I’m a pretty big fan of the French. I know that’s not something most people in America admit to, but me? I like ‘em. Their food is delicious, their aesthetics are always spot-on (how do they DO that?), Paris is goddamned fierce and the attitude? The famous, French, “you suck” attitude? Is really a combination of national pride mixed with a no-nonsense approach to human interaction. And with a little bit of effort, most of the negative Frenchiness that Americans bemoan as ample reason for dislike can be pretty well circumvented.
Let me make this clear: I speak shitty, shitty French. As in rudimentary, barely-progressed-past-grunting-and-pointing, murdering the language and watching it bleed out on the floor in front of me French. No one will ever confuse me with a native speaker, nor will they try to engage me in nuanced conversation. But before I went there I learned how to say “excuse me”, “hello”, “please” and “thank you”, and applied them in the appropriate places. I didn’t walk into a store demanding the shopkeeper speak English. Even when I went in somewhere and—obviously, painfully—slaughtered the language in front of my intended interlocutor, they waited. Patiently. Politely. Until I was done. And they would either answer in basic, for-special-kids French or mercifully say, “Would you prefer English?” Angels, those ones. But I would let them let me off the hook, instead of expecting to be given a pass thanks to the benefit of laziness and a misguided sense of entitlement. You know all those times you’ve heard, and all those people who’ve said, “You’re in ‘Murrica, speak ‘Murrican.” It’s really the same sort of thing, only they’re French, in France, and expect you to speak French. The mirror has two faces, my friends.
And by limiting yourself to the experiences you’ve already had (as in, I already know how to speak English, so why should I push myself and go somewhere that doesn’t speak English?), you deny yourself new opportunities, new things to see…or old things to see that are just frigging
Look…this is just a taste. I have more pictures–about 800 of them, to be exact, so this isn’t an exhaustive posting of everything to see. But seriously. Lighten up on the French, and get to France so you can see this stuff for yourself.