Thursday, June 19, 2008

The French

Notre Dame  (click to embiggen)  

Marilyn at Simmer Till Done got me thinking about
Paris since she has visited there recently.  Not a thing I 
like better to think about and dream about.  I have so
many books about France and French in general.  I have
only visited there once and would love to return soon.
Here are some bits of information that might prove 
useful to you when you travel to France.
"The French are different from you and me.  Theirs
is not a puritan country.  We speak with an air of detachment,
even distrust, of the pursuit of happiness.  The French just
go ahead with it--and they've organized a country and a 
great city to make sure they catch what they're chasing...
What I mean is that the French have developed the arts of
leisure to a higher degree than we have.  Eating, drinking,
gossiping, just enjoying--the French do it with unique style...
An American has more of a chance to become the person he
or she aspires to be.  A Frenchman is more locked in by where
he was born, what his father did, how he speaks the language.  
But, God, the French know how to live.  And thank God the 
rest of us can share life with them for a while..."  
~Richard Reeves-"An American in Paris"

According to Polly Platt in her book, "French of Foe?", there
are certain codes one must adhere to when visiting or living
in France.  
Code 1:  Don't smile.  "French people don't smile blandly
as they walk down the street.  They don't smile without a 
reason."  De-smile your public face.
Code 2:  Flirt.  It can come in handy when it comes to
receiving help.  You do it with your eyes.  
Code 3:  Use the ten magic words!  The first five are:
"Excusez-moi de vous deranger, monsieur (or madame)..."
"Excuse me for disturbing you, Sir, or Madam.."
"This is the charm that warms the hearts of impatient 
Parisians on the street.  The five magic words click with
Frenchmen like the responding smile with Americans."
The five magic words work wonders and if you add five
more:  "J'ai un probleme" ("I have a problem"), you 
qualify as a person to be respected and helped to the
very limit of the Frenchman's possibilities.  
Code 4:  Add "Monsieur" or "Madame" to "Hello."
You must always say hello and goodbye to all of the
strangers that you have an exchange with in the stores.
"Bonjour, monsieur (or madame) and au revoir, monsieur
(or madame).
Code 5:  Shake hands!  You shake hello and goodbye.
This is more for people living there and working.
Code 6:  Watch out at the door!  Just because you
got to a door first does not mean that you should go 
through it first.  It's called the bataille de la porte (the
battle of the doorway) and also takes place at the elevator.
Rank and sex are key here.  

Benjamin Franklin said:  "Everyman has two countries,
his own and France."  

9 comments:

Gattina said...

Ah if that would be true !! The only thing which is really true is that the French (but the Belgians too) love to eat and it is very important in social life. The French is usually very friendly and helpful to all tourists EXCEPT the inhabitants of Paris !! They are disliked by the rest of France. I once spent 2 weeks with my friend in Paris to help her with her new appartment and I have never seen such unpolite, aggressive and vulgar people in my whole life than in Paris. Even my friend had changed when she had put a foot in this city ! Paris is a wonderful city without the Parisians, lol !
The new background looks great !

Junebug said...

Thank you.

Egghead said...

This is very interesting. I have never been there but have heard that it is lovely and like anywhere else there are very kind people and very rude people. My fathers family is from Hungary and I look forward to some day being able to visit.

Pamela said...

I knew old Ben F loved France. (Am reading Founding Mothers - and he sure left all his work in the Americas to his wife and ran all over Europe)

I'd love to go to Paris. Take me with you and I'll let you do all the talking (and I'll smile on cue)

PAT said...

Very interesting post. I enjoyed it so much!

Have a wonderful weekend!
Pat

Junebug said...

Oh, Pamela. I would take you with me. (Smiling on cue)

Liz said...

Fascinating post! As someone who hopes to get to Paris very soon, I read it with great interest!

anglophilefootballfanatic.com said...

You know, my most favorite place in the world is the Rivera, but I don't ever plan to visit France again. I found them to be stuck up, rude, and arrogant, in addition to being prejudiced towards Americans. They expect us to come and bail them out of a war every time they surrender like a bunch of pansies, yet they treat us with contempt. And, my ancestry is French. (Sorry, you struck my anti-French cord!)

Marilyn said...

Glad you enjoyed the inspiration. I like your research on the Parisians!