Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Vive la Catastrophe!

Ahhhh.. France! What can I say. It's a beautiful place. No matter how hard the French try to screw it up, it still manages somehow to maintain it's elegant cities and gorgeous countryside. Somehow..
They've managed to turn inefficiency, dysfunction and beurocracy into art forms. Nothing is ever simple or straightforward in France it seems.

But it still has an appeal. It's like a cantankerous old man that's constantly grumpy but is still somehow lovable. And wow... the food is amazing.
But I honestly do not understand how *anything* ever gets done here though. I think there must be government departments set up specifically to prevent people from achieving their goals. Maybe they offer government incentives for unnecessarily complicated procedures, or for introducing delays, or organizing strikes? They do love their industrial action.

French people tend to have a bit of a reputation for being rude, and I paid particular attention to this, especially in Paris.
I'm happy to say I don't think it's true. Well, kind of.
I don't think French people are rude as a whole. I met many very polite, kind and friendly locals, just as I would anywhere. I mean, you find a certain number of rude people everywhere (except Finland it seems), and France didn't seem to have lots more than other places I've been to.
But here's the thing. One thing I noticed is that when French people get angry about something, they aren't afraid to let the whole world know about it. If they're having a bad day then they don't hide it. No matter who they are or who you are, and it doesn't matter if their problem has nothing to do with you at all. Customer service be damned.
So I can see why they get this reputation as being rude. It can be confronting to walk into a restaurant and almost get abused by the waiter, simply because another patron has knocked over a jug of water and annoyed him. Those things stick in your mind, despite the thirty other waiters who were very helpful and patient and kind.
So don't judge an entire race by this. As I said, I met some wonderful French people who were incredibly helpful, polite, friendly, and generous. Stereotyping can be fun, but only when you don't take it seriously I guess.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad
Location:Paris, France

1 comment:

  1. I found your assessment of the French interesting. I haven't been to Paris yet, just Dunkerque and Calais, and bits near Luxembourg. I think its the English that give them their bad reputation. The old stiff upper lip and it doesn't matter who has pissed you off, you just have to pain your smile on be nice or at the very least courteous, and the French just don't do that!

    Great pics again x