After living here for a bit over four years and visiting most regions of the country, often staying in out of the way places, I had a thousand conversations with locals about what characterizes their region and how they see others. The answer to your question is definitely that it depends which 'tribe' you ask. Generally speaking most French regions have a genuine admiration for most other regions, but you will always get a sort of 'balance sheet' from them:
- "In Brittany, the weather is often foul, the people warm and hospitible, universally hardworking and heavy drinkers (think Irish). On the otherhand, they may be poorer and lack good general knowledge of food and wine, as, due to their climate, they have never produced wine, but only cider." Widely liked.
- "In the South (Mediterranean), people are said to be more welcoming to newcomers than the manically busy Parisians, but can be superficial and less trustworthy"
- Parisians are paradoxically denounced universally by the people of the provinces and at the same time composed mainly of arrivals from the provinces. Parisians ARE manically busy, especially socially, get stressed from the claustrophobia of Paris and are back every other weekend at the ancestral homes in the provinces, denouncing the Parisians?!
- There are dozens of other major regions with distinct identities, all with something to say about everyone else, but with a special word reserved (positive or negative) for a particular other region (think of football teams).
Remember, only 100yrs ago, they all spoke quite different languages and French only was inforced as a national language finally in around 1900.
So, whilst no easy answer to your question lies in the regions, there are social types which are fairly much accepted in all France:
- Noblese - decedents of nobility, usually signified by a "de" something name
- Haute Bourgois - similar to above, but N-1's and may not have the "de"
- Bourgois - middle class
- Bourgois Boheme - "middle class gypsy" - think well to do, hip to hippy
- Beauf (from Beau Frere) - literally, 'brother in law', embarrassing behaviour and bad taste in most things
- Les gens de Grandes Ecoles - graduates of the top uni's who form a lifetime social mafia and tend to be convinced the world owes them a living
- Les gens de banlieues - what people from central Paris call people from the Paris suburbs (in a slightly ominous manner)
I think 'beauf' is what you're looking for...
[Edited 2007-02-09 01:00:55]
When all's said and done, there'll be more said than done.