Funny Regional Rivalries in France

Salut !

Today in Comme une Française, we’ll talk about a very loaded topic. Things that can get you into trouble if you bring them up with the wrong people. Or get you into endless hours of debate, French-style, with friends shouting at each other and and wine glasses flying.

Even I could get into trouble just for filming this video in Grenoble.

I’ll show you a few absurd regional rivalries in France.
Those questions or very delicate topics no one agrees on. And that are an endless source of jokes.

Pain au chocolat ou chocolatine – by Le Gorafi
La France vue par les Français
Des blagues sur les Normands et les Bretons par Heula, une marque géniale de produits humoristiques

Et toi ?

Which of these “wars” have you seen in France?
What made you smile the most?
Have you ever made one of these mistakes in France? How did this go?
Lecteur français : partage donc un régionalisme marrant, qu’on rigole un peu. 🙂

Bonne journée et à tout de suite dans les commentaires !


Join the conversation!

  • I was traveling in Québec a few years ago and ended up in an épicerie in a town with three men there. I speak French well, but found it very challenging to understand the Québecois. One man was asking me if I came what sounded like api. Finally, it clicked that he was saying à pie for à pied. We had a great laugh about my French accent and their québecois accent.

  • Bonjour Geraldine I have better understanding of french thank parle speaking of french I get so nervous and excited and forget everything that I have learned

  • Merci pour ces vidéos. Aux États-Unis, il y a beaucoup de différences régionales comme ça. Par exemple, soda vs pop, sneakers vs tennis shoes etc.

  • Je vis en Arizona. Aux USA on dit: up north, down south, out west, et back east–dependant d’ ou on est au moment. Et we la ligne qui separe le nord du sud, n’y a aucune question, elle est bien connue. Les sudois s’appellent southerners, et ceux qui habitent l’ouest s’appellent westerners, et ceux du nord-est s’appellent damned Yankees.

    • Hi Tony!

      Limoux is a small town in southern France (near Carcassonne, near the western Mediterranean coast). It’s moderately famous, for its sparkling wine and its carnival.

      Le Limousin is the name of the area around the city of Limoges, in Western-Central France (on the level of Bordeaux, but further east / inland). Limoges is famous for its porcelain.

      Have a great day,
      – Arthur, writer for Comme une Française

  • Chère Géraldine, Comment allez-vous? C’est Talia ici. Mille Merci pour ce video clip. Il etait tres interessant. Je ne suis jamais allée en France. (seulement dans mes rêves LOL). Je n’ai donc rien à commenter sur ce sujet des rivalités régionales. Mais j’ai une tante qui habite en France. Elle evidament sura par ce sujet. Au Israel, par example on dit: monter a Jerusalem parce que c’est le Capital. On ne dit jamais descendre a Jerusalem. Mais on dit descendre a Eilat ou Beer Sheva. En Australie, on dit : descendre a Melbourne et monter a Sydney. A tres bientot.

  • Moi, j’etait eleve en Suisse Romande, et alors mon accent francais est un peu suisse. Un fois a Paris, dans un magasin fruits et legumes, j’ai demande un navet. Le marchand m’a regarde comme si je parlait en chinois! Alors je lui ai montre – ‘un de ca, s’il vous plait’. ‘Heu! Vous voulez un navet vous devez le dire!’

  • I was told off for asking for une verre du vin rouge at a Fête in rural Languedoc. I should have pronounced as “ving” not “vin”. The old language Occitan is proudly still spoken. I felt really bad! Ironically I am Scottish so I support their bid to have a quasi-independence as we have the same tussle with the English!

  • My favourite Vienoisserie are Abricotines, but they are also known as patissierie oeufs plat I think, and also Oranais but I don’t know which regions these names come from. Does anyone know?

  • One of my (American) mother’s favorite jokes: What is a Yankee? If you’re from outside the U.S., it’s any American. If you’re in the U.S., it’s someone from the Northeast. If you’re in the Northeast, it’s someone from New England. If you’re in New England, it’s somebody from Vermont and if you’re from Vermont, it’s somebody who eats pie from breakfast. Mother told this joke to a friend from Vermont, who replied with a scowl: “And what’s wrong with pie for breakfast?”

  • Bonjour Géraldine! Je suis étudiant et je me suis intéressé par ce sujet dont vous avez parlé. Est-ce que vous avez plus de ressources sur ce sujet parce que j’ai l’intention de faire un coursework pour mon cours de français à l’école.

    Merci Beaucoup!

  • J’aime ça beaucoup!!! J’ai un autre histoire au les rivalries…en anglais…
    When I was visiting a family near Le Touquet in the north of France, I referred to “swimming in the English Channel!” Well, that caused a bit of a flap, but I was forgiven because I am American – it seems that the French call the same body of water, “Le Marne,” and think of it as a French, not English!!!

  • It is the same in The UK. I’m from Dorset and my wife is from Liverpool and sometimes I wonder if we speak the same language. Of course, that could just be marriage!

  • When a French friend d’un certain age came to visit us in the USA, she saw “Swiss cheese” in the supermarket and went crazy. She kept repeating, “Ça n’a rien a` voir avec la Suisse!” She was so outraged that Americans called it Swiss cheese. 🙂

    • Great anecdote, Marcia! Same happens with so many overpriced things labelled as “French” abroad.

  • Cider from Normandy or Brittany? The father of a friend (from Brittany) was told that a particular cider was from Brittany. When he discovered it was really from Normandy he vowed never to return to that restaurant,

  • Allez Lyon……. ou Allez les verts!
    Quand je suis avec mes amis de St. Etienne, je leurs dis Allez Lyon et avec mes amis de Lyon, ah oui, je leurs dis Allez les verts! Juste d’etre aggravant 🙂

  • I love this post. I wasn’t aware of these differences. I always thought that pain au chocolat was the same as choclatine were interchangable wherever you were – not so!
    Thanks for setting us straight.

  • J’habite en l’ete en Bretagne. J’ai montré ta video à mon voisin, un breton. Il m’a expliqué que “Le Couesnon dans sa folie/ a mis le mont en Normandie” pour expliquer que Mont St. Michel est en Normandie. Drole, non?

  • Il était une fois j’ai vu un film qui a été appelé – Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis. C’était très drôle bien que je ne comprenais pas tout de la conversation. Je pense qu’il est pertinent ici.

  • #4 / #5 !! J’habite en Haute-Normandie (pas Basse-Normandie ;D)…et oui, le question de Mont-Saint-Michel…ou du cidre….oh la la, c’est dangereuse!

  • Salut!
    J’adore le film de Dany Boon “Bienvenue chez les ch’tis” qui présente “le nord” vu par le sud. Quand on lui dit qu’il doit travailler dans le nord, un homme répond, avec horreur, “Non ! Pas Lyon ?… Pas Paris ?… Belgique ?”. Et dans le nord (Nord-Pas-de-Calais, en fait), il pleut, bien sûr. Il me fait beaucoup rire.

  • The map isn’t correct, in the Midi- Pyrenees, in the Aveyron and the Tarn for sure it”s pain au chocolat, maybe the supermarkets are to blame!

  • I’m from the northern half of France, so the first time a shopkeeper near Toulouse asked me “je vous mets un pochon?’, I gave her such an epic blank stare.

  • En 1994 j’ai remarqué que les appareils pour payer le stationnement en ville s’appelaient des “horodateurs” à Angers (et dans la plupart de la France, je crois), mais à Strasbourg ces appareils s’appelaient des “horodatrices”. Rien de très controversé, mais c’est marrant quand-même!

  • Salut! I remember my husband being corrected last year by the local ‘boulanger’ for using ‘pain au chocolat’ instead of ‘chocolatier’. At least he wasn’t shot in the process, as in the linked article here! The bakery was situated about one hour’s drive north of Toulouse. We’ll be in the same region next week and must clearly take care to use the correct vocabulary!

  • I think it is the same all over the world – I was dining in the yacht club in Hyeres with a friend from Toulon and the waiter was a little gruff (moody), my friend said ” He is from the north, they are all like that”

    As a frequent traveller through France I always know when I cross the magic line between north & south – the skies clear and it becomes Mediteranean.
    I did not know about the Chocolatine – I rarely go to the south west but I will be careful in furture! It of course helps a great deal to not be fluent in French – pointing at the pain au chocolate and saying ” Deux, s’il vous plait” avoids the issue completely!

    Which raises the question – what do the French think of bad french spoken by tourists – do they appreciate the effort or wish we would just speak English so they can shrug their shoulders at us? 😎
    In the UK there are very similar distinctions – ” North of Watford” and “North of the Trent” are examples.

      • Yes! Speak French! I recently visited Lille and Paris and though my French is quite limited and rusty, it was very much appreciated . Everyone was very kind and helpful. And often, mid-way through the conversation they would begin speaking English to me. I guess it was too obvious that I am American! It was a wonderful trip.

  • On twitter I follow the Paris trending topics because they change all the time. Some weeks back, the topic #TuViensDeParisSi was trending, and some of the posts were quite amusing. And I learned among other things that a kebab in Paris is called “un Grec”.

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