an immensely difficult flip side which makes them impossible to live with. And before anyone says anything on this matter (which you no doubt will…) my present feelings are in no way connected to either success nor failure with French women! Its just another nail in a very garlic-infused coffin…

Mais, les françaises…………


Why do you even want to stay? Sound like you are all franced out and its time to move on. There are many more countries. You can stay in touch with your kids. A dad who is happy with his life will have more to offer them as they grow up than a dad who feels like a fish out of water. Be brave.


Ha ha! Sorry but your post made me laugh - simply because this site grew from my personal blog which had a little ditty attached to it ;

We love France
And made it our home
But sometimes it’s nice
To have a bloody good moan…!


As you say, c’est comme ça ! If is driving you nuts being here, go find somewhere else to live, if not then just go with the flow. I find beer helps a lot - :beer::beer:(a lot of beer)


Ce type est un imposteur, il est aussi Français qu’un fromage français. :cheese::thinking::stuck_out_tongue:

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I love that, a real stream of consciousness moan. Does the heart good, I often indulge but, though I recognise all the frustrations listed, as I have only been here 21 years my ire is still directed northwards. :laughing:

My latest rage is against an increasing number of people on British TV and radio. There are even programmes I will only watch in mute, reading the subtitles. Eggheads, I just love quizzes but Jeremy Vine (who should have been chucked out of the union for snatching dear old JY’s job when he was agely evicted) and his creepy fawning over a bunch of people who are quite clever and knowledgable but just people, not gods to be worshipped. Millionaire, another Jeremy, eugh, to mention just 2.

But, though I recognise much of what Jim says, I haven’t got to the rage stage yet.

Maybe I will live long enough, who knows ? :innocent: :wink:


Maybe your little rant on here will make you feel better. If not then, as others say, maybe it’s time to move on even if your children are in France. It sounds like you are getting into conflict with them so maybe a fresh start would remove that conflict and improve your relationship with them.
I wish you peace whatever you decide.
Izzy x

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If France is driving you to distraction can you be sure that your tolerance will be better to the foibles of other countries and cultures?

Personally I think you might benefit from a reboot as the things you describe are fairly small irritations in life, so perhaps easier to find a way to step back. Everywhere has hypocrisies, jobs’ worth officials, pedants, and bores.

What you describe also echoes the reduction in tolerance levels that can come with age. I don’t mean to be intentionally rude but can’t think of a gentler way to phrase it. You sound like you are becoming a ‘grumpy old man’. If that is the case you would be a grumpy old man anywhere you lived, so maybe think about what you can change about you rather than your surroundings?


I can’t abide Jeremy Vine I always thought presenters were meant to be impartial

Normal, l’enfer c’est les autres.
Mon pauvre ami vous vieillissez, c’est tout.


A1 rant, 10/10 for effort :slight_smile:

I wonder, is this the problem - it sounds like you might just be the sort that always needs new horizons and you’ve been in the same place too long.

Good luck wherever life takes you :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

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Ha ha. It obvious to me what is going on here. Your wonderful family have worked their magic and made you a real 100% french patriot. Only a true français could be so resentful of everything french. Congratulations. You have crossed the rubicon


Best laugh I had was when an American who didn’t know J.Vine, saw his election programme antics and declared ‘who the hell was that giant spider leaping all over a map of the UK?’

BTW, I know some people share the same mother and others the same father, but do JV and TV (Tim Vine) really share the same parents? :astonished:

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I won’t admait to everything on the list but after 15 years here, French other half, french kids, french business, 100% francophone environment day-in-day-out I can certainly relate to the trials and tribulations of mixed nationality couples and everything that goes with it. That said I feel as “foreign” if not more so on the odd visit to the UK.

I think Véro’s hit the nail on the head, c’est l’âge et avec l’âge ça s’arrange pas :open_mouth:

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c’est ce que c’est :woman_shrugging::wink:

Maybe just go away on a holiday. Hopefully that will press the reset button on some of the annoyances :grin: :sunglasses:


I have never understood mid life crisis… maybe?

Dear all

Many many thanks for your feedback. It has made me smile, laugh and also contemplate.

Maybe indeed I AM becoming simply a Grumpy Old Man!!!

Moving to another country is NOT an option, as staying close and active with my kiddies is priority number one.

Being more tolerant seems like an impossibility at present, although possibly the ONLY way out.

But Jeremy Vine ?!?! WTF has HE got to do with anything??


I wish someone would tell him that


I share your your frustration with checkout delays, especially those people who live in hope thet today is their lucky day and they won’t be asked to pay, then spend an additional 5 minutes searching all their bags for a cheque book. But at least there is some human contact and that must make it easier to spend four hours passing packets under a scanner.
But I have lived in Wales! This is a typical checkout conversation -
“Bore da. (good morning) How are you today?” "Not so bad . . . . " Then follows a list of all the misfortunes that have befallen the customer and their nearest and dearest during the week, “. . . but mustn’t grumble!” By which time the shopping will be ready to be put into bags and the ritual of payment can begin.
You just have to be patient and take pleasure in being in a community of human beings.
On one occasion I returned to my car, only to find that it had been boxed in by someone who had double parked. I tried all the usual things, tried to push it, tried the doors to see if I could release the handbrake. But then the owner appeared, took note of my Saxon sense of urgency, jumped into his car and drove away with the parting shot, “It’s people like you that cause all the trouble in the world!” It took me a moment to realise that he had just made a very funny joke.