I can’t understand why the French, especially those in Paris hate the British so much. Despite the historical wars of CENTURIES ago, we have been through so much together, especially during the World Wars. We have worked together since then, the Channel Tunnel being an example. Many French citizens work in Great Britain and many Brits visit or settle as expats in France. The attitude of the average Paris born person is ridiculous and just outright rude! As someone who was thinking of living in Paris for a year, I am very put-off by this superficial attitude of many Frenchies. Can you explain why the French or Parisians have this dreadful attitude towards the British?
Very interesting question and for once, we’re going to leave the US alone (who said “finally”?).
First I have to say that I’m a little sad you’re not going into specifics, because you seem to be alluding to some personal experiences, and I wish you had described them.
I’m going to start by pointing out the contradictions in your question.
You seem to feel that if not all, at least most of the French hate the British, but a few lines later you mention the fact that we work together well, many citizens from both countries work, live and settle in the other one.
See what I mean?
If we work so well, if there are so many people travelling and moving to the other country, maybe it’s because the French don’t hate the British, and the British don’t hate the French.
And because of that I can’t really answer the “why” in your question, because there is no “why” in the first place.
But don’t think that will stop me from answering anyway.
Let’s talk about history and geopolitics first.
You say the wars we had were centuries ago. Well, yes, the last one was 1815 if I’m not wrong (really 1815? I’d swear there has been at least another one? Any historian here?), and that’s technically two Centuries ago.
But as you’re not an American (whoops, sorry, I said I was gonna leave you alone tonight guys, sorry…) you know that two Centuries are not much when you’re talking about history, especially compared to roughly a thousand years of being almost constantly sworn enemies.
And you also know of the influence history has in shaping national identity and national rivalry. And yes, mostly because of what I would call “school propaganda”, the French are still pissed at England for the Hundred Years War and burning Joan of Arc, and if I’m not wrong, you guys are not big fans of Napoleon, are you?
So, yes, we haven’t been at war in about 200 years, we’ve even been allied for more than a Century, but not everything will go away that easily, and a rivalry has always been present between both countries, even after we stopped warring, whether it is with sports, or colonization before that.
And even today, while we’re trying to build some sort of decent Europe, there’s always that feeling (and not only from the French, but from many Europeans) that Britain doesn’t really know what it wants with Europe and keeps on being a pain in Europe’s ass on many issues.
I’m not even going into the fact that many Europeans and France resent strongly the fact that there are some tensions between Europe and the US, Britain tends to side on the US’s side (are you still trying to gain the 13 colonies back or what?), even in very shameful ways like the last time.
But seriously, apart from those criticisms and rivalries, I don’t see any hate from the French towards the UK.
I mean, sure you’ll find some backwards people that will hate the UK (and usually every single other foreign country with it), but one cannot say that France hates the UK.
And if I didn’t know better, I’d even be tempted to say that’s the other way around when one reads the British tabloid press. There hasn’t ever been a French newspaper insulting Tony Blair and calling him a worm or a weasel, even while he behaved like Bush’s bitch.
Can I say the same with the British press and Chirac and the French? No I can’t.
But before I finish, you seem to insist on the fact that more than the French in general, it’s the Parisians who hate the Brits, and that I really don’t know where that comes from, because Parisians maybe the French people that are the most enamoured with the Brits.
If you had asked about people from Périgord, yes, you may find quite a few that dislike the Brits more and more, but one cannot say they don’t have good reasons (when locals can’t afford to buy houses anymore and must leave villages where their family has lived for Centuries because British retirees have killed the housing market, there are good reasons to be mad).
So sure, apparently you have been mistreated by Parisians.
But where you’re way off here, it’s because this has nothing to do with the fact you’re a Brit, not even the fact that you’re a foreigner. It has everything to do with the fact that they’re Parisians, and they don’t know any other way to treat people, even between each other.
Simple as that.
But in the end, yes we have our differences, our rivalries, and our history, but no, the French don’t hate the British, although their popularity would be higher if they finally fully committed themselves to the EU and if their rugby team lost more often against France.