How to Piss Off a French Person

A friend sent me this link to an article on How To Piss Off a French Person, written for Matador Network by Morgane Croissant (com’on, does a name get more French than that?).

Aside from claiming that the French language is “insignificant” (See my previous post), Croissant gives us some fabulous ways to piss off French people, should you decide to make this a goal.

The point she makes about the healthcare system and other benefits was an interesting one. From my American perspective, the French do have it rather easy with their 5 to 8 weeks of vacation, nearly free higher education, and free health care. Yet many continue to complain – as the French are prone to do. (Sorry if I just pissed you off, my dear French readers!) Croissant points out that – yes, the French have these benefits, because they have worked hard, stood up for what they believe to be their rights, and even fought revolutions in order to ensure the lifestyle they now lead. Excellent point, I concede.

I had to laugh, too at the idea that our butchering of the French language is like fingernails on chalkboard to the French, and they’d rather not have to hear it. Did anyone see the movie The Monuments Men? I loved how French character after French character made a disgusted face when Matt Damon’s character tried to speak French, and how they all told him, in their thick French accents, that his French was terrible. Over the last nearly two decades of traveling in France, I’ve noticed the French, even the Parisians, easing up on us poor foreigners as we attempt to speak in French. I’m sure it is in part that my French has vastly improved, but I also think the French are starting to cut us some slack. Still, I’ve had more than one stubborn conversation with a French person where I say something in French, they respond in English, I continue to speak in French, they continue to speak in English, and so on. I want to use my French, perhaps they want to practice their English. I often feel my French is better than their English, perhaps they feel their English is better than my French. Either way, pretty sure we were both pissed off. Good times.

Stay tuned for my next post, where I will give you valuable tips on how to not piss off the French, and perhaps enjoy your next vacation to France un peu plus!

13 thoughts on “How to Piss Off a French Person

  1. I have the same issue as you, I speak french and they respond in english. I have been living in Paris for almost a year, although that is not the worst responds, some just keep on pretending that they don’t understand you at all even though I would do just find talking to other people. Off course they are nice one who help you with your french and point out your mistake and help you learn. The ups and downs living in France

  2. The French tourist org have and still do training classes “formation” on how to deal with foreigners , especially those in upper tourist places so their patient to undertand French from visitors has improved a lot over the years since 1972 that I have been coming here and then living since 2003;(been French myself since 2000).

  3. Hello ! I am so sorry to read such impression on my fellow French. Maybe those behaviors belong to Paris, because I have never witnessed it in my city. I assure you, some French can and will be patient, won’t care about your accent and will speak French to you.

    • The Parisians, as I said above, can be special 😉 But I’ve had many positive experiences in France, within Paris and certainly outside of Paris. Plenty of French people have appreciated my efforts in French. Thanks for reading!

  4. I’ve been married to a Frenchman for 44 years and speak really good french. My husband still says; “Tu parle Français come une vache Espagnole.” I guess he is the one trying to piss me off?

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