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What do the French think of their English neighbours

Posted by Farthing - Created: 3 years ago
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10 replies (Showing replies: 1 to 10)

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Posted by oakley-419073 - 3 years ago

It has never ever crossed my mind about being different to our neighbours because our first language is English.  It makes no difference at all - there are nice and nasty all over the world. 

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Posted by Tilla - 3 years ago

I have found myself more readily accepted in rural Brittany than I was in Wales or Cornwall.  In conversation with our French farming neighbour it became clear he would rather have Englsh country minded people living here than Parisien holiday makers complaining that the peace of the countryside was being spoiled by his tractor engine or his cows lowing!

As to caring about what people think - it depends on what level you have in mind.  I don't give a dmn what anyone thinks about the way I dress or what I grow in my garden (for instance), but it does matter to me that there should not be misuderstandings that cause me or others to feel upset and offended, eg - people visiting me parking across the neighbour's entrance. 

As for those that worry about fitting in - maybe they are the sensitive types - we usually gauge other people's reactions by our own priorities.

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Posted by camion - 3 years ago

Precisely the response from Reveuse and from our experience- the french just accept you for who you are, they don't expect you to "pretend" to be something you are not!

I would have thought that knowing others culture would be a basic research prior to moving countries anyway, so as not to offend anyone, but sooooo many people I come across here are literally paranoid about "fitting in", my question posed was, what exactly is "fitting in", as I am yet to find any french/breton person who actually is bothered what you do..in a nice way of course!

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Posted by AQ-417490 - 3 years ago

Someone asked why should we be concerned about what people think of us. Perhaps people are simply intrigued by other people's thoughts about new neighbours from abroad, leaving their home country to live amongst people who speak a different language etc. Our French neighbours were very interested to know our reasons and with the ensuing discussion, they had a better understanding and made us feel welcome and part of the community.

Apart from that, I think wanting to know what others think about new neighbours is wanting to "fit in", not to stand out like a sore thumb (I'll bet there's a completely different French expression for that), and, in general, not to behave in a way that might offend locals. Some might not be concerned at all, but others want to be accepted and feel more welcome.

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Posted by geegee42 - 3 years ago

Having spent ten years living in the Norfolk countryside and over thirty living in Norwich I can assure you country folk are country folk the world over,in my experience to some people city folk have no idea about anything and londerners are more akin to some alien race than the human one,to city folk the countryside is full of cows ,tractors and quaint little cottages that the peasants live in,all the nice big houses of course belonged to the weekend Londoners who pushed all the prices up so the poor locals couldn't afford to buy them,I've worked with people who thought that people south of Norwich should stay south of Norwich and others who thought that people from the next village were foreigners,with the movement of more city folk into the countryside things have gradually changed but there are still quite a few old hands who still think the old ways were the best,in France there is so much space that nearly all the city folk could move out into the countryside and no one would really notice.

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Posted by Dave Evans-439024 - 3 years ago

The house my wife & I bought wasn't wanted by the local community. We made an offer to our, French, lady friend whose Mun had owned the house and she TOLD her 3 sisters that we were having the house! A year later during a "do" in our commune she brought ALL her family to look at how we had looked after "Mum's house". Our neighbours stop and chat and Anne Marie is a jewel. If she says something I don't understand she repeats it a different way. We aren't in each others pocket but we feel part of the community.

A few years ago Bernard our nearest farmer was working outside his barn next to our drive. It was tippling it down. I said that it raining cats and digs to which he replied, no it is raining like a cow pees!

I think we are part of the community and that our local folk accept us as amiable immigrants.


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Posted by JohnP-390097 - 3 years ago

My experience in the 11 years I have been here is very positive. I have French neighbours and I get along very well with them. My French is poor but they appreciate that I make an effort and we usually end up speaking Franglaise and having a laugh. I am lucky, I seem to be well accepted here and vast majority are friendly. I think you need to make a bit of an effort and be respectful, I will always be a foreigner here but that doesn't bother me, I much prefer to be a foreigner here than a native living in the UK.

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Posted by kervéor - 3 years ago

I was at a weekends training course for my dogs ,the Saturday night we were having dinner and talking about the Syrian refugees , when I pointed out that I was an immigrant here .No one had thought about it ! Ofcourse we all had a common interest ,in dogs ,so maybe that was it ..

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Posted by AQ-417490 - 3 years ago

Sharing a common language certainly does not make people like-minded. However, if , as the original posting asked - what do the French think of their English neighbours ?, understanding their language goes a long way in finding out. I might have more in common with my French neighbours than I had with my UK neighbours, but it's through communication that common interests are understood and shared. Some of the best discussions I have had were with French people who wish to improve their English, sometimes where I speak in French (or try) and they reply in English, with each of us helping the other along the way.

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Posted by seashore-10052757 - 3 years ago

I don't understand the notion that sharing a language makes people like minded. I have far more in common with my neighbour than the English couple who live up the road. We pass the time of day but sharing a nationality is a strange basis for friendship. I also find it strange that people insist that the French do not renovate properties. In my 'village' of six houses four of them have undergone major renovation in recent years. That's three French families to one British. In my experience the local population are very welcoming to the expats, seeing them as a positive input into the local economy.