The English in France!

Honestly, with perhaps the exception of those you have met online, what has been your experience upon meeting your fellow Englishmen (or Brits) during your time in France?

Anecdotal stories welcomed!

In Bellac 87300, all the British are very nice, its a small town, there is a nice community, and English pub (frequented by English and French) and there is open forum on a Tuesday at one of the French Pubs, people meet, chat, socialise.

In Beaumont, 16490, I'm in a small hamlet with 7 houses, and the other English people are lovely, just lovely.

Generally in both areas, the English will stop and chat to you in Lidl or Netto, and everyone seems happy enough to pass the time of day.

But I guess that's what you get when you live in the less popular areas like Haute Vienne and Charente.

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thanks Brian,that's the first good laugh I've had today.

Reading some of these posts has made me smile. We don‚Äôt live in France at the moment - but have a small holiday home. We spend all of our holidays and free time there and have a small cottage in a hamlet of 5 houses. Four owned by British people and one by a French family. Our cottage and one other are very small and could only be holiday homes. The French family are wonderful - they always keep an eye out for us and appreciate that we make sure the cottage is well kept and the grass cut when we are away etc. We always make an effort to speak to them‚Ķ in French and English‚Ķ we get by between us! we always pop round with a tin of biscuits or something similar when we go over to show our appreciation of them. We pitched up late one evening in the dark‚Ķ and the neighbour was round straight away with his dog and a torch - to make sure it was us! We are also very lucky that the other British families are very nice too. The locals are lovely too - right down the the man who emptied our fosse and his wife (trying to talk to an aged frenchman with a heavy accent about the ‚Äėfosse‚Äô was very entertaining‚Ķ lots of waving the dictionary around‚Ķ the rest was ‚Äėsmile and nod!‚Äô and a chap who works at the local gamm vert who borrowed a trailer and delivered some wood to our door for us. Most of the British we have met have been lovely‚Ķbut some‚Ķ sorry to say it (am not a snob‚Ķ grew up in Council flat but am ex-RAF ‚Ķ retired for a few years) but are complete Chavs‚Ķ loud, brash, rude and MORE!!! they think because they have a few quid that they own the place and can say what they want and treat people how they like‚Ķ it really saddens me because a lot of the French families in our area would love to live in some of the houses the Brits have‚Ķ our children go down to a local ‚Äėparc de loisirs‚Äô with a swimming pool and lots of other activities‚Ķ my son thought it was wonderful how all of the kids were well behaved; he met a lovely french lad (who shook his hand when they went their separate ways‚Ķ Harry thought it was great) manners and standards‚Ķ some Brits could learn a thing or too! As for the lady on here who was ‚Äėharangued‚Äô in the supermarket‚Ķ who do these people think they are?.. they‚Äôre obviously jealous and have no manners. Although back in the UK people generally lack integrity (most of them couldn‚Äôt spell it or even know what it means!) and you are judged by what you have etc etc - so many of you guys are lucky to be living in France. Ooooooooh I feel better for getting that off of my chest!!!

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I'm afraid I've taken root up here! It's 40 years since I bought my first house in this village. It has many imperfections, but then we all have!

Actually Chris, you have hit on a great idea that you should sell to the overcrowded county of Essex. Planners should bear those trees in mind when construing future vast estates. Disguise them as jungles and let the rest of the population pay to go into to see those shaven heads being scratched up in their perches. Two birds with one stone, keep 'em at home and generate some money from them.

There was, the 70's an advert for Marston's Pedigree which read: "If you can't get Pedigree where you live - MOVE!!". Doesn't that apply to rugby too? Welcome to the South-West of France!

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What a delightful image you conjure up, Nadia. It makes me think of certain English males usually encountered in Scarborough or the Costa del Sol with shaven heads, tattoos and always wearing sleeveless vests [why, oh why?]. They should live in trees.

Drop in next time!

That would be telling... How about somewhere between Saissac and Cuxac?

Sadly up here in the Monts d'Arree the nearest good rugby is in Devon and Cornwall. The Bretons are only just starting to get intereested and next summer the under 21 World Cup is having some matches in Nantes to get the fever going! Even Paris is 5 hours plus by car.

You don't seem the least bit pompous to me. Some people need to guard their tongues.

I know the feeling Brian: I came from Liverpool and studied at Cambridge. I'm proud of that and loved my time there. And now,I am happy to be in France surrounded by nice French people and a few nice Brits. I asked a Belgian in our bike club why he moved here: "Parce que les gens ici sont si gentils et acceuillants" he said.

which village, by the way?

Just been watching the England=NZ game: brilliant! I love Saissac - go there frequently, take visiting friends to the castle - even cycle there occasionally!

We're almost neighbours too Chris, I'm in Saissac! been in France full time for 10 yrs. Castres are my local team...No nationality issues here...Everyone in the village just gets on! Great win for England v The All Blacks...Swing low! But there are English in a nearby village who discourage fellow English "intruders'! Wtf!


Unfortunately, Brian, some people are simply ignorant/idiots. Delightful - yes it can be sooo patronising, depends how it's used, as you say. I can understand your OH's hassles, good luck! Our funniest since taking over the tabac is the odd anglophone coming in struggling with the language (not all, some are excellent and everything's done in French), when I break into English I've been complimented on how good it is...!

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we moved permanently to France about 10 years ago to occupy a house in a small village next to a bistro owned by a welsh woman who had previously been amenable although somewhat possesive.

Being the only Brits in the village (bistro owner accepted) we set about our goal of intergrating with the locals & learning the language.

As our dear neighbour, despite living in the area for the previous 10 years, could not (would not?) speak french & conversed to the locals through her french husband (her fourth by the way, husband that is not french husband) our growing friendship with the locals upset her & from that moment on she proceeded to spread malliceous gossip via her husband & tried to make our life hell.

After several years of this we bought another house nearby & put our first house on the market. A buyer was soon found, compromise signed & deposite paid only for it to be rescinded after 3 days as our neighbour had informed the buyer that loud & late parties were held in her bistro which in fact closed before 8 pm due to the lack of custom.

The house was sold a few months later to-----Our Neighbour, who it transpired wanted to buy it before we purchased it as a holiday home. In the end she paid us 15,000 euros more than the previous buyer plus of course she had to pay agents fees.

We now live peacefully with our lovely french neighbours in a house which was once a farm/ bistro & has an indoor Boules alley, complete with the obligatory bar, where the locals still meet up weekends & public holidays to play boules, drink & gossip. We eat & drink with the local hunt & have only to ask when we need help with haymaking etc. My wife runs the local keep fit club, attends the local aquagym & has many good french friends. It is good for Anglo/French relations & helps our french no end.

Give me life with the locals anytime.


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Sorèze? We are nearly neighbours! Vivienne and I live just north of Puylaurens. There are not many British round here; we have made good friends with 2 British couples but equally with several French and assorted other nationalities. There is a clique of English who meet every Wednesday at the café by Puyl.mkt but they have made it quite clear we are not particularly welcome to join them. Do we care? Not one jot!