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  • Writer's pictureGaelle F.

France, the land of grumblers (kind ones)

In France, we love drinking wine, strolling hand in hand with our lover, eating snails, and... grumbling! Yes, the French are grumblers, and they even acknowledge it: it's part of our identity. When an American says, "Look how the sun shines, life is beautiful!" the French reply, "Not so much: it's going to rain soon!" France is bordered by a sublime coastline, with a mild and temperate climate, a terroir unique in the world, skiing destinations, and a jewel envied by the whole world: Paris. But for the French, that's not enough. Worse: it's just the minimum! For everything else, nothing is right: the roads are congested, public transportation is always crowded, it always rains when the holidays start, and there are always too many tourists.

Yet, the French love life, and 76% declare themselves happy (source: IFOP). So why this perpetual feeling of dissatisfaction? As Jimmy Kimmel said to Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling at the last Oscars ceremony, the French are born winners of the "genetic lottery": life may be less appreciated when born in a stable country, with a pleasant climate, an enviable social system, and a unique tourist dynamism in the world. Which French person hasn't met a foreigner saying, "Oh, I love France!" or "I would love to visit your country!"?

Consequently, perhaps the French are very demanding, too demanding? The minimum is not enough for them. They want the best bread for breakfast, sunshine when THEY want it, parking spots to free up when they park their car, and especially no one in front of the Mona Lisa when they visit the Louvres!

And if they don't get what they want: they grumble, and make it known. But here's the thing: the French are charming, polite, seductive, they speak better and better English, know how to welcome tourists from all over the world (even without a smile!), and above all, they love to meet other citizens of the world: 65% of the French thus declare themselves more fulfilled thanks to travel (source: La Figaro). "La curiosité est un vilain défaut" they say in France. Yet another reason to grumble!


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