How to be a bon voisin

Following last week’s post on la politesse, here are some real-life examples of how far the French will go to remain polite while telling off their neighbors. They may lose something in translation but hopefully the humor remains intact. And to all those who thought the French had no sense of humor, think again. Although it’s perhaps an acquired taste…



Dear neighbor (male) across the way:
I have seen that you have a really nice ass.
You can go ahead and put up curtains.



Voisins4Dear (female) neighbor,
There’s really no need to wear a thong when watering your plants.
However, if your only conception of gardening is butt naked, would you at least have the courtesy to cover your lady parts when our children are dining just next door?
A bit of modesty won’t prevent your jasmine from flourishing.
Thanks in advance.

Voisins3Dear (female) neighbor,
I regret to inform you that it is not out of pleasure but necessity that we set
our alarm clocks to go off so early in the morning.
FYI, it is not surround sound 5.1 but simply our Iphone speakers.
However, we will advise our employers that you are a light sleeper
and they will undoubtedly adjust our working hours to suit you.
Kind regards,
Your upstairs neighbors


Madame Cxxxxxx,
Our most courteous requests having resulted in nothing more than a pathetic “I’m not taking orders from the Chinese,” I must resort to this public notice.

Your filthy little dogs are getting on the nerves of everyone in the building. If you do nothing to keep them quiet at night and clean during the day, the “Chinese” will take care of it.

My wife cooks wonderful ravioli. Our children adore grilled Yorkshire.

A word to the wise,
Jean-Yves Txxxx

Voisins5To the young lady on the 5th floor

Several of us share in your fulfillment with your partner, both night and day, ever since you moved into our building or at least since you found a very talented partner.

We agree that one person’s freedom stops where another’s begins… To be woken by your cries at 7:00 in the morning as well as those at 3 a.m. infringes upon my freedom to sleep and to awaken at the time of my choice in my home. Do you think that’s right?

There are many students in this building but there are also many families with young children. Would you please show some consideration for your neighbors and discuss with your partner how you might:

  • Reduce the noise level (music, pillow, gag…)
  • Choose a more appropriate time
  • Do your cooing at his place
  • Show respect and common decency

P.S.  You should consider post-coital urination – given the frequency and length of your love-making, you may come down with severe cystitis

Reply (on post-it):
Do excuse us for the disturbance this may have caused. I will try to be more careful from now on. Thanks for suggesting the gag. My boyfriend was quite flattered that you consider our lovemaking too long 🙂 Please accept my sincere apologies.

Now that’s la classe!


  1. davidprosser · November 14, 2013

    Wonderful. So polite .and yet to the point. Hilarious.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

    • MELewis · November 15, 2013

      My translation skills must not to be too shameful. Merci bien!

  2. Food,Photography & France · November 15, 2013

    In our little hamlet there are only 10 people. Two couples ( that’s 4 out of 10) have not spoken to each other for 15 years (we’ve been here for 13 of them). It was a matter of some calves being bewitched. They don’t seem to have worked out the correct form of apology yet…I bet they’re working on it night and day:)

    • MELewis · November 15, 2013

      Words fail me (as presumably they do your neighbours…). Yet it seems is very typical of the French – once you get past the surface politesse they can hold grudges like nobody else. All the more shocking in such small numbers. You must be very much in demand as outsiders (even after 13 years!).

  3. Maison Bentley Style · November 18, 2013

    Oh How I laughed! A wonderful post!! xxx

    • MELewis · November 18, 2013

      Merci M’dame!

  4. · November 18, 2013

    J’adore! This is a great post. Where in the world did you get all these? I hope not from your own apartment building. Hilarious.

    • MELewis · November 19, 2013

      Glad you enjoyed it! None of these are from my own entourage (dieu soit loué!) but close enough to some real-life experiences that I felt they deserved to be shared.

  5. BigLizzy · November 26, 2013

    Buwwahahahahahahaahahahaa! I LOVE this post so much, my friend. I laughed out loud, like, 17 times. It’s so funny and delicious! The FRENCH are the best. And, so are you. Thanks for posting this, mon ami. Bisous!

    • MELewis · November 27, 2013

      Now that’s a belly laugh! So pleased it worked for you, Lizzy dear. Your comments bring much joy – merci!

  6. theseptiemeart · February 25, 2014

    Hy i’m french since 25 years,and i can explain to you why people are never satisfacted by their neighbor .
    Paris is a big city with many people in it,unfortunatly there is not enought space for them to feel alone.
    but because of the price of the appartement they buy people think that they are allowed to ask for more silence or a wonderful peacefull little home,but Paris as never be a peacefull place except in the “bourgeois” street like “La muette” a place where after 18h ,there’s nobody in the street or living noises.
    i M LOVING BEEN NAKED at my home and if somebody asked me ,just beacause of his child i would say ,just close your curtains why should i ? I PAY MY RENT TOO.
    maybe it’s the famous french attitude…
    anyway you’re blog is really nice and i’m glad you enjoy this city.
    see u
    oh and maybe take a look at my blog of Paris street art

  7. moulindelaroche · October 6, 2016

    A good giggle to set me up for the day! Thanks for posting.

    • MELewis · October 6, 2016

      An oldie but a goodie. Glad you liked!

  8. Pingback: Histoire de voisinage – FranceSays

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s