Why do the French hate the British so much?


(asked by Ravi from the UK)

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?


Ask a FrenchmanVery interesting question and for once, we’re going to leave the US and Americans alone today (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, and that many citizens from both countries work, live and settle in the other one.
See where I’m going?
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 either.
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 nonetheless.


The Frenchman according to the Brits.
(source:Grand-Duc via Wikimedia Commons)

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 after that? Any historian among people reading these lines?), 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 almost constantly being sworn enemies.
You also know of the influence history has in shaping national identity and national rivalries. 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; colonization was a nasty race against each other for more power, influence and riches, on a lighter topic, there’s also a strong rivalry between France and the UK in many sports, etc.
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 other 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 European and French people strongly resent that when there are some tensions between Europe and the US, Britain pretty much always sides with the US (are you still trying to gain the 13 colonies back or what?), to the point that the UK is sometimes seen as the US’ lapdog as far as international politics is concerned.

But seriously, apart from those criticisms and rivalries, I don’t see any hate from the French towards the UK, and especially not towards British people.
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. For example, no French newspaper has ever insulted Tony Blair and called him a worm or a weasel, even when he behaved as such in the first half of the last decade. Can I say the same with the British press and Chirac and the French? No I can’t. But, as I said, I know better, and I know that tabloid press is a piece of crap and doesn’t represent the British people in any way.


Those Brits look funny, don’t they?
(source: Timo1974 via via Wikimedia Commons)

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 I personally have the feeling that Parisians may be the French that are the most enamored with Britain.

If you had asked about people from Périgord, yes, you may find quite a few that dislike British people more and more, but one cannot say they don’t have good reasons for that (when locals can’t afford to buy houses anymore and must leave villages where their family has lived for centuries because British retirees have made local real estate unaffordable for the local population, there are good reasons to be mad).

However, apparently you have been mistreated by Parisians. Well, that 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 most of them don’t know any other way to treat people, they even mistreat each other. This is how most Parisians see human interactions.
Simple as that.

So, 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.

About David Billa

David was born and raised in the French South West. After a few years in the US and a few more in Paris, he finally settled down in Japan. He blogs here about his various experiences and travels, with an emphasis on his home country, France.

54 thoughts on “Why do the French hate the British so much?

    • Bertrand Feuvray

      I wonder why the English want to remain united with Scotland and Wales ( I do not know much about Northern Ireland to say anything) because they seem to hate the English more than continental Europeans. England and the English are considered important partners in several European nations of the EU.

      • David Billa Post author

        Er… Why would an English want to keep Wales or Scotland part of the UK?
        I don’t know, maybe for the same reasons a bunch of French wanted to keep Algeria part of France in the 50’s?
        You know, colonization and all that.
        Now, the Scots have voted, they decided to remain part of the UK, end of story for now, isn’t it?
        (maybe the Welsh should get their vote too though).

        • John

          I think a better analogy would be ‘Why would France want to keep Brittany or Languedoc part of France?’, since they’re both former nations, or regions that previously enjoyed a high degree of autonomy and cultural/linguistic distinction. Also, Scotland’s establishment voted to join the union in 1707 (albeit without the consent of the people) – England never managed to conquer it.

          • David Billa Post author

            Sorry John, but Brittany and Languedoc are not former nations. They enjoyed a great degree of autonomy in feudal times, just like every other region in France, it’s the whole point of feudalism. But since the end of feudalism, and France became a nation in the current meaning of the term, they have been part of it.
            Brittany has indeed a somewhat different culture and a different language (spoken by a small minority, just like everywhere else in France too, despite what they want us to believe).
            While I understand your comparison with Brittany (I have an old post about it in the old blog, I’ll move it here sooner or later), I’m not sure why you chose Languedoc as an example though. Corsica would have fit the bill much better.
            And honestly, if the vast majority of Bretons or Corsicans wanted to be independent, please, be independent.

          • chausette

            I just want to correct David in this case. Brittany wasn’t an region with a great degree of autonomy, but was an independant monarchy until 1530. We had our king, and queen (the most beknow is Anne de bretagne), we had our own law (and still have some of these), our own tradition. We can’t be compared with Languedoc, which was an french region, and spoke an french dialect.
            Our language, the breton, isn’t an french dialect. It’s an celtic dialect, so wales and breton can understand each others. In fact, we are more close to the corsican and the Basque in term of particularism than with languedoc.

          • David Billa Post author

            Chaussette, I’m afraid you need to revise your history of France a little bit…
            Brittany was sort of an independent monarchy during the Merovingian and Carolingian dynasties, France didn’t really exist as such at the time.
            In the 16th Century, Brittany was a duchy and as such considered a part of France as the Duke of Brittany was vassal to the King of France.
            Anne de Bretagne was queen indeed… Queen of France (twice, first as wife of Charles VIII and then of Louis XII), and Duchess of Brittany.

            Then, sure Brittany had its own sets of laws… just like every other Duchy and other feudal fief.

            Now onto languages… No, the language that was spoken (and still is here and there) in Languedoc and in the rest of the South of France is not a “dialect of French”, but a language on its own, Occitan.

            I know the Britons like to think they’re special, but truth is, they’re not that much… As previously mentioned, I have a post about Brittany in the old blog, I’ll move it here one of these days.

        • John

          Hi David. I was referencing Occitania, which no longer exists, so used one of its former regions as an example. Brittany was politically united as a single kingdom in the 9th century under Nominoe, and secured nominal independence from the Franks after the Battle of Jengland and the signing of the Treaty of Angers (851). I’m not sure the fact that the modern nation state of France is a recent development invalidates my parallels, since there’s a continuation of dominance by essentially the same dynasties in Paris over the rest of the polities in the region, from Charlemagne up until the Revolution. Also, of course the minority languages of France weren’t ‘minority’ languages when their respective regions/territories had autonomy.

          That said, obviously the British and French contexts are different, I just think the fight for supremacy in medieval France is a better parallel than European colonialism in North Africa (except in the case of English/British atrocities in Ireland, which I would say is the same).

          • David Billa Post author

            Be careful John, Occitania has never been a political entity, only a linguistic one (and even there, Occitan is far from being a unified language, not sure whether speakers from Gascony and Nice can understand each other that well). It’s not even a “region”, it encompasses pretty much the southern half of France and includes many counties, duchies and others.

            Brittany was indeed politically united once, but that’s even before feudalism. Once again, the concept of country back then was very different from what we understand today. What I mean by that, is that the fact that Brittany was once independent more than a thousand years ago is not a valid argument for claims to independence nowadays. If it is for Brittany, it is pretty much for any other region in Europe. Brittany’s past independence (and the very concept of Occitania, which only vaguely was a thing after the fall of the Roman Empire) are current reinventions, re-appropriations and retelling of history by the independence movements that can exist there.

            One problem with your parallels is also that you kinda associate modern France with its monarchies. Well, while it’s true that modern France started to take shape roughly during the 17th Century (Louis XIV kinda is the one who put an end to feudalism even if it was slowly dying), we had a Revolution to make sure those kinds of things (France being embodied by one series of individuals) don’t exist anymore.

            All in all, what I’m trying to say here is that claims to independence sometimes find “reasons” for more or less valid through history, but I think that finding traces of past independence in times when the very concept of the country from which one wants independence was different is not always very valid.

            Now, back to my original parallel, I didn’t pick any former colony of France, I picked Algeria precisely, because contrarily to the other colonies, Algeria was fully integrated to France and considered as a part of France by many, even if it actually still was a colony (the locals being exploited by the French natives and all that). While it’s still different from the Scotland situation, I think it’s the closest possible parallel with France.

  • james flower

    Well said. I’m English and my sister lives in the Dordogne area. I find all people there friendly an helpful.

  • Linda Shay

    Nice response but I wonder why you don’t mention Mers el Kebir? True the French and English have been allied but let’s not forget Churchill sunk the French Fleet in Mers el Kebir after the French signed the Armistice with Hitler. Of course 1940 is still a ways back in time but I imagine there are some still alive today holding that grudge. Just a thought.

    • David Billa Post author

      Believe it or not Linda, I wasn’t aware of the Mers el Kebir episode when I first wrote this post a couple of years ago (I only reposted it here last month).
      And even after knowing the facts (and by that, I mean reading the wikipedia page on it), it’s hard to call that a battle between France and the UK. I guess I’m one of those French people who have trouble considering the Vichy government as “France”. I think it’s a complicated issue that will be debated for a long time and that doesn’t have a right and wrong answer.

      Also, I don’t think many people hold a grudge against the British for that incident, but I’m under the impression that most people don’t know about that incident.

      Knowing more about the story, I think that sinking those ships made sense, killing the crew with them, not so much (could it be avoided?)

    • Bertrand Feuvray

      I do not understand why my people the French would be mad at Churchill for sinking the French Navy during WWII. It was logical. Hitler could have seized that navy at any time. Or if there was any doubt that Hitler could seize it, why wait and see if He was going to do it??? So as far as I am concerned, it was a strategic move and a good move. Why are the French always so upset then things happen to things French like that? They need to grow up and see what the point was. Churchill was a Francophile and he was also practical. De Gaulle made him attack somewhere in Africa. We can see from that that Churchill tried to please De Gaulle. Actually, he admired him. And De Gaulle gave him the best military decorations after WWII.

      Someone like Hitler could not be trusted. He had the best relationship with Poland in order to make sure that the Poles would not worry about the Germans. And yet what happened, He attacked them. He had an alliance with russia and when he planned to attack it, Churchill told the russians about it and they would not believe that the Germans would do that. And what happened? The GErmans attacked russia. French people need to stop picking fights with the English because of their quick impulsive reaction to what happens between the two countries. They need to see the practicality of actions and try to understand.

      • David Billa Post author

        Well, as you may know, the Mers El Kebir battle is not exactly famous in France, so I doubt that many French people would be mad at Churchill or anybody else in the UK.
        Now, one reason why they could (should?) is that it’s not just the ships that were sunk, but 1300 French sailors with them, sailors who were quite unlikely to start wearing the Nazi uniform just because. I mean some may have, but we can easily imagine that most would have joined the Allies forces, like most of the French military that was in the colonies and overseas did.

        • Bertrand Feuvray

          You forget that in the French military and that includes all forces, I am sure of that, members of the French military were pro-German because after World War I, there was a fear of communist russia. Germany, whether Hitler was in power or not or whether he was a fascist or not was seen as a country that could take care of communist russia. So if the French army was pro-German, so was the French navy. Usually, people in French forces tend to be on the right not the left.

          • David Billa Post author

            Fear of Communist Russia is a thing after WW2, before that, not so much.
            Were there Nazi friendly people in the French military? Sure there were, does it mean the military was? Nope.

  • jeff powell

    Ridiculous question I have lived in France for ten years and have never felt any serious animosity in this wonderful country.

    • Bertrand Feuvray

      I lived in England for ten years and I feel that the English people are a wonderful people. I was told on several occasions in both England and France that “I was English now.” Long Live England and the English.

  • Linda Shay

    As evidenced by the range of comments, it is clear that generalized statements evoke reaction and sadly Ravi’s original question is clearly generalized. I suspect for every Frenchman/woman that “hates” an Englishman/woman, there are an equal number that feel no animosity or ill will of any kind. As for Mers el-Kebir, unless some authenticated document is discovered that explains Churchill’s rationale, we will be left to speculate; albeit from an educated standpoint. There is little argument that if the French Fleet in North Africa fell into Hitler’s hands, the British would have quite possibly been defeated. The French had a substantial fleet, second only to the British, US, and Japanese. That said, it should be noted that the French, Darlan in particular, were well aware of the crisis developing and had made a full commitment to scuttle his own fleet if the German’s made any moves to secure it. It should further be noted that the French did exactly that in Toulon two years later; they scuttled nearly 80 of their own vessels.
    Perhaps Churchill acted prematurely but of course he was also desperately courting Roosevelt for US intervention. It was shortly after Mers el-Kebir that Roosevelt sent to Britain tons of ammunition declared “surplus”, circumventing the neutrality act. This was followed with Destroyers for Bases and then finally Lend Lease. It is disturbing to even consider a decision by one man, which cost the lives of over 1300 allies, might have been a self-serving tactic. Again, without the “proof” we may never know.

  • Peter

    Just a comment on the length of France and the UK’s history as allies.

    You mention in this article that France and the UK have been allies for around a hundred years, which I’m guessing means you are taking WW1 as the starting point of the alliance. Arguably that alliance stretches back further.

    It’s my understanding that relations had started warming in the 1830s, and the French and British were allies in both Opium Wars (the first of which started in 1843) and the Crimean War (which started in 1853). After that they were reasonably friendly and respectful towards each other. I guess that puts the France-UK alliance at more like 170 years old!

    • David Billa Post author

      I was referring to the Entente Cordiale of 1904.
      Indeed, France and Britain have been occasional allies in the 19th Century, but their relationship was also a bit tense at times, I’m thinking about various issues in Africa during colonization for example.
      So, while they’ve been friendly since roughly after 1815, they didn’t become official allies before 1905.

  • Johnny

    I am Scottish (British) and lived in Paris for 3 years 2003/06 and i loved every second of it. I stress the fact that I am Scottish because I don’t know if it would make any difference if I was English.. BUT I would happily go back and live in France again if the circumstances were right work wise etc… I Made several friends for life.. some French some from other European nations. Of course there are individuals who may not like you because you are British but in my experience they were few and far between and not worthy of a second of my time. I think the person who asked the question is guilty of believing the stereotype. France is a wonderful country. I would suggest they grasp the opportunity to live in Paris with both hands and forget what they’ve heard.

    • David Billa Post author

      The fact that you’re Scottish may or may not play a role.
      It may because of the “Auld Alliance”, it may not because most French people don’t really make the difference between British, English and don’t know much about the intricacies of the United Kingdom.

      • Bertrand Feuvray

        The Auld Alliance is a thing of the past. The French-English Entente Cordiale replaced the Auld Alliance. The Auld Alliance was an Anti-English Alliance. If the main power of that alliance creates an alliance with the enemy of the first alliance, then that first alliance is obliterated. I do not think that the Scots are more pro-French than the English. The Scots may resent the fact that France sees only one alternative to a military alliance to booster French military power: England. Scots want no nuclear weapons in Scotland. France counts on that English nuclear power to booster the French one. Because of that England would come first and Scotland last. As I said, the Auld Alliance is dead!!!

        • David Billa Post author

          The Auld Alliance as an actual military alliance died the day Scotland was colonized by England.
          It remains in spirit.
          Funny how you speak of Scotland and England as two different countries. You’re aware that they’re part of the same country nowadays, right?

  • Mark

    I am English and I have been to France many times. I would say that france is like anywhere else, mostly good people. I have heard some Brits say they don’t like the French, without ever stepping foot on French soil? You get fools and good people everywhere. I think there are plenty of things we both admire about each other.

  • Mark

    In fact I would rather lose a rugby match to France then Scotland or Wales, if I had no choice in the matter

  • Oliver

    Talking on behalf of my generation (I’m 31, English), I believe that any anti-french sentiment has shifted towards tongue-in-cheek banter.

    If we were to meet in a pub, the French would call us roast-beef, and we’d call you cheese-eating surrender monkeys. Neither would be said with emnity, more a mischievous twinkle to our eyes!

    It’s only when we take ourselves too seriously that problems occur (eg – Our football hooligans!). Banksy has a quote I like… “those who wave flags, don’t deserve to have one”. Live by your own set of morals, not allegiance by flag.

    • David Billa Post author

      This is also my experience with encountering English people, except that while I won’t get offended if I’m called a frog, I will if I get called a surrender monkey.
      However, I’ve never heard a rosbif say that, only conservative Americans (and they paid by being publicly ridiculed).

      • Oliver

        Unfortunately it’s said here too… though I reiterate, it’s tongue in cheek. Alongside comments about going on strike ;).

        The problem is, that offence is subjective. I know those who are offended by roast beef! Though I am not. The safe path is to be respectful to all – but we’re all human. And safe can be dull!

      • David

        One factor in any hatred (strong word) or perhaps dislike of the British by French people of an older generation may relate to the Second World War. My father and his regiment landed in Normandy in June 1944 and, (obviously along with other British, as well as American and Canadian troops) fought their way through France until Germany’s surrender. At the end of the war one of my father’s colleagues said to him “The French will never forgive us for liberating them…” He took the view that the French would find it galling to have to show gratitude to a country, Britain, that had been an enemy for so long in the past (all through the middle ages – the Battles of Crecy and Agincourt being examples) and right up to the Napoleonic Wars. I think he may have had a point.

        • David Billa Post author

          Honestly, I don’t think so.
          First, when D-Day is taught in French schools (at least back in my days, I have no idea nowadays), the Brits and the Canadians were an afterthought, it was all about the Americans (I blame the Marshal plan and overall US propaganda for that).
          Next, I haven’t met a single French person who is not grateful for what Britain has done during WW2.

  • ben

    “Why French hate british so much” ? Seriously ?
    You guys are sick! Stop your obsession with us
    After poluting the internet with hateful french bashing comments everywhere, you post a page “why French hate us so much” ?
    What is wrong with you ?

    • David Billa Post author

      Have you read anything from this site apart from the title of this post before commenting?
      I mean, the post itself would be a good start…

      • ben

        Just read the post, I find it pretty accurate. Let’s say that my comment was about the question. I admit I should have read your answer
        But com’on man, look at all this hateful comment from british everywhere ?
        There was this french dude on youtube posting a comment saying he would not hesitate to give his life to defend brits if they were attacked. And some brits insulted him for being a “fag” who would surrender, they don’t need him etc …
        I searched in google, “why british hate french so much”, and I found your page.. Pretty ironic…

  • Brett Bellas

    I served in the Légion Étrangère for 5 years, I have my “attestation de service” and could have taken French citizenship. I chose not to. I never encountered any problems being a “Johnny Rosbif”. In fact I think most of the French I met during my time thought it was cool that an English guy chose to undertake military service for France.

    Vive La Légion!

  • Jo

    I grew up with a sense that the French do not like it because English is used more widely as a language round the world than French, that they feel it should be the other way round.. the fact that the timezone is zeroed in Greenwich and should have been in France.. Is there any truth in that?
    The other thing that is noticeable here and feels like dislike is all the blame in Calais that it is our fault in Britain because of the immigrant issues.

    • David Billa Post author

      If you’ve read the post thoroughly, you will have understood that this hate is more imagined and a phantasm than a reality.
      While it’s true that French used to be the international language before being taken over by English, the US is as much to be blamed as the UK for that (if not more).

      Concerning Greenwich Meridian Vs Paris Meridian, I have never ever heard anyone resenting the English for that. I’m sure a vast majority of French people don’t even know that there was a time when the Paris Meridian was the reference.

  • Thomas

    I’m a rosbif who has lived and worked in Paris for the last 12 years, and I found David’s original answer to be just about spot-on: on an everyday level there is little or no anti- English sentiment (and I work and socialise 100% with French people) beyond the usual jibes about the weather and British cooking.
    As David rightly states, politics and sport are the two areas where the old “perfide albion” tag is still used, and there is sometimes a bit more “needle” to relations, no doubt because these are two areas where rivalry is generally inherent, so they provide a platform for a bit of old-school cross-channel bickering.

    • Bertrand Feuvray

      While I was living in London, England for 10 years, Some English people asked me what the French called the English. I said “Rosbif.” One of them said: “Really?” I said “yes.” Then he said: ” I can live with that..”

      I have never heard of any bickering over sport between England and France. I was accepted in every situation I was in. I am an Anglophile. England never challenged the position or influence of French. There was respect in England for things French. America challenged the position of French but I do not think that they did it on purpose. Even if they did, I do not care that French is no longer the #1 language. When you think about it, it was only the international language among the elites of other countries: Prussia, Russia had it in their Royal Court. But English was the international language of the average person.
      Thank you Thomas for your comment. I am glad that you like Paris or that you found a job there. I enjoyed my time in London tremendously. I like London better than Paris.

  • Ronnie

    I have met french people here in Spain and I find them to be very nice.

    The problem in not with interviduls but I think the “national spirit of the upper class and polititians” there is some sort of anamosaty for the brits.

    I hope that this will end and we can be united in friendship. (I think this feeling is also directed to the Americans?. Which is a great shame as without the USA both the brits and the french “would now be speaking german!
    Lets all love our neighbour as ourself!

    • David Billa Post author

      I consider this to be a bad question.
      The concept of “closest ally” is a pretty weird one, I almost want to say “childish”, like who’s your best friend in the schoolyard in elementary school?

      If you really want an answer, here it is:
      – First, I don’t really see what it has to do with the topic.
      – I’d consider any and every country in the EU to be France’s closest allies equally.

  • Bertrand Feuvray

    I was born and raised in france. I became a U.S. Citizen. I lived in England for 10 years prior to that. I did better than hearing the English occasionally refer to the French as frogs. I called myself a frog. There are advantages to that. Do you know what they are? Well, “there is not such thing as a frog just handsome princes who do not know who they are. And before–for the girls–you meet your handsome prince, you–the girls–will have to kiss a lot of frogs.” I found that one time somewhere while I was living in England during the 1970s.

  • Bertrand Feuvray

    David Billa:

    If the Welsh should have a say whether they want to stay in the UK or not, then Brittany should do the same. And then Corsica, Alsace, Normandy, etc. After all just like Wales Brittany or Bavaria were separate countries at one time. Queen Anne of Brittany married a king of France, thus creating the union with France. When Brittany was independent, it was the ally of England and Scotland was the ally of France. Same thing with Bavaria, it was the ally of France for 300 years. So the Germans have differences just like Britain or France.

    With the EU to work, no country like Scotland should have a say in leaving an existing nation within the EU. If the EU is to work, then each nation within it, should show that they are an example of strong unions. We cannot strengthen the EU if each nation within it is in chaos. The only reason places like Scotland wants to leave is because as a region, they received money from the EU. They think they no longer need the rest of Britain and yet Britain was the only thing that ever work.

    There should be a law that says that any nation joining the EU should remain whole while in the EU. If people in that nation are not happy with that nation, they should take their region out before joining the EU. No referendum should be allowed once in the EU.

    Regarding Tony Blair, he was under attack in France for supporting George W. Bush. They treated him really bad. Chirac had a terrible temperament and he had to get his way. After he did all he did, the french got rid of him. Ha, ha, ha!!!

    No there was no other war against Britain after 1814. There were disagreement over colonies like in FAshoda, but the English and the French decided that it would only benefit Germany if they went to war. Continental disputes were more of an issue for France than colonial ones. France was not going to forget Alsace Lorraine. France had decided that she could not fight both England and Germany and that Germany was the one she was going to fight. That was after 1870. Prior to that and after 1814, governments in France had to work with the rest of Europe in order to prevent other revolutions. That was the case during the reign of Louis XVIII and Charles X and during the second republic and during Napoleon III. The main concern besides the fear of revolutions was the rising power of russia. France was no longer the main enemy of England. Russia wanted to cause trouble in India and take over the Pacific Ocean. England signed an alliance with Japan in 1902 in order to prevent the russians to come down to the Pacific through the Sea Of Japan, the only area where it was ice free all year around.

    During the time of 1814 to 1956, England and France were quite close. Fashoda was an exception but let’s not forget the support of England in the Maroccan Crisis where Germany was not allowed to have a part of it and France obtained what she wanted with the support of England and America. There was an attempt at Constitutional Democracy in France after Waterloo and there was even a pro-English political party. Louis Philippe started the Au-Pair Girl organization because of the closeness with England.

    The reason England was the easiest choice for France not to fight compared to Germany after 1870, was because with the Germans everything had to be according to German terms, No compromise. The English fell out with them because of that and France was perceived positively. So the closeness between the two countries go way before World War I and World War II.

    England knows what She wants regarding Europe. All along with Mrs. Thatcher down to today, England does not want a centrilized Europe. England wants a Europe much like America where each state have their own say as before union but where there is a balance between each member state and the government of Europe. Preferably, it should be a federal government because that would allow that. Germany has a federal government and so this should be the example to follow. France wants a rigid union whereas England and Germany want a union with free trade. The Northern Part of Europe want Free Trade whereas the southern part want control of trade. France says that England does not know what she wants because france does not want understand and look at the issue for what it is. Free Trade is a good thing.

  • Vivienne Infante

    I arrived here serendipitously, having looked up on Google why the continued animosity between British and French. I should point out that I am English although I have lived in California for many years but remain a UK citizen. As a child growing up after the war I went to a school where many French students would come each summer to improve their English. I have always admired the language, the style and friendliness I experienced then and afterwards when I traveled in Europe often. But, like the French who are proud of their country and want to preserve all that is great in their laws, culture, food and so much more, the British, and in particular the English, cling to the rights acquired hundreds of years ago but are now being taken away little by little until there will be none left. All the people of Britain consider themselves European and want to continue being ever closer to Europe and its people without the Soviet style system set up in Brussels to erase that which makes us who we are. As the French say: vive la différence, even though they are referring to the sexes, it applies equally to the cultural differences between us all.

    • David Billa Post author

      You have quite an interesting view on the EU…
      Also, are you sure that you consider the British people as Europeans? If they want to be “closer to Europe” it kinda means that they’re not in Europe, doesn’t it? 😉

  • laura

    The British are definitely European. We share a great friendship with the Americans because of the language in common, but in terms of values and things we’re very european.
    The “in/out of Europe” thing is being misunderstood. If we vote to leave, we are still going be in Europe, just not in the EU. We’d be like Switzerland and Norway – though both of those are in Schengen – the UK could join that and then travel /border control really wouldn’t be affected – although if we leave the EU and don’t join Schengen, I really don’t see what would be any different. When I travel between France and Germany by road, nobody flags me down and checks my passport…
    The problem we have is a very small number of policy makers who work out of Brussels keep coming up with rules and legislation that we all have to adhere to, and it’s like being told what to do by your mother – except that you’re 47. So you decide you want to move out of the family home. That doesn’t mean you don’t love you mother any less, does it? Moreover, there are fees that we have to pay to the EU ‘club’ that some people question.
    I write this in France and I am engaged to be married to a guy from Paris and yet I personally am really not sure which way to vote. There’s so much mud slinging and ridiculous speculation from both sides. I guess if we leave the EU but going Schengen, we’ll be alright. What on earth will happen if Scotland decides to leave the UK, I don’t

    But on the topic of this thread, I really don’t think the French and the British hate each other. The tabloid newspapers in britain like to pretend we hate the French, but we don’t. A lot of people in Britain tell me they wish they had listened in school French class because they wish they could speak French now. That doesn’t sound like hate.

  • Aidan

    I’m an Irishman who living in France for 12 years and the animosity the French have for the English is evident, even frightening.

    At first it seemed like a bit of fun, yes we’re all together against the English, which is easy for an Irishman. But when my English friend was physically abused in a bar here in France I had to re-evaluate my opionion and show some solidarity with the English , who I share so much culture wise, despite their colonisation of my country. (It’s not the only country to be colonised by the English, and the French colonised in a similar way).

    Of course we prefer the Scots, who we regard as our cousins, and the Northern Irish, who are our brothers (the Welsh are English in disguise!).

    But a lot of my good friends here are English and they’re cool..

    A definintion of Heaven is where the English entertain, the French cook and the Germans organise.

    Hell is where the French organise, the Germans entertain and the English cook!

    • David Billa Post author

      You understand that you can’t use one unfortunate even to describe the thoughts of one entire nation towards another, right?

  • Jordy

    I’m Scottish and I didn’t want to leave England as we were in the EU. now we are leaving the EU I want to leave England. Also I love the French and France.

Comments are closed.