The Brits in France

A few years ago I visited a French friend who was fluent in English, and he was moaning about French administration, saying how difficult it was to find out reliable information. He asked how the English living in France managed. I showed him the survive France website, and said one could obtain a lot of information from members, be it on motoring, health, tax etc., etc. He was impressed.

Several months later, I met up with him again and he informed me that he often looks at the SF site, and whilst he still thinks the site is extremely useful for finding out information, he had much more negative comments about the general posts on the site. He said that members came across as sad and angry people, and that the UK must be well rid of them. He added that France have their own habitual moaners who are always whining about one thing or another.


Oh dear Graham. Please apologise to your friend. Has he noticed that most of the moaning has been about the UK? Brexit. Bojo voting rights etc. That said my OH was deeply offended by the title of this forum assuming that it was about surviving the terrible french and their terrible habits. I tried to explain it was a pun but he wasn’t having it. However he has come round a bit when I’ve been able to give him tidbits of info he finds useful.

Also. Most people here are British. We have a reputation to keep up as whiners or moaners. Only doing our national duty don’t ye know!


How odd in many ways. Yes there are a couple of moaners - sometimes for good reason and why they post as they are having problems. But also quite a lot of happy people sharing happy experiences…

Had lunch with a french friend last week who moaned the whole way through! People of all nationalities can do it…


I’m pretty good in French but I’ll never, never (sadly) get to the the same level of nuanced comprehension I have in English? For example, I was bantering on the phone with a sales lady (can you still say that?) in Edinburgh yesterday and afterwards I said to my wife I wish I could do that in French. A bit of nuanced banter can sort out so much. Rules can be waived, corners cut and things expedited with a bit of pleasant banter IMO. I think there’s a lot of banter on here too.

That’s a long way Graham of my saying perhaps your friend speaks excellent English but does he actually “get” what going on here? I can’t think of one “sad” contributor. I wouldn’t dream of wallowing in forum for the sad and bitter. Not yet anyway :joy:

May I suggest your pal starts to interact, SF is a broad church and I, for one, would be delighted to “chat” with him.


You may been lucky to get someone to banter with whose first language is English. I have all but given up on phone calls if there is a live chat option offered. My last tussle with Amazon UK was over 4 hours long and involved more than a dozen different assistants. I would have expired long before the end if that had been a phone call.

Yes, I was lucky, it was a small leather producer. I need a swatch to repair a car seat but I’m going to have to buy a hide :roll_eyes:

You aren’t thinking hard enough there John :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:


I would say the site has typical British intensity, which may look to the French like moaning, we take our issues quite seriously.
However, I have enjoyed sitting with French people who moan about the state of the UK, which is interesting, even some French people think that the UK government is crazy.

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Graham, I recently moved to France and stumbled on this site to help solve some issues on relocating, the additional banter and discussion is just a bonus. I have found parts of both the “informative” side and the “chatty” side interesting for various reasons, however I really only click on threads that I’m interested in.

One way of reading your post could be to see it as an example of the moaning that you mention, i.e. complaining about something without looking for a solution.
I suppose it is all about perspective.


This strikes me as an odd generalisation. I find posts here come in all shades of happy/sad and relaxed/angry - and the same member sometimes posts one, sometimes the other. Much like any sample of humanity!

But the oddest thing about the generalisation (though it is perhaps only evident if you are a regular visitor) is that negative feelings like sadness and anger are most often expressed by people that are not here in France, but still living in or have returned to the UK! - so the ‘well rid of’ bit is completely misplaced!

But all this makes sense - your friend is not different from my French friends - they don’t really ‘get’ the catastrophe that has overtaken British francophiles since 2016, compounded since 2019 by both brexit and covid - but for obvious reasons it mainly affects those that have been unable to come to France.


Depends on one’s definition of sad Tory. There may be people that are unhappy but there are none in the “sad bastard” category, that I know of. Most, if not all folk here are delighted with their lives in France, they are just, understandably, disgusted at what is happening to their family and friends in Blighty.


You’ve nailed it yet again John, and coming back to the OP, or rather the friend in the OP, it does seem extraordinary that anyone who does any more than skim the surface of the content here wouldn’t immediately see that. It’s quite curious that a site that is generally incredibly positive towards our adopted nation and, like the majority of what I see from the rest of Europe, pretty dismayed at what we see going on in (for most of us) our former home, could be considered negative by a french person. Perhaps they’re a Frexit championing Anglophile who despises their own nation :joy:


Another thought, possibly misunderstanding the context where dry humour / sarcasm used. I know it took me YEARS to get used to it and I still sometimes miss it and think someone is being serious when they are not :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

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Very, very valid pint Tory,

Correction “point” … maybe a bit of a Freudian slip :roll_eyes:


Sarcastic nous?!! Surely not dear Tory. My middle names are Earnest Sincerity.

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:rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

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Lots of us do, for obvious reasons :grin:


I think the whole world is watching the British government like it’s a soap opera.

No, I think most of the world doesn’t give a #£&* about the British government. It has become no more than an irritating fly yiu can’t be bothered to swat.

But how far it’s fallen is a source of global amazement.

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