May 132012

I cannot recall that it is “Be nice to the French Day” but just in case it is, I thought I would share this with you:

A real turn-up for the books – an 18th Century illustration of the differences between the French and the English,  where the artist (Rowlandson) is not being nasty to our European cousins! It is entitled “Englishmen in November… and Frenchmen in November”.

 The image is from the British Museum, and therefore their copyright is acknowledged.

So, there we have it: as the winter evenings draw in les Anglais sit around in their arm chairs being bored, while their French counterparts are having witty conversations, cavorting, playing musical instruments, imbibing the odd drink or three,  playing with their dog, joining the hunt, or going off to dance a jig!

I find preconceptions about other nationalities fascinating. A couple of years ago we were staying in a French guest house. The other residents were an elderly French couple, who told us proudly that, no, they had never been to England, and was it really true that the English like their beer warm and ate a lot of boiled meat? (!) I felt I couldn’t argue with the former, but was at pains to point out that we do occasionally roast, casserole, barbecue, grill and fry our meat. I suspect that ‘boiled beef and carrots’ has a lot to answer for…

  3 Responses to “How the English view the French…..”


    I just bought ‘1000 years of annoying the French’ and as I’ve finally given in and been learning French for a year or so your post made me chuckle. Seems I can even spot the French on the street now – when an old man asked me for Liberty on Regent St this week I just responded in French and he was very happy. Oh, for social, cultural and national stereotypes…


    I suspect your elderly French couple may have read ‘Asterix in Britain’….


    The French boil their meat pretty often judging by my experiences with a French family as a teenager. The resultant bouillon was served as a first course with bread soaking in it, followed by the meat itself. And surely the French know us as ‘les rosbifs’ which belies the boiled meat slur. Although of French extraction I am always amused by the centuries-old enmity between the two nations.

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