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People in south-west of France are the most polite, survey claims

The poll gave 15 cities a score out of 10 for rudeness, and also asked about tipping habits and French stereotypes

A dog holding a roll of dog poop bags

Not picking up after dogs was one of the rudest behaviours identified in the poll Pic: Otsphoto / Shutterstock

Toulouse has been voted the most polite city in France in a new poll - which also found Lyon to be the least-polite city, removing Paris as the most infamously less than friendly destination.

The poll by language course platform Preply questioned 1,500 representative French residents online in 15 major cities across the country, from October 26 to November 1. The residents had lived in their city for at least a year.

The rudest and the…‘least-rude’

Each city was given a ‘rudeness score’ out of 10, with those scoring the least considered to be the ‘most polite’ (or at least, the ‘least rude’).

It found Toulouse (Haute-Garonne) to be the most polite city with a score of 7.15 out of 10, closely followed by Strasbourg (Bas-Rhin, 7.17), Rennes (Ille-et-Vilaine, 7.22), Bordeaux (Gironde, 7.27), and Dijon (Côte-d'Or, 7.59).

In contrast, Lyon (Rhône) took the dubious top spot as the least-polite city, with a ‘rudeness score’ of 9.41 out of 10, followed by Marseille (Bouches-du-Rhône, 9.26), and Nice (Alpes-Maritimes, 9.08).

Perhaps surprisingly, given its reputation, Paris, 9.00 came in fourth, while Lille (Nord, 8.25) came in fifth.

That’s rude…

The respondents said that the most common rude behaviours included:

  • Being absorbed in your smartphone in public
  • Not picking up after dogs
  • Being noisy in public
  • Not expressing gratitude to drivers when leaving public transport (buses, taxis, etc.).

Generous tipping?

The study also took other factors into account, including generosity when tipping. 

Nice was found to be most generous, followed by Strasbourg. 

But in contrast to their ‘politeness’, the least generous cities were Rennes, Bordeaux, Toulouse, Clermont-Ferrand, where around 50% of people said they normally never leave a tip.

Read also: Map: Where in France do people give most to charities?

French stereotypes

The poll also found that 68% of participants agreed with the stereotype that people in France are impolite, and almost a third (31%) said that French people are rude because they ‘swear too much’.

It also found that cultural differences and language difficulties can sometimes be seen as rudeness. Findings included:

  • 27% agreed that cultural differences lead to incomprehension
  • 27% said French people and foreigners have different levels of formality
  • 23% claimed that French people lack enthusiasm
  • 23% felt that the ‘linguistic barrier’ can be seen as impolite
  • 22% believe that the media reinforces a ‘wrong’ stereotype of the French 

And while French ‘rudeness’ is sometimes seen as simple ‘directness’, the poll respondents disagreed, with just 19% agreeing that people in France are ‘very direct’.

Related articles

MAP: stubborn Bretons and other regional stereotypes around France
Croissants, cheese, strikes - what makes the French, French?
Talking point: Is it really offensive to say ‘the French’? 

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