Saturday 10 December 2016

French view of Britain 'cloth caps'

Published 05/08/2010 | 00:07

A pensioner on a mobility scooter is one of the things the French associate with 'Britishness'
A pensioner on a mobility scooter is one of the things the French associate with 'Britishness'

A pensioner on a mobility scooter, a cloth cap and a cup of tea are some of the things the French most associate with "Britishness", according to a new survey.

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The poll, in conjunction with an ad campaign for Renault Megane cars, found almost a third (30%) of French people questioned thought Britishness was associated with an image of an elderly man on a mobility scooter while nearly a quarter (23%) chose an athletic Tour de France cyclist as one of the pictures representing themselves.

More than half (53%) of the continentals surveyed associated the UK with a flat cap and over three-quarters (79%) with a cup of tea. In contrast, when asked to choose from the 20 images which pictures reflected their culture, 90% of the French selected a platter of cheese and 63% a glass of champagne.

When the Britons questioned were asked to pick three "French" images, 71% chose the Camembert cheese, 57% selected champagne and 31% picked the Tour de France racer.

Broadcaster Gyles Brandreth said he was not surprised by the views of the French respondents. He added: "The English are much more gracious to their neighbours. The problem with the French is they have never been able to come to terms with the complete disaster which was the catastrophic defeat at Crecy, Trafalgar and Waterloo. It's as if the referee hasn't blown the final whistle."

The poll by YouGov surveyed 4,048 French and 2,169 Britons about their opinions of one another.

Villagers from Gisburn, Lancashire, were left fuming last week after their hamlet was mocked in the Renault advertising campaign.

In the advert, images from Gisburn were contrasted with those from Menton on France's Cote d'Azur, with a swimming pool compared with a puddle, designer heels with slippers and a glamorous couple sipping wine in a restaurant with a frumpy couple sitting on a bench.

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