#20 - All what you need to know about French
French have the bad habit to eat three times a day and the whole family sit at the table. You do not have take away services, except maybe in Paris, but in the country side, whom highly esteem Paris's people, we use very often the word "Parisian" as an insult. Everyone will tell you that the best time to visit Paris is in August, when they are all away for their summer vacation. You can cross a street without a life insurance, find a parking spot, breath some air not saturated by the pollution and all of that without seeing the enemy. For sixty millions of people, Paris is not France, it is "The Capital" where you can find these absolutely abnormal people that are always in hurry.
You need to be highly trained to eat at a French table, where you can sit for six hours, eat, drink and of course talk about everything. A meal is a serious thing, it will be at least four courses, and it is the time that they choose to share all their ideas and convictions with everyone, which explain the long hours that they spend around a table. They will interrupt and talk over each other, but they are not fighting, they are exchanging opinions. The conversation will start with family and vacation news, then politic, so be ready for a lot of decibels since each participant may be a militant in a different politic party, and it is absolutely impossible for them to find a consensus. Finally, the cheese platter will bring a lighter subject on sports, and as a cherry on a Sunday, with the dessert will come the latest jokes or stories about sex. This is maybe why French have such a great reputation as lovers, but for a lot of them, the feats will not go farer than the dinning table.
They have a kind of happy hours that are called "cinq à sept" five to seven, and it is not to sit at a bar, but to visit their mistresses. They even created a purse for women that will meet their lovers at this time of the day, because women need something bigger to carry all their beauty tools and it is named the "Baise en ville", what can be translated in a polite manner by "sex-in-town".
You will lose your time trying to reach a French company during lunch hours. The sacrament of this two hours break will drive them in another revolution if someone was thinking to shorten it. The revolution of 1789 started with a bread story and everyone know what happened to Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette that were thinking that if they do not have bread, they could eat brioche.
French have five weeks vacation and nobody will remove a single day or any advantages that they fought for. Each corporation has a different convention with complicated systems. These long vacations are a worldwide joke, but what you do not know, is that they have one of the best productivity in the world.
If you decide a trip to France, you do not want to check the weather, but the governmental projects. When a government is trying to cut something, you can see them striking and rioting in the street, these is when you want absolutely to avoid a visit. The General de Gaulle, out of solution to please these people, had one day a very famous citation which is: "How do you want to govern a country that has more than three hundred kind of cheeses!"
French do not export themselves very well. It is certainly a food related problem, because nothing as the same taste than home. They wonder why the salad is served as a starter and where is the cheese platter when the dessert arrives. You do not want to sit near a French in a foreign territory, they will complain about everything, the food in their plates, the price of the bottle of water, and even that the locals do not speak French. They have a problem in understanding why things are not done properly, what means of course as they do. They also have an incredible quality of life, so they wonder why these foreigners are not in the street rioting and striking, exception of Italians, to get from their government what they want.
They do not do big fundraising for charities, but a big percent of their salary is directly taken to finance the health system, which is one of the best in the world and they will never complain about an increase in this tax levy. If they can look selfish in their way of living, they also believe that everyone has the right to get health care services. If a person does not have a coverage by their work, the system will provide them what they need and it is why, every year, thousand of foreigners come to France, to be able to get for free what their country do not provide them and services are given without discrimination.
They have the reputation to be good diplomats, because there is so many different words in the French language, that they can speak for hours saying absolutely nothing. After a while, their interlocutors agree to everything in the hope that they will shut up and go back home.........