A conversation I had with a Trump supporter keeps echoing laughably in my head: “So long as this president is in the White House, the economy will do GREAT!”
We storm toward 2019 with so much winning, so little time.
I’ve been to France seven times since 1996. Each time, I glean some new understanding or nuance about the culture that I’ve never known before. Or I have to remind myself of the little things I’ve learned in the past. Below is a compilation of these thoughts.
It’s a long list, so I put the majority under the fold.
If you know any that I’ve left out or I’m wrong on, please leave word on the comments.
- French are polite. They greet each other respectfully with hellos, pleases and thank yous. They pay respect to elderly and handicapped. Salut each other with goodbye. When exiting the metro, the person in front of you will hold the door longer than you think to exit. They will wait for someone they didn’t see yet. It’s amazing. I watched three different people take turns escorting an elderly lady through a courtyard with different tiers of stairs, most of the escorts were teenagers. And their patience and sense of duty is awe-inspiring. I’ve even been reprimanded for using “Merde” (shit) with someone I don’t know — as opposed to a kinder “zut” (crap) or “ma parole” (my word).
- Even if you speak NO french, when in shops, restaurants, museums, say “Bonjour,” “S’il vous plait” and “Au revoir”! If you’re a foreign traveler in France, be sure to at least say, “Bonjour” upon entry to any store, restaurant, or establishment. “Merci” when given what you want and “Au revoir” when you leave. Even your apartment super or concierge. It’s not only polite, it’s considered rude not to. I’ve been reminded on a few occasions of a forgetful rudeness for not doing it. If you don’t speak the language, you will likely not hear their disdain. Unless you don’t care, then fuck it. Don’t. They won’t see you again. I personally like to assimilate to the country or environment I’m in. This is a small, courteous way to respecting the local culture.
Continue reading “Compiled notes on visiting France”