The French believe they are the biggest moaners in the world, a poll has revealed --and they appear to be rather proud of it.
More than 72 per cent of those surveyed believe they can out-complain any other nation, compared with 17 per cent who thought the Italians held the honour.
Surprisingly, just 3 per cent voted for the British as the greatest whingers.
The principal reason they put forward for all their complaining was: "You have to grumble in life, otherwise you get trampled on."
Only six per cent of the French said they never complained, with the rest regularly turning their anger on bank, shop and restaurant workers.
Staff seem to have no hesitation in answering back, with notoriously unfriendly Parisian waiters among those who admitted to aiming a Gallic shrug at tourists.
The survey suggests the French are continuing a tradition of protest dating back to the French Revolution, with thousands still regularly taking to the streets to make themselves heard.
President Nicolas Sarkozy is viewed as a classically irritable French politician, meanwhile, regularly snipping at people when he goes out in public. Many view the 5ft 5ins head of state as being a Napoleonic type figure, letting off frustration at his lack of inches by being rude to others.
Men are the angriest, according to the survey, with around 20 per cent complaining instinctively in almost any situation. This compares to 16 per cent of women who start moaning without provocation.
While banks and other financial institutions cause a huge amount of anger among the French, 31 per cent of women said their husbands or boyfriends were the biggest cause of irritation.
A staggering 25 per cent of French people even said that they moaned as "a way of relaxing", with retired people generally seen as the most argumentative.
The survey, entitled Are The French Moaners?, polled more than 1,000 French adults and was commissioned by the insurance company Maaf.