The recent troubles in Paris have brought to mind a week I spent in Paris on business back in the 1970s. My business ‘host’ and tour guide for the week was part Vietnamese and he provided an unusual but perceptive insight into the Parisian sense of entitlement.
Working for an American company, he had just returned from his five-week summer holiday during which, he had been sailing between the Greek Islands in the Aegean. As the son of a French Army officer, he was well educated but obviously harboured a deep resentment for the bigotry of Parisians.
Yet, he never took me to a restaurant that was not listed in the Guide Michelin—to the point that I came home desperate for a Harvey’s hamburger. Luckily the wife and I had done the tourist things in Paris–from Napoleon’s tomb to the Eiffel tower–a few years before, so my host and I had a lot of work product to show for the trip.
But it was the growing awareness of how different Paris was from the rest of France and language schism between the French and French Canadians that caught my interest. Parisians can be about the rudest people you will ever have to deal with in life, but I think the experience is worth it. You certainly learn what it is like to have someone to look down on you for using your Ontario high school French. They will likely deny it, but I also know that Parisians can be among the warmest, generous, caring and decent people in the world.
But they seem to have absolutely no tolerance for queuing. They like to ape the Brits at being snobs but lack the centuries of inbreeding that can make that Brit snobbery so cutting.
It was all William the Conqueror’s fault. I think he confused the gene pool and the French and Brits have far more in common than they like to admit.
But I wish that the French could just export some of that ‘Yellow Jacket’ rebellion across the Channel. The Brits have to come to grips with the BREXIT mess and get their shill-shallying politicians back in line. Nobody in Westminster seems to care about the average Brit and that is who will suffer whatever way the politicians take it.
Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry
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