September 18, 2011

What I Know...


Here's what I know about France:

There are more kinds of cheese than I can count.

The countryside is breathtakingly beautiful.

Electricity and fuel are breathtakingly expensive.

French women do get fat.

Pleasantries such as, "Bonjour" "Merci" "Bonne Journée" and "Au Revoir" go a long way.

French Road Sign

The coffee could be better. 

The wine is excellent.

If the store closes at 7 p.m., then don't expect to walk in and start your shopping at 6:40.

There seems to be a nationwide contempt for les Parisiens

There seems to be a nationwide infatuation with les New Yorkais.

Fromagerie du Puits Neuf

The concept of time in rural areas is extremely flexible.   

Brownies are happily accepted. Any time, any place. Especially by fonctionnaires.

It is prudent to look before you step.

Pessimism is a national sport.

Lettuce leaves are folded, never cut.

République Française

Drinking pastis at 9 a.m. is an accepted practice.

Returns are a difficult, if not an impossible, undertaking.
Lunches are meant to be deliciously long and leisurely.

Developing relationships can take a while, but once they are established, they are strong.

Pin It


Caroline said...

love this post ! And the contempt for les parisiens is strong, even in places as close as the Val-de-Marne :)

Lost In Cheeseland said...

So true!!! Next time you come to Paris, I want to meet you for coffee and I'll take you to a spot that serves EXCELLENT coffee!

And yes, French women do get fat! Fat and surly....

Bienvenue chez French Girl in Seattle... said...

Great post! I see you have your priorities straight and started your list with cheese ;-)

I wonder if French women get "fat" and - what was the other adjective mentioned in the comment section? - "surly" because:

1. Returns are a difficult undertaking;

2. Electricity and fuel are breathtakingly expensive;

3. You, Madame, have been feeding French [fonctionnaire] women too many brownies;

4. Some French women are NOT New-Yorkaises, sadly, just Parisiennes, and there seems to be nationwide contempt for les Parisien(nes);

7. In short, can we assume that, to forget all of the above, and plagued by pessimism, a national sport, many French women have started overindulging and well, back to where we started...

Having lived in the Good Ole US of A for 15 years, should I attempt a similar list about this country soon and see (as an extra challenge) if I can re-use some of the above items? Do I get a brownie if I can squeeze at least 50% in? -

- A bientot,
Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

Mlle Paradis said...

ha-ha i love veronique's response to your list. which i also loved. kind of sums it up!

brownies are terribly dangerous things, aren't they?

Mlle Paradis said...

o.k., maybe i mean "in the wrong hands". i love knowing that brownies could make me so powerful.

corine said...

Oh I could not agree more, except you surprised me with the bad coffee... Oh and if saying bonjour or merci helps, saying bonjour monsieur or merci madame is huge.

signed: the last friendly Parisienne

katiez said...

After living on Spanish coffee for 7 years the French coffee was.... Although I'm fine with a 'noisette' As to returns... We try really, really hard to not have to do that. But, last week we exchanged a light fixture and it was so easy and so painless I was stunned!

La Vie est Belle said...

Hi hi (or "hee hee" for the amerlocks) - Great list!

Chez Loulou said...

The contempt is weird, isn't it? I don't get it.

I'll be there in late November. It's a date! :)

Input from your perspective is very much appreciated! I'll give you more than one brownie when you share your list about Americans. Can't wait!

cocopuff1212 said...

Amen, amen, and amen!

Chez Loulou said...

Mlle Paradis
Yes, brownies are deliciously dangerous and powerful...

The coffee isn't great, especially after living in Seattle and New Orleans.
Every time I go to Italy I go coffee crazy!

I usually go for a noisette too.
An easy exchange? WOW! Bravo!

Chez Loulou said...

La vie est belle
Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it!


emiglia said...

haha! Laughed out loud at some of these... they definitely ring true. Especially the pessimism... between my French boyfriend's "râler"-ing and my eternal American optimism, we sometimes end up with a fairly accurate portrayal of whatever it is we're describing... although bureaucratic red tape has started to make me as "surly" as some of those French women :)

Ms. K @ Write On Thyme said...

Electricity and market seafood are breathtakingly expensive! Shrimp in Paris...not so much. But would love to know which place in Paris serves EXCELLENT coffee (for my coffee-drinking friends)! Great post (but most of the photos didn't come up for me. Sorry to have missed them!).

Sharon T said...

Love the list! Does anyone know why there is contempt for parisiens? I've met several and they were very nice. Maybe because we all work with food?

chcmichel said...

All true. Actually my wife loves one kind of coffe and brings back bags of it to last between our quarterly sojourns in Sablet.

Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite said...

Awesome post! Love the comments as well - interesting to read both sides!

Anonymous said...

For those looking for a place which serves great coffee in Paris, here's a list (I've been trained as a barista so hopefully you can trust my advice ;) :

Merce and the Muse
La Caféothèque
Kooka Boora
Coutume Café

Great post! Being a Parisian who lived in several Anglo-saxon countries, I agree with most of it. As for electricity, it is mostly expensive if you have to pay it individually but not as expensive as it can be in Ireland where it is mostly always individual anyway.

backyardprovence said...

I absolutely agree on all accounts and I simply love your pictures!

Kim said...

I love your posts! I have been reading your blog for several months, and wish wholeheartedly that I could move to France. I have been in love with it since I visited twice over 10 years ago. I know that the path is not easy but if I could find a job I would move in a heart beat! Thanks for posting the wonderful pictures and reminders of why I love France.

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

Just too funny... the post and the responses! I was unaware about the brownies. Perhaps I should tote some with me when I come in November? I make macarons but it would be silly... like bringing popsicles to the Eskimos.


Ann said...

Ah, so it's the BROWNIES that are the secret! :)

Sandy said...

These are fantastic. Thanks for sharing...I didn't know about the brownies. =) My french mom does love them...but her guilty pleasure is cheesecake. =)

Sarah said...

Wow, how times have changed. When my father was studying French lit at the Sorbonne, he had to speak better than a Frenchman because otherwise he was ignored for his American, New York accent.

Chez Loulou said...

The bureaucracy here can make anyone surly, that's for sure!

Ms K
Not sure what happened with the photos...
We can't find good shrimp here in the south and after spending a few years in New Orleans, we miss them! Seafood in general is prohibitively expensive.

No idea about the Parisian thing. Jealousy, perhaps? :)

Chez Loulou said...

We have friends from Seattle that bring their own coffee every time they come to France.
We found a brand of coffee we like at home, but in the cafés I find it is usually too watery, even if I order a serré.

I love the comments too! I'm happy to hear from both sides on this one.

Thank you for the list of cafés with decent coffee! I've noted them for the next time I'm in Paris.
I'm a trained barista as well, that's why I'm so finicky about my coffee. :)

Chez Loulou said...

Thanks! So glad you enjoyed the post.

You're very welcome! I've been in love with France since I was 16, so understand your desire to live here. Start looking for jobs and make the move! :)

Yes, brownies can make even the surliest of fonctionnaire smile.
When in November are you coming over?

Chez Loulou said...

Didn't you get that memo?

Yes, cheesecake has magical powers as well.

How interesting! Now it seems that most French people are smitten with New York.

vicki archer said...

Love this.....all so true! I would add one other characteristic from my experience in the locals love a doctor and a medication or two....hence the fabulous pharmacies....xv

Lady Jennie said...

Really? You don't like the coffee?

Chez Loulou said...

Yes, the do tend to over prescribe here, don't they?

Lady Jennie
No, not really. Especially when I compare un petit café in France to an espresso in Italy. Should be just as good if you ask me.
You like it?