I Hate France – Why Do a lot of People Dislike France?

Believe it or not but when I first moved to France I didn’t like it, even though I was living in one of the best cities for expats.

I struggled to learn French and adapt to the culture. I was unable to connect with people and relate to my surroundings. Even with my then-boyfriend by my side, I felt isolated. But once I had a grasp on the language that all changed. I could communicate in a way that I couldn’t before, and I developed a new appreciation for the country and its people. The more I learned, the more I grew as a person, and my frustrations slowly drifted away. Now, I love France, and I’m proud to call it my home.

If you’re thinking of moving to France or if you’re already here, you might be in the same situation. So, to help you overcome these feelings, I’m going to delve into the reasons why people dislike France. I will cover the common misconceptions and prove why they are not reasons to dislike France, but rather reasons to love it!

I Hate France - Why Do People Dislike France
I Hate France – Why Do People Dislike France?

7 Reasons Why a lot of People Dislike France

1. French People are Arrogant

French people are often perceived as arrogant, which can be off-putting to some. In general, they can be vocal about their opinions and critical of others. This is especially true when it comes to other cultures. Then, if you take into account their strong sense of national pride, it’s easy to see why this stereotype exists.

I would, however, argue that this is true of any nationality. Every country thinks they are better than everyone else. But it’s important to remember that each has its strengths and weaknesses.

So, if you come across a French person who thinks or vocalizes that their culture is better, start a discussion and see if you can learn something from it. Remain open-minded and willing to receive their reasoning. I’ve done this several times, and it has helped me to better understand their culture.

2. They Refuse to Speak English

If there is one thing the French are proud of, it’s their language. And rightly so! It’s a beautiful language. Not only that but why would a French person want to speak English in France?

I’m a strong advocate for learning new languages, especially if you’re thinking about moving abroad.

While the language barrier can be difficult to overcome in France, it’s something you’ll have to get used to. And it’s certainly not a reason to dislike France. If anything it’s a reason to love France.

When I was finally able to speak French, my initial impressions changed. I saw how vital it was to the culture and preserving the customs and traditions. It was at this moment that I began to fall in love with France.

3. France is Dirty

France is not dirty but rather a beautiful country
France is Beautiful!

It’s true that Paris is not the cleanest city.

There’s even a phenomenon called Paris Syndrome. It occurs when tourists are so disappointed with the cleanliness of the city that they become depressed.

Since most people only visit Paris, they assume that the rest of the country is also not clean. But I can assure you that this isn’t true and it’s not a reason to dislike France.

I’ve traveled a lot in France, and Paris is not representative. If you don’t believe me, just visit the small towns in Alsace or spend one incredible day in Reims. I can guarantee that by the time you’re done, you’ll agree that France is a very beautiful and clean country.

4. They are Rude

French people are often perceived as rude. They tend to be frank and more formal in social situations. And compared to Americans they are not as outgoing, which can come across as impolite.

From personal experience, I would not use the word rude, but rather shy. I’ve found that it takes longer to get to know French people, but once you’re able to pass this barrier, you’ll have a lifelong friend. They are loyal, kind, supportive, and anything but rude.

5. French Bureaucracy is Slow

The French bureaucracy is a nightmare. Everything is ridiculously complicated and it can take months to get things done. So, it’s no surprise that this is one of the main reasons why people dislike France.

For me, it’s the most frustrating system I’ve ever experienced, and, of what’s listed here, it’s the only one that is true.

If you are planning on moving to France, it’s something you’ll have to deal with. Over the years, I’ve learned to be more patient and prepare myself for the unexpected.

On more than one occasion I’ve had requests for documents that were not listed anywhere. I, eventually, began bringing everything with me for every appointment. It’s a strategy that has proven to be effective time and time again. I even used it when I applied for my spousal visa.

I should mention that the French government has made efforts to increase the efficiency of its bureaucracy in recent years. More services are online and you can even contact various agencies via email. It still has a long way to go, but it is improving.

6. French dislike Americans

The Perception that French dislike like Americans is not True
Cultural Differences can lead to Misunderstandings

There’s a general feeling that the French dislike Americans and vice versa. But this is an overarching statement that can’t be analyzed without looking at the differences between the two countries.

First, the cultures, politics, and economies, are on opposite ends of the spectrum. The United States has more of a capitalist way of doing things whereas France is more socialist. Now, I’m not saying that one is better than the other. I’m simply pointing out that the overall way of doing things is different. And this is where the majority of misunderstandings arise.

When I first came to France, many of my colleagues had preconceived notions about me because I was American. Only after I showed that I was willing to have an open dialogue did their opinion change.

7. French People are Lazy

There is a perception that French people are lazy. They often take long lunches and seem to work fewer hours than people in other countries. Not only that but France ranks in the top ten for countries that go on strike. And, while this may be true, the French economy is, actually, very productive, ranking third in Europe. So, rather than say that the French are lazy, I would argue that they have a better work-life balance. They work hard while they are at work so they can enjoy their time away from the office.

The concept of work-life balance is not something that I was accustomed to as an American. But, since implementing this concept my quality of life has improved. I’m happier, healthier, and have a more positive outlook on life.


It’s easy to list reasons why people don’t like France. Some go as far as to say, “I hate France.” But this kind of attitude only fuels prejudice.

I’ve been living in France for quite some time, and I’ve grown to love the country, its people, its language, and its culture.

Many of the points listed above did cross my mind over the years, but I used them as a source of conversation. I took the time to learn why these existed and discovered that they are, for the most part, derived from misunderstandings. And, hopefully, this post has convinced you of the same.

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Jen Ciesielski
Jen Ciesielski

Jen Ciesielski is the creator of Dabbling in Jet Lag. She has lived abroad for over ten years, traveled to more than 50 countries, and speaks French and English fluently. Her areas of expertise include moving abroad, learning languages, and travel planning. Originally from the United States, she now lives in France, where she has been for more than six years. She has also traveled extensively around the country. She shares her experiences as an expat living in France and helps thousands of people plan their trips every month.

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