The French Government has had a paradoxical relationship with globalization. Globalization is perceived as both a threat to react against and a cradle for new policy ideas. French policymakers have a love-hate relationship with the European higher education reforms that started in the 1990s, a mixed sentiment that French singer Serge Gainsbourg spoke of in his popular song, ‘Je t’aime moi non plus’. At the outset, most of higher education reforms, such as the Bologna declaration, were framed as a way to build Europe and fight against international competition. Yet, the mode of governance of these reforms mirrored the one recommended by international organizations and led to the precise outcome criticized in globalization, i.e. greater competition. This paper explores the relationship between international, European and domestic discourses and modes of governance. It uses insights from the literature on policy transfer to investigate such relationship and questions the sustainability of such ambivalent discourse. The French government should concentrate on the policy it started developing from 2007 consisting in opening French higher education to globalization. Such global openness requires a change in the academic culture that could be triggered by a reform of academic training.