• France's news in English

France 'loves revolution but rejects change'

The Local · 12 Dec 2014, 09:00

Published: 11 Dec 2014 18:00 GMT+01:00
Updated: 12 Dec 2014 09:00 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The French are in love with the idea of radical change, and even revolution, but they are also profoundly attached to keeping things just as they are, according to a new opinion poll.

Eighty-four percent believe that “France must be radically transformed”, according to the wide-ranging survey by polling institute CSA, which last month asked more than 2,000 people for their views on their country and their political rulers.

The word “change” was a positive notion for 87 percent of them, “reform” met the approval of three quarters of the people questioned, and “revolution” got a healthy 57 percent of thumbs up.

But then when asked about changing specific things, the love of the status quo quickly got the upper hand, according to the survey titled "if you could reinvent France."

Seventy percent said they were quite happy with France’s generous social security system the way it is, and sixty percent said the national pension scheme should be kept as it is. Forty-three percent said retirement age should be brought back to 60 from the current 62.  

Fear of an uncertain future appears to be an issue for many French, with 54 percent of them opting, if given the choice, for a time machine that would transport them into the past, against 44 percent saying they would pick a device that would catapult them into the future.

While successive right and left-wing governments have not dared to undo France’s 35-hour working week, a surprising 49 percent of those questioned by CSA say they think that it should be increased to a weekly 39 hours.

Le Monde, commenting on the apparent contradictions of the French character, ironically suggested that any politician running for high office could use the phrase “It’s time for ambivalence” as his or her slogan.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Where exactly in France are Calais migrants being sent?
Photo: AFP

Here's where the 8,000 migrants in Calais are heading.

The annoying questions only a half French, half British person can answer
Photo: Beery/Flickr/AFP

Being half French, half British is means you get asked a lot of questions (and some of them can be a little annoying.)

Migrants bussed out of Calais Jungle to all corners of France
All photos: AFP

Hundreds of migrants are being bussed across France on Monday ahead of the demolition of the Jungle camp.

The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
A Prophet. Photo: YouTube Screengrab

Looking for something to watch?

The must-see French films of the millennium - Part Two
Rust and Bone. Photo: YouTube Screengrab

The newest French films you need to see before you die (or alternatively when you get some spare time).

Election Watch
Presidential hopeful reckons a pain au chocolat is 10 cents

So France happily takes the pastry out of him.

French ministry of defence officials die in plane crash
Screengrab: eddydeg/Twitter

The French Ministry of Defence officials were killed on Monday when a light aircraft went down on the island of Malta.

Revealed: The ten most stolen cars in France
A Smart car in Paris. Photo: JR_Paris/Flickr

Thieves in France are getting a taste for luxury cars, it seems.

Analysis - France migrant crisis
Migrant crisis won't end with Calais 'Jungle' closure
All Photos: AFP

The Jungle camp may be being cleared but this won't be the end of the migrant crisis in France.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie 'to sell their French chateau'
All photos: AFP

Want to live where Brangelina got married?

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available