Have you ever felt discriminated against here in France because of your nationality?

I'm asking this now due to recent experiences here in the Dordogne after the recent terrible hail storm that has wreaked havoc on peoples roofs and cars.

I am a builder and experienced roofer, I have received many calls from clients to sort their roofs out, to bache them up or to remedially insert new tiles to secure them from water ingress.

Most of my clients are British and Dutch, they have so far all told the same story, that none of the French roofers will attend their property to help them, many of these people speak very good French so it's not a language issue. In my village this week a team of roofers protected every roof except those of the 2 Dutch families.

I have also found that some of my suppliers are quite xenophobic, often not offering me the preferred professional rate for materials, until I point it out to them, when they just say they didn't know that I was an artisan, after 10 years of being their customer.

I've lived here 10 years now and I think it's getting worse, what are your experiences?

People from the north of France or who haven't got southern accents get a hard time here too!

Definitely! I am very lucky compared to what some of the poor people of other origins get called! They are also quite nasty around here to other people who aren't from this part of France... stealing jobs and all of that. I also get discriminated against here because I'm a woman but it wasn't that bad in Lyon so I just suck eggs and get on with it; it must be a country thing. The area is getting more and more cosmopolitan so attitudes will evolve.

I'm in the same situation as you, Sharon, fluent French, French masters from a French uni, also have French kids and OH and yes I've had the odd remark but no real racism or nothing at all comparable to the racist remarks I hear day in day out in my shop about the arabs, roms et al. Many openly refer to the bar next door as Marrakcsh and that's being polite :-O

Don't want to moan but absolutely! I experience racism in work nearly every day in my job. I speak fluent French, have a French masters degree, fully qualified to do my job in France (French qualifications) and yet I really struggle on a daily basis with racist nimwits. Not saying this is representative of all of France but racism is high here (just look at FN vote rates) and I live in rural France so it's generally worse. I will say that I've been here 16 years and never felt it as much as I do now. Of course there are plenty of people that are really welcoming and I rarely experience racism when it's outside of a professional situation but workwise, yes, racism definitely exists where I am.

That has reminded me of our experience buying our then 2 year old 806 at the main Citroen agent in Quimper 10 years ago. The price was 18,000 euros & although we wanted to pay cash we were convinced to take 2,000 euros on credit to obtain a "5 year guarantee" . The guarantee turned out to be almost worthless & the total credit cost was about 5,00 euros. Granted we were green then but I'm sure they would not have conned a French local. They even tried to charge me extra for an electronic key to operate the central locking. Another garage I wouldn't deal with again! Fortunately the vehicle has never had a serious problem & 230,000 kms later is still providing good service as a second car.

I bought a Mini from a BMW dealer in Quimper,it was covered by a 12 month guarantee .We were told the car could be taken to any Min/BMW dealer in the event of a problem. On the way home,we live near Rennes,the ABS warning light came on. The dealer in Quimper would not talk to us ,or agree for the repair to be done in Rennes. It cost us 80+ Euros for a diagnostic,over 100 Euros for the service of a French speaking lady to help us. We eventually had to take the car back to Quimper,leave it there for a few weeks and then return to collect it after repair, a total driving time of approx 18 hours plus the cost of petrol.Would we have been treated this way if we were French? Somehow I doubt it.

well said, Steve, it exists everywhere and for all nationalities. People from the Aveyron were (still are at times!) discriminated against here in the Tarn, not nearly as badly as before when aveyronnais kids where singled out in class by the teacher but it still happens...!

We lived for a while in St Santin, a village split between the Cantal and the Aveyron (and so the Auvergne and the Midi-Pyrénées) - two mairie, two schools, two churches for a tiny village where fights between the two halves are legend (the village was featured on 13h00 de TF1). Unfortunately discrimination seems to be human nature!

of course discrimination exists in France against Brits ! not everywhere and not from everybody but it happens - and is sometimes so subtle its hard to be sure.

But to be fair its common place in the UK as well


All this said, I have experienced friendliness and kindnesses too?.........One explanation for the escalation in hostile behaviour, could be lack of work due to recession ? Who knows......

Hello, Yes constantly? My friend Francis and I, over the last 15/16yrs have renovated houses in three different departments (82/32/and 46 Lot) And, I can honestly say, in one form or another, there is a niggle with Brits. Everything from, as others below have pointed out, being over charged, mislead with what we are to expect from council/medical services.....as with Jane below etc,etc, etc) I can usually shrug off most unpleasantness/smile about it even, when the sun is shinning) But, our latest encounter/experience has left me with a sense of humour failure. To cut a very long story short, Francis and I purchased a group of three properties (one habitable house, two to renovate) in a lovely village called Goujounac, not far from you. We dolled the large house up and sold it to a very nice English couple, and proceeded to renovate the house and barn for ourselves as holiday homes. Our neighbour at Goujounac is not a permanent there either, he and his wife are from Northern France, and like us have a holiday home. He, from our initial arrival to beginning of our renovations tried to block, stop, object to everything aspect of the work? Our architect and builder reported, he made a point of being at his house/and looking over their shoulder for the whole eight months it took to renovate the first house. Even though from the moment we recognised him as our neighbour, and tried to be friendly, build relations, he has ignored us, and anyone else who has stayed/visited at our houses. He has complained about flowers we choose to adorn the property with, we had a lovely canopy erected above front door, he insisted, at the Mairie, it be taken down, as it was 21/2 inches larger than allowed ? Yee! The latest episode however has taken a more sinister turn. I arrived at the house last month, just amid the large storms to find that, he had blocked my drain pipe with a large container, with the obvious intention of not letting water escape, thus getting trapped and raising back up the down pipe toward gutters, and ultimately into the roof/and property? I confronted him and he became extremely aggressive? Ranting the ENGLISH ???!! Which is futile as I am Welsh?? I did however inform the local Mairie, that I would take matters further if Mr Agnot did not refrain from such behaviour. Stating I would pursue rasist claims...........silly, but it's an expression/allegation I hear and live with daily in London, against Brits? So, I thought I'd try/see the effect for Brits ? ......To be continued!

I was cheated by our local Peugeot garage fitting pattern suspension parts to my 806 whilst charging me full whack. When I challenged them & asked for the old parts to return to Peugeot for authentication the bill was cancelled amid copious Galic shrugs.

I'm sure they cheated me because I was a Brit. & new to the village but they may of course have just been robbing b*st*rds. I never went back again to find out but did tell the owner that I would make sure everybody I knew was acquainted with the situation.

Thanks for explanation Jane.

Once we had a house just outside of Cognac near Burie.

We had a problem with the Notaire and a neighbour ....they had very agressive dogs and the story is fairly extensive but the notaire was not interested....and we had our French friend with us at the time to help with short falls in French cream cheese....she was good at that.

We sold....I sold ...the agent just did not know how to sell it even though he had a fancy office in the square at Cognac....NOT far from Credit Lyonnais etc.

Sometilmes I think about all this and I conclude that the French love their lay backed ways but their is a hint of jelousy when they see that a stranger comes and buys wheras their son or daughter perhaps should have the property?

Or are the Brits more dynamic and therefore intimidating???

I needed a form of medical treatment which I had had in UK and could not find in France . To enable me to go back to UK for pre-planned treatment it was necessary to obtain a form S2 from the French authorities.

The rules state that a doctor needs to say if this treatment is necessary or can be found in France, however, I was refused on the sole grounds that I was a British retiree. I took my case to the EU via my ex MEP, Sir Graham Watson , who, as I did, recognised the importance for all British retirees.

I also involved the British authorities at the Department of Health who brought up this matter at their regular quarterly meetings with their foreign counterparts.

Contrary to the recent article in the Connexion, which states that in most cases it is necessary to obtain the form S2 for pre-planned treatment on the NHS in the UK, it is actually mandatory and no hospital will treat you without one.

I have had a copy of the letter from the Commission to Sir Graham but no official notification from the Franch authorities that were in breach of the regulations and had wrongly refused my application.

Furthermore, in their evidence to the Commission the French authorities stated that I had received medical treatment in the UK. This was totally untrue, how could I without the form S2 which they had refused to provide. When challenged on this point by the British authorities on my behalf, they said that they had "assumed" that I had received treatment, as that was my original intention.

This was maladministration that could have resulted in the death of a British retiree or dependent, so although it was nominally discrimination against me, it was also against the whole of the British retiree community here in France.

Come on now Jane. Having dangled the carrot you must tell us what it was about or at least give us a link to the case.

Glen, I have not just felt discriminated against because of my nationality, I have been.

I had to take the French authorities to the EU Commission because they discriminated against me because I am a British retiree. Needless to say, I won my case and the French are now changing their system!

Hi Glen

As you know we opened our ScrewPak shop around 18 months ago up in Lot not far from Gourdon. Since the word has been getting around a large proportion of our customers are now French Artisans, they seem to love buying our quality English products at lower prices than the French. In that 18 months we haven't had any signs of being treated any different than the French suppliers, in fact some of our French competition send their customers to us if they are looking for a product they don't stock.


Pfff there are half-wits everywhere. Unfortunately being a dr is no guarantee of intelligence or empathy :-(

When the kids were in maternelle we had to see the school doctor before they went up to primaire. I told her that I was teaching them to read and write in English and her reply was that the Arabs and the Turks didn’t do that so why should I!!
I was stunned, it never ocurred to me that it would be so frowned upon by a doctor.
So needles to say, I doubled my efforts for son no 2 and he could read by 4 and never mentionned it to her thenext time we saw her.
She also said that sonno 1 was coloured blind and then gave me a huge list of jobs hewould never be able to do.