I went to Spain for the weekend to see an old friend and we had a great time. The entire weekend, spent being a typical tourist, I never heard one angry or impolite word, in spite of the terrible economy there, and the hordes of people who seem to be begging or going through trash or pushing supermarket carts down the street filled with recycling. The weather was wonderful too.
Back to France and the morosité ambiante! We got off the plane slowly. As so often at Aéroport Charles-de-Gaulle, the plane was parked far from the terminal building. Old ladies, people with tons of luggage, mothers with small children have to drag all their possessions down the steep steps from the plane, over to an overfilled bus with about three seats, for a 10- to 15-minute ride to the terminal, then usually up another set of stairs (often no escalator or elevator) to the gate.
This time I was the very last person crammed into the bus. I had nothing to hold on to and was a bit concerned about leaning against the door, given that it carried a graphic showing someone falling out. I swayed back and forth and occasionally had to grab someone's shoulder. When the bus finally came to a halt at the gate, the man next to me, a working-class Frenchman with a large carry-on, jumped up and started to push at the door. I could have told him it was no use-- they let people out of the bus one by one so as to avoid crowding the staircase inside with people. But before I could say anything, he had started yelling, "La porte, s'il vous plaît!" at the far-off bus driver, who neither answered nor opened the door.
He yelled more and more until he saw the driver wasn't going to do anything, then, complaining loudly ("Mais quel connard!"), he followed the other passengers down the aisle and off the bus. The last I saw of him, he was standing at a service desk giving a bras d'honneur to some hapless aide.
I don't know if I think the French are ruder than other people, but I do think that it is more acceptable to lose your temper publicly in France than anyplace else I have ever lived.