Loud & Slow: Here’s What The French Hate About Tourists

Bruce Parkinson, Open Jaw

New research reveals that one quarter of French residents find tourists to France to be ignorant, and the biggest complaints involve the language barrier. 

Rather than learning a few words or phrases, tourists to France tend to speak louder, slower, with a fake French accent or with excessive hand gestures, the survey found.

Jetcost.com conducted the research as part of an ongoing study into the habits of tourists when visiting France. 2,397 French residents aged 18 and over, all of whom live within close proximity to key tourist attractions around the country, were quizzed about their encounters with those visiting their country.

First the good news: All respondents were asked “How do you find the majority of tourists that you encounter in your area?,” to which the top response was found to be ‘polite and friendly’ (47%). But 23% said they found visitors to be ‘ignorant’ of the destination and the local culture.

In a bid to determine what it was about tourists that bothered them the most and what they considered to be ignorant, relevant respondents were asked to state what tourist traits they had encountered that they found to be annoying, rude or disrespectful. When provided with a list of possible responses and told to select all those that applied, the top five most annoying tourist traits were found to be:


  • Speaking louder in their own language – 67% 
  • Speaking slower in their own language – 55% 
  • Not bothering to learn a few basic words/phrases in the local language – 54%
  • Adding a fake French accent to their own language – 41%
  • Using excessive hand gestures – 29%

Other annoying traits were found to be ‘dawdling and constantly being in the way’ (18%) and ‘being excessively drunk in public’ (7%).

When asked what nationalities they found to be the worst for being ignorant, the top nationalities were found to be ‘American’ (13%), ‘English’ (10%) and ‘German’ (8%).

Finally, all respondents were asked “Do you try to learn a few words or phrases in other languages when you holiday abroad?” to which 65 percent replied that they do. The top languages learnt were found to be ‘English’ (32%), ‘Spanish’ (10%) and ‘German’ (9%).

Bruce Parkinson

Bruce Parkinson Editor-in-Chief

An observer and analyst of the Canadian and international travel industries for over 25 years, Bruce uses the pre-dawn hours to prepare a daily news and information package to keep industry members up to date.

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