How the roots of France's 'superiority complex' may lie in the Middle Ages


Historian Jacques Krynen argues that French national pride and the country's sense of “superiority” have been passed down the ages and through various types of government and regimes to the modern era. And the legal historian believes its origins are to be found at the end of the 13th and the start of the 14th centuries, when Philip IV – better known to history as 'Philip the Fair' – was king of France. Fabien Escalona reports.

Reading articles is for subscribers only. Subscribe now.

In common with his predecessors, President Emmanuel Macron regularly indulges in distinctly 'Gaullist' rhetoric, suggesting that France has a specific role to play in the world and a 'standing' to maintain that sets it apart from other mid-ranking powers. But General Charles de Gaulle himself could not have been so obsessed by the “certain idea of France” that he liked to invoke had he not been able to fall back on historical conceits and feats that formed part of his own cultural baggage.