Zut alors! French admit they are the rudest in the world

19th October 2006

Snobs: Gallic waiters are famous for their distant approach

Anyone who has been snubbed by a Gallic waiter won't be surprised to hear French tourism chiefs have admitted they are the rudest people on earth when it comes to greeting foreign visitors.

The scathing study found the French in major cities to be 'stressed out and distant' towards tourists.

Although a third speak English most refused to help struggling tourists, the report admitted. And Gallic waiters 'shun the idea of service with a smile.'

The research by the International Tourism Market Symposium found despite this, France has maintained its place as the top tourism destination this year. It attracted 76 million visitors compared to Spain's 54 million and the UK's 28 million.

The report's author, French tourism expert Claude Origet du Cluzeau, said: "In the major cities, the French are more stressed out, more distant and rarely make an effort to break the ice and approach a foreign tourist.

"This gives the impression that the French are arrogant or even scornful."

Paris's regional tourism chief Jean-Pierre Blatt confirmed that the country was "nearly the worst of all for a warm reception."

And Bernard Plasait, a member of France's Economic and Social Council, said: "French service industry workers tend to shun the idea of service with a smile for fear their service will be mistaken for servitude."