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Travel advisory for France

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thomas

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Disclaimer: the following U.S. travel advisory is not to be taken too serious! :D

The following advice for American travelers going to France was compiled from information provided by the US State Department, the CIA, the US Chamber of Commerce, the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and some very expensive spy satellites that the French don't know about. It is intended as a guide for American travelers only.

General Overview:
France is a medium-sized foreign country situated in the continent of Europe. It is an important member of the world community, though not nearly as important as it thinks. It is bounded by Germany, Spain, Switzerland and some smaller nations of no particular importance and with not very good shopping. France is a very old country with many treasures, such as the Louvre and Euro Disney. Among its contributions to western civilization are champagne, Camembert cheese and the guillotine. Although France likes to think of itself as a modern nation, air conditioning is little used and it is next to impossible for Americans to get decent Mexican food. A continuing exasperation for American visitors is that local people insist on speaking in French, though many will speak English if shouted at. Watch your money at all times.

The People:
France has a population of 56 million people. 52 million of these drink and smoke (the other 4 million are small children). All French people drive like lunatics, are dangerously oversexed, and have no concept of standing patiently in a queue. The French people are in general gloomy, temperamental, proud, arrogant, aloof and undisciplined; those are their good points. Most French citizens are Roman Catholic, though you would hardly guess it from their behavior. Many people are Communists. Men sometimes have girls' names like Marie or Michel, and they kiss each other when they meet. American travelers are advised to travel in groups and wear baseball caps and colorful trousers for easier recognition.

Safety:
In general, France is a safe destination, although travelers must be aware that from time to time it is invaded by Germany. Traditionally, the French surrender immediately and, apart from a temporary shortage of Scotch whisky and increased difficulty in getting baseball scores and stock market prices, life for the American visitor generally goes much as before. A tunnel connecting France to Britain beneath the English channel has been opened in recent years to make it easier for the French government to flee to London during future German invasions.

History:
France historical figures are King Louis, the Huguenots, Joan of Arc, Jacques Cousteau and Charles de Gaulle, who was President for many years and is now an airport. The French were never very imaginative and all their kings were called Louis. The French enjoyed their Revolution, which set up their republic. It was so successful that they did it again, and again and again.

Government:
The French form of government is democratic but noisy. Elections are held more or less continuously and always result in a draw. The French love administration so for government purposes the country is divided into regions, departments, districts, municipalities, towns, communes, villages, cafes, and telephone kiosks. Each of these has its own government and elections. Parliament consists of two chambers, the Upper and Lower, though confusingly they are both on the ground floor, and whose members are either Gaullists or Communists, neither of whom should be trusted by the traveler. Parliament's principal occupation is testing atomic bombs in the south Pacific and acting indignant and surprised when other countries complain, and then complaining when the Arabs do the same in Paris. According to the most current American state department intelligence, the President is now someone named Jacques. Further information is not available at this time.

Culture
The French pride themselves on their culture, though it is not easy to see why. All their music sounds the same and they have never made a movie that you would want to watch for anything but the nude scenes.

Cuisine
Let's face it; no matter how much garlic you put on it, a snail is just a slug with a shell on its back. Croissants on the other hand, are excellent, although it is impossible for most Americans to pronounce this word. In general, travelers are advised to stick to cheeseburgers.

Economy
France has a large and diversified economy; second only to Germany's in Europe, which is surprising because the French hardly work at all. If they are not spending four hours dawdling over lunch, they are on strike and blocking the roads with their trucks and tractors. France's principal exports, in order of importance to the economy, are wine, nuclear weapons, perfume, guided missiles, champagne, guns, grenade launchers, land mines, tanks, attack aircraft, miscellaneous armaments and cheese.

Public Holidays
France has more holidays than any other nation in the world. Among its 361 national holidays are: 197 Saints' days, 37 National Liberation Days, 16 Declaration of Republic Days, 54 Return of Charles de Gaulle in triumph as if he won the war single-handed Days, 18 Napoleon sent into Exile Days, 17 Napoleon Called Back from Exile Days, and 2 "France is Great and the Rest of the World is Crap" Days.

Conclusion
France enjoys a rich history, a picturesque and varied landscape, and a temperate climate. In short, it would be a very nice country if French people did not inhabit it. The best thing that can be said for France is that it is not Germany.
Behind the joke, it's interesting to see how French/Europeans are perceived elsewhere.
 

Twisted

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Hmm, most of it is true. :)
Ask anyone who's been to France what their experience was like and they all say: Great country, shame about those people.
 

Maciamo

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For some reason I didn't find it so funny, because I feel it as just a stereotyical display of American ignorance of the rest of the world. The only sentence I must admit has its faire share of truth was :

The French people are in general gloomy, temperamental, proud, arrogant, aloof and undisciplined
Let's analyse American psycholgy through this :

France is a very old country with many treasures, such as the Louvre and Euro Disney.
It is bounded by Germany, Spain, Switzerland and some smaller nations of no particular importance and with not very good shopping.
Well, I guess the "smaller nations of no particular importance" are Belgium and Italy. If Italy doesn't have good shopping, then what country has ? (ask the Japanese OL). There is also Monaco and Andorra. How many American stars and millionaires have a house in Monaco ? That must really be a "nation" of no importance to attract so many of them...

That reminds me of something I've read yesterday in "Why men don't listen and women can't read maps" : "An American tourist was heard saying on a visit to Windsor Castle : That's a wonderful castle, but why did they build it so near from the airport ?"

For the average American, history starts in 1776 (or the day they were born :D ). Of course there are exceptions - but saddly they really are exceptions.

Although France likes to think of itself as a modern nation, air conditioning is little used
That is true everywhere in Europe, just because it isn't needed. Northern Europe has just a few days a year with temperature above 25 or 30 degrees. Even Mediterranean hot summer are dry and both the depth of the walls and volume of the rooms act well enough to keep it cool inside. My parents house has 1m deep stone walls, which makes it warm in winter and cool in summer -the exact opposite of Japanese or American 5-10cm thick wooden or concrete walls.

American travelers are advised to travel in groups and wear baseball caps and colorful trousers for easier recognition.
That is really true ! Most American travel in groups (usually people over 40) and are totally recognisable by the clothes they wear. In all my travelling around the world, I have met quantities of people travelling on their own, but almost no Americans (even though they are much more numerous than British, Danish, Swedsh, Dutch, Swiss, etc).

In general, France is a safe destination, although travelers must be aware that from time to time it is invaded by Germany.
...
A tunnel connecting France to Britain beneath the English channel has been opened in recent years to make it easier for the French government to flee to London during future German invasions.
I have heard this quite often from Americans. They are still proud of coming to the rescue and saving the French from the Germans at the end of both World Wars.

The French form of government is democratic but noisy. Elections are held more or less continuously and always result in a draw.
How is American democracy ? Isn't it the noisiest in the world ?
The last French elections (both presidential and legilative) were won overwhelmingly by the right. The last US presidential election were a perfect draw ( just a hundred of people out of 270 million to separate them !). American election are always limited to Democratic Vs Republican. Who said French lacked imagination ?

The French love administration so for government purposes the country is divided into regions, departments, districts, municipalities, towns, communes, villages, cafes, and telephone kiosks.
Actually just regions, departments and communes (=counties) or municipalities (=cities).

Parliament consists of two chambers, the Upper and Lower, though confusingly they are both on the ground floor, and whose members are either Gaullists or Communists, neither of whom should be trusted by the traveler.
Almost all Western countries have a 2 chamber parliament, that are usually called Upper and Lower. Why insist on this point as a peculiarity of France ? What's more it's called the Senate and the Assembly (=Senate and Congress in the US), and history shows us that the American and French system have the same origin. Like I said, American politician are either Democrats or Repiblican, which at least is a fact, as the Communist didin't get 1% in the last French election and Gaullist don't exist any more.

Parliament's principal occupation is testing atomic bombs in the south Pacific and acting indignant and surprised when other countries complain, and then complaining when the Arabs do the same in Paris.
While America's is bombing Afghanisthan and Irak, waging war at the 4 corners of the world and bullying poor countries. And then they complain when planes crash on the WTC and Defence Ministry. :D

According to the most current American state department intelligence, the President is now someone named Jacques. Further information is not available at this time.
That says a lot about American intelligence. Even more since the current president has been reelected after already 7 years in service. I guess after 14 years, even George W Bush will remember his name when they meet. :sorry:

Culture
The French pride themselves on their culture, though it is not easy to see why. All their music sounds the same and they have never made a movie that you would want to watch for anything but the nude scenes.
So why do American listen to Pachebel, Ravel, Debussy, Berlioz or Chopin ? The best French movies are comedies, but translates in other languages doesn't make any sense. And as so few American speak French, notwithstanding it's the most popular foreign language in their schools. They could if they tried. Lots of German, Dutch or Italian speakers speak French very fluently.

Cuisine
Let's face it; no matter how much garlic you put on it, a snail is just a slug with a shell on its back. Croissants on the other hand, are excellent, although it is impossible for most Americans to pronounce this word. In general, travelers are advised to stick to cheeseburgers.
Proud of their ignorance and refined enough to prefer cheeseburger to French cuisine. I won't sy more...

France has a large and diversified economy; second only to Germany's in Europe, which is surprising because the French hardly work at all.
A French guy once told me it's because French are more productive. The unemployment is high (9% at the moment), but France manage to have a higher GDP than the UK, that has half the unemployement and exactly the same population.

Public Holidays
France has more holidays than any other nation in the world. Among its 361 national holidays are: 197 Saints' days, 37 National Liberation Days, 16 Declaration of Republic Days, 54 Return of Charles de Gaulle in triumph as if he won the war single-handed Days, 18 Napoleon sent into Exile Days, 17 Napoleon Called Back from Exile Days, and 2 "France is Great and the Rest of the World is Crap" Days.
Of course, none of those exist, except 14 July, national day, whcih is the official start of the French revolution, and once more could not be closer in every respect to the American 4 July, also the national holiday and also celebrating the revolution. The stats show that France has 11 public holidays a year, just 1 more than the US. Interestingly, hard-working Japanese have got 14 days a year and industrious Germans 15 days. Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Belgium, Denmark and Norway have 10 public holidays, the UK, Portugal, Finland and Sweden have 12 and Austria 13. The Dutch have the least in Europe with only 9 days a year, but Australians have even less with a mere 7. China has 6, while India has 16. Interestingly Christmas is also a Holiday in South Korea and India !
 
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Twisted

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Uhm, i somehow don't think this joke was written actually by an American, because they're ridiculed almost just as much as the French.
 
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thomas

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This travel advisory was written by an American, so one can hardly claim they lack self-criticism or sarcasm.
:)

However, it's true that a lot of these stereotypes are still disseminated through TV and other media, I'm thinking of series like The Simpsons, Married With Children, Seinsfeld, King of the Hill, Friends and also a lot of U.S. movies. French are often made the target of jokes and mockery, and it appears to be more than just fun.
 

AutoBot11

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thx for the reputation :eek:

not all the pps around here are so :p
 
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Hmm....well....funny.....I don't see what's funny about picking at a culture....be it true or not....as for the America-jin.....they don't even have a culture.....their country is as "old" as the Lotto here in the Netherlands....that is true actually.....

Mata ne!
 

Erik

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Originally posted by lineartube
This feels like Dave Barry's writtings. :D
Ever read his book about going to japan? Hilarious!
 

nurizeko

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I have heard this quite often from Americans. They are still proud of coming to the rescue and saving the French from the Germans at the end of both World Wars.
Actually from what ive gathered over the years, the french were doing a better job fighting the germans then the british or americans in the first ww.
That is really true ! Most American travel in groups (usually people over 40) and are totally recognisable by the clothes they wear.
Once saw a group of loud colourful americans in Japan, but whats the point of being a rich modern american if you cant flaunt your poor fashion sense and interesting take on slanged up english.
Nah i jest America is cool.
Democratic Vs Republican. Who said French lacked imagination ?
I actually pity american politics because its got nothing to do with who does a good job, the vast majority seem to just vote for whoever blings themselves up.
Proud of their ignorance
The american response is: Whats your point?
A French guy once told me it's because French are more productive. The unemployment is high (9% at the moment), but France manage to have a higher GDP than the UK, that has half the unemployement and exactly the same population.
I was always lead to believe the french out-number the british.
Uhm, i somehow don't think this joke was written actually by an American, because they're ridiculed almost just as much as the French.
Indeed.
 
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dreamer

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Tehe some of it is True still... :p
However I don't really feel French ^^
 

Kinsao

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Well, I think it's taking the piss out of the American stereotypes of France more that it actually is out of France.

But that's just my take on it. :p

All French people drive like lunatics, are dangerously oversexed, and have no concept of standing patiently in a queue.
In the UK, try driving anywhere that's not on a motorway, and you get stuck behind someone driving at 5 mph (either elderly, or carrying an antique piece of furniture in the boot <_<). Sex is either non-existent, so drunk it's unrememberable, or paid for. You have to wait in a damn queue for EVERYTHING!!! :angryfire:
 

nurizeko

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Still Kin, british waiting in line comes in handy as good practice for the waiting in Japanese traffic-jams or standing on the crowded trains.
 

Minty

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...continuing exasperation for American visitors is that local people insist on speaking in French, though many will speak English if shouted at. Watch your money at all times.
False, most French cannot speak English well. The better English speakers are the Blacks and the Asians in France which are the minority.;-)

Most French citizens are Roman Catholic, though you would hardly guess it from their behavior. Many people are Communists.
I am not sure about this although French is a catholic country a lot of them are atheist. :? Communists? No, thatツ’s countries like Russia, China and North Korea!

Parliament's principal occupation is testing atomic bombs in the south Pacific and acting indignant and surprised when other countries complain, and then complaining when the Arabs do the same in Paris.
Americans did atomic bomb testing too.:36:

The French pride themselves on their culture, though it is not easy to see why. All their music sounds the same and they have never made a movie that you would want to watch for anything but the nude scenes.
I prefer American movies over the Frenchツ’s but I think the reason English speaking audiences don’t generally like French films are because of culture differences.:hihi: :97:

Let's face it; no matter how much garlic you put on it, a snail is just a slug with a shell on its back. Croissants on the other hand, are excellent, although it is impossible for most Americans to pronounce this word. In general, travelers are advised to stick to cheeseburgers.
French foods are much more to just snails, but I love snails. Cheeseburger on the other hand is not something I advise people to eat regularly because it is not healthy.:123:

France has a large and diversified economy; second only to Germany's in Europe, which is surprising because the French hardly work at all.
This is not true, they work, but level of responsibility varies in peopleツ’s occupations.:keitai:

they are on strike and blocking the roads with their trucks and tractors.
Yes, the French like to go on strikes, which is why my husband prefers the Frankfurt airport than the two in Paris.:p
 
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