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As an American (USA) after living in France for 3 months, some observations (God Bless America!):

Posted on 07/27/2014 12:12:01 PM PDT by not2be4gotten.com

So, as an American, after 3 months living in France, for the first time, let us review what we have found and possibly blow away some myths and untruths you have been hearing all of your life, shall we? lol

1) The French are rude/unhelpful/disdainful.

This is the biggest bunch of bull stereotype on the planet. Americans are the strange ones here, as we have to always put on a false face and smile all the time, for various cultural reasons. Look at our current President, who became powerful, almost entirely by his toothy smile. The French are normal and don't "fake smile" all of the time. Many Americans take this as rude. The French people, in general are wonderful, helpful, outgoing and gregarious. Many Americans say this to feel culturally superior. This is just cultural liberalism.

2) Paris is safe and crime free.

Mostly true. You will not worry about walking down that dark alley at 2 AM.

3) French people are smelly.

Untrue. This comes from the fact that French men tend to pee on the sidewalks and that does smell.

4) French cuisine is the world's best.

UNTRUE (and this is my own opinion, so take it for what it is worth). The French are blessed with some of the best fruits and vegetables in the world. The Tomatoes, cherries, cantaloupes, peppers, onions, nectarines and even seedless watermelon! The problem with all of this, is when these ingredients end up in a French kitchen, that's where it all goes wrong. They mix in snails, frog legs, livers and various other stuff. It is all very unappetizing.

I walk by café restaurants every day and look at the food that people are eating and it is not for me.

And if you come over here and expect to make that wonderful lasagna, pork and sauerkraut, enchiladas or macaroni and cheese, you have your work cut out for you. Just finding Cheddar cheese, a packet of taco seasoning or a decent jar of spaghetti sauce, this going to be a real problem for you. Example, you cannot find Italian sausage, sour cream, summer sausage, pepperoni, (decent) sauerkraut or chili powder, anywhere. I could make a long list of these things, but I just don't have time. The Indian restaurants in North East Paris are fantastic (again, this is a personal preference).

5) The wine in France is wonderful.

True. At any grocery store you can invariably find a $3 bottle of wine and it will be great.

6) The French are a bunch of lazy socialists.

I don't know, I see a lot of very hard working people here. I was surprised by this. And there is so much wealth here, the transportation systems are almost unbelievable.

7) There are wonderful cheese shops in France.

True. Every cheese shop I have been too has "Blue Stilton" cheese. And it is always relatively inexpensive and delicious.

8) The French smoke a lot.

This is true. Especially young women 20 to 30 years old. Nobody really knows why.

9) French woman are beautiful.

True. And they all seem to get all made up every day. It is like an unwritten rule for the woman of France to look as good in public as possible, all of the time.

10) French women are not fat.

True. Walking the streets of Paris for a few weeks, this is very apparent. Again, the question is why?

11) The French drive all of these small cars.

This is true and false. There are a lot of scooters, motorcycles and small cars running around Paris. There are a lot of big Mercedes, Land Rovers and trucks, also. There are a lot of European cars here, which I wasn't expecting, in that I had just assumed that every (most) cars in the (western) world were made in America, which is not true.

A couple of points about France and motor vehicles:

A) I don't recall seeing an American style, what we Americans, would call, a "pickup truck". Like a Ford F150, Chevrolet Silverado and Dodge Ram anywhere in Europe.

B) I don't see any Toyota Camrys or Corollas, the best selling cars in the world.

C) I see all of these "motorcycles" with 2 front wheels here, which I don't see in the states. And I don't understand why.

D) When you rent a car in France, unless you want to pay a premium, you end up with a manual transmission (a stick shift car). Whys is this?

Anyway, just some observations from the "old world".


TOPICS: Society
KEYWORDS: france; newbie
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I sent this to my kids about my travels.

I thought I would share it.

I don't get into the Muslim situation here, because I don't have the time tonight.

It is significant and I have seen the problems and have lived the problems.

Maybe for another post.

1 posted on 07/27/2014 12:12:01 PM PDT by not2be4gotten.com
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To: not2be4gotten.com

What do they call a “Quarter Pounder with Cheese” in Paris?


2 posted on 07/27/2014 12:17:22 PM PDT by dfwgator
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To: not2be4gotten.com

While hitchhiking from Paris (1977) a Frenchman picked me up...he spoke no English but did speak German. He was driving to Switzerland to pick up his French-Canadian girlfriend for a weeks vacation climbing in the mountains around Grindlewald. I got to know them both and I ended up climbing with them for the next week. The interesting thing was, no one could talk to everybody at the same time. I could speak to him in German and to her in English. They could communicate in French. It was fun.


3 posted on 07/27/2014 12:24:29 PM PDT by gorush (History repeats itself because human nature is static)
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To: dfwgator

Royale avec fromage


4 posted on 07/27/2014 12:26:23 PM PDT by Truth29
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To: not2be4gotten.com

I agree with all your points except #4.


5 posted on 07/27/2014 12:26:57 PM PDT by Savage Beast (Hubris and denial overwhelm Western Civilization. Nemesis and tragedy always follow.)
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To: Truth29

That’s because of the Metric System, right?


6 posted on 07/27/2014 12:27:46 PM PDT by dfwgator
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To: dfwgator

Royale avec fromage.

CC


7 posted on 07/27/2014 12:27:51 PM PDT by Celtic Conservative (tease not the dragon for thou art crunchy when roasted and taste good with ketchup)
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To: All

Bump


8 posted on 07/27/2014 12:27:56 PM PDT by patriot08 (NATIVE TEXAN (girl type))
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To: Truth29

Jinks, buy me a coke!

CC


9 posted on 07/27/2014 12:28:42 PM PDT by Celtic Conservative (tease not the dragon for thou art crunchy when roasted and taste good with ketchup)
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To: not2be4gotten.com
8) The French smoke a lot.

This is true. Especially young women 20 to 30 years old. Nobody really knows why.

...

10) French women are not fat.

True. Walking the streets of Paris for a few weeks, this is very apparent. Again, the question is why?

People who smoke are quite often thin. In America, people used to combine these two qualities, to a certain extent. Then, we decided to stamp out smoking. Today, we wonder where all the obesity came from.

It's all quite obvious.

10 posted on 07/27/2014 12:28:46 PM PDT by ClearCase_guy ("Harvey Dent, can we trust him?" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HBsdV--kLoQ)
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To: ClearCase_guy

French people walk a lot as well. I went to Paris last year, and all I know is that I could never drive there.


11 posted on 07/27/2014 12:29:31 PM PDT by dfwgator
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To: dfwgator

They call it “hamburger a la Americane” and the hamburger meat is raw.. Really, I ordered one and had to send it back to be cooked.


12 posted on 07/27/2014 12:32:16 PM PDT by Ditter
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To: not2be4gotten.com
...that French men tend to pee on the sidewalks and that does smell.

A local PBS station is rerunning "Nicolas Le Floch" (set during Louis XV) and is supposed to be fairly historically accurate.

Any way, one of [police inspector] Le Floch's informants is a guy with a screen and bucket. Not that Le Floch hits his mark all the time...

13 posted on 07/27/2014 12:32:35 PM PDT by Calvin Locke
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To: Ditter

I actually went to a McDonalds last year there, and it was fine.


14 posted on 07/27/2014 12:33:27 PM PDT by dfwgator
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To: not2be4gotten.com

Agree except as to the food. French food is great. Still cook out of my Julia Child cookbook.


15 posted on 07/27/2014 12:33:53 PM PDT by colorado tanker
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To: not2be4gotten.com

My experience too: the French were friendly, generous, smart. I have no idea where the negative stereotypes came from. I have been to France about a dozen times over the last 20 years and I always had a great time and made new friends. If you visit the cemeteries in Normandy and the Muese-Argonne, you will be blown away with the beauty and reverence they have shown for our honored dead.

The only disagreement I have with the author of the piece is that the food is sensational everywhere. If you’re looking for American chow, not too available. If you’re looking fine dining, France is the best.


16 posted on 07/27/2014 12:35:40 PM PDT by Chainmail (A simple rule of life: if you can be blamed, you're responsible.)
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To: dfwgator

I would expect that Mc Donalds would be OK, I was at a French sidewalk cafe.


17 posted on 07/27/2014 12:35:47 PM PDT by Ditter
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To: not2be4gotten.com

I spent over ten years in Europe. France is much like the rest of Europe, some people are nice, some are rude. Americans traveling in Europe are the same.

American and Mexican food is easier to find these days than back in the day, but why bother. Even the Brits are putting out fine chow these days if you know how to find it. Indian, Indonesian, Hungarian, etc. places are generally very nice. Frogs and snails were put on this Earth for a purpose, the French have figured this out.

American cars have never sold well in Europe because of how Europeans tax their cars and their gasoline. Maneuvering a ‘63 Buick through medieval villages was never going to work. I’ve tried most of them: Peugeot, Audi, VW, BMV, Lotus. The Lotus was the best except for the mechanics bills.


18 posted on 07/27/2014 12:35:54 PM PDT by centurion316
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To: ClearCase_guy

smoking is more disgusting though


19 posted on 07/27/2014 12:35:59 PM PDT by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans)
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To: ClearCase_guy

plenty of smokers are fat


20 posted on 07/27/2014 12:36:14 PM PDT by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans)
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To: dfwgator

Our last meal tonight, as I leave France, tomorrow, was a triple Whopper with cheese, extra pickle, at the only Burger King in France at the Saint-Lazare train station, Paris.

We cut it in half, for my girl and me.

It cost us 10 Euros, but it was amazing!

The French tomatoes juice running down my arm.

It was a sloppy mess of goodness!

Our last meal in France.


21 posted on 07/27/2014 12:36:38 PM PDT by not2be4gotten.com
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To: not2be4gotten.com

I would be interested in seeing that post.


22 posted on 07/27/2014 12:36:52 PM PDT by Rusty0604
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To: not2be4gotten.com

Interesting observations. We had a wonderful time in Paris in 1986. The French people we came in contact with we’re charming and helpful although we had to make an attempt at their language.

My observation, not just in France, is that women who smoke use it for weight control which makes it especially hard to quit.


23 posted on 07/27/2014 12:38:02 PM PDT by Menehune56 ("Let them hate so long as they fear" (Oderint Dum Metuant), Lucius Accius (170 BC - 86 BC))
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To: not2be4gotten.com
Thanks, interesting comments!

Have seen quite a few of those 'trikes' here, as an old motorcyclist, I wonder why, but to each his own. Do you see many 2-wheel motorcycles during the winter there? I was under the impression many ride all year round out of necessity-their only vehicle.

No cheddar in the cheese shops? I understand Britons do enjoy their local cheddar--chunnel coach run, maybe?

24 posted on 07/27/2014 12:39:20 PM PDT by W. (Leftists that elected a ThirdWorldPOS 4 Prez can't bitch 'cause their Prez now craps on them!)
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To: not2be4gotten.com

Having been there over 60 times, I would say your opinions will change in several of these categories.


25 posted on 07/27/2014 12:39:58 PM PDT by ImaGraftedBranch (...By reading this, you've collapsed my wave function. Thanks.)
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To: not2be4gotten.com
Mostly true. You will not worry about walking down that dark alley at 2 AM.

Unless you are a Jew, or a female in a Muslim area.

26 posted on 07/27/2014 12:40:01 PM PDT by montag813
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To: W.
No cheddar in the cheese shops? I understand Britons do enjoy their local cheddar--chunnel coach run, maybe?

It's not much of a cheese shop, is it?

27 posted on 07/27/2014 12:42:41 PM PDT by dfwgator
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To: not2be4gotten.com

I spent some time in Germany last year. The little 2 wheel scooters were catching on, but when you have BMW’s why bother

There were a few Toyota’s and so on, but when you have BMW’s why bother.

French fries are good, sausage and kraut are good, the beer is probably like the French wine. Good, cheap and plentiful, it is what makes it livable.

The big junk food there is Doner Kebap which is just a Gyro.


28 posted on 07/27/2014 12:42:58 PM PDT by ImJustAnotherOkie (zerogottago)
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To: not2be4gotten.com
"The French are rude/unhelpful/disdainful." Heh. Depends mainly on what you expect-- I don't think it's fair to characterize Americans as insincere in their friendliness (although a lot of American wait staff really push the limit here). Another important point is that if someone thinks the French are rude to foreigners, they can be much more rude to each other. Like most Europeans, the French are much more status conscious than Americans-- if you are perceived as disrespectful by committing a social faux pas (for example, by forgetting to say 'Bonjour' to the staff on entering a shop), you will get the same in return.In addition, most wait staff in Europe don't work on tips-- they work for the manager, not for you, and most Europeans expect to have a much more leisurely meal than Americans.

Transportation: Population density is the key here-- Germany has about 80 million people, two-thirds of whom live in a 300 mile wide corridor stretching from Munich to Hamburg. Ditto for France if you take a 200 mile wide circumference around Paris. It's a lot easier (and makes sense) to have top-notch public transportation than to have that many people try to drive every day. It's also the case that European capitals are viewed as showcases for public spaces, so the state spends lavishly. You won't find transportation or public spaces like Paris in the poorer provincial cities off the tourist routes (like Verdun).

Working Hard: remember, those who work in private enterprise in France have to work very hard-- they're paying for the +50% of GDP consumed by those on the dole and the hordes of government employees who can retire at 55.

29 posted on 07/27/2014 12:45:45 PM PDT by pierrem15 (Claudius: "Let all the poisons that lurk in the mud hatch out.")
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To: dfwgator

I was wonderin’ that myself. Perhaps the French have no use for cheddar? [Blasphemy!] ;)


30 posted on 07/27/2014 12:46:14 PM PDT by W. (Leftists that elected a ThirdWorldPOS 4 Prez can't bitch 'cause their Prez now craps on them!)
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To: not2be4gotten.com

With regard to why most cars in Europe are stick-shift, it’s simply the way it is. The most common thing I’ve heard as to why is better control in inclement weather conditions, particularly during the winter months.

Surprised to hear there’s an absence of Toyota and Honda autos; they’re quite common here in the Czech Republic, though not as common as the domestic automaker, Škoda. Ford is quite popular here too.


31 posted on 07/27/2014 12:46:33 PM PDT by AnAmericanAbroad (It's all bread and circuses for the future prey of the Morlocks.)
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To: not2be4gotten.com

I enjoyed your comments. And would be very interested in a future post about Muslems in France.


32 posted on 07/27/2014 12:47:17 PM PDT by Rex Anderson
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To: not2be4gotten.com

My experience of France is from the late sixties. The people did smell then because no one wore deodorant, indoor plumbing was spotty, and women did not shave under their arms. I understand that all these conditions have improved.

Everyone in France smoked a lot. The favorite cigarette was the Gauloise. It stunk incredibly.

The food was wonderful; but then again, I was looking forward to French food and love omelettes, fruits and vegetables, especially potatoes, so I was not disappointed. Nor was I staying long-term; so I didn’t miss the Americanized ethnic foods (German saurkraut, Italian cuisine, etc) you described.

The people in the countryside were indeed warm, friendly and helpful, including when our car broke down. The people who worked in Paris were rude and snobbish, pretending not to understand my French (which was understood every other place in Europe, including outside of Paris) and generally behaving churlishly. One bakery woman would not even sell me a dozen croissants after I said it serveral different ways, lastly pointed to them and held fingers up, or even when I wrote it down. She laughed, shrugged and sneered the whole time. So I cussed her out in French, and judging by her red face and screams, she understood my French perfectly.


33 posted on 07/27/2014 12:47:35 PM PDT by Albion Wilde ("The commenters are plenty but the thinkers are few." -- Walid Shoebat)
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To: not2be4gotten.com

I wonder what kind of vehicle they use for the sorts of things we would use a pickup truck for?

I’ve never been to France but I’ve been to Denmark, and I was very aware of how much slimmer the people were. Portions in restaurants were smaller than here and food was generally more expensive.


34 posted on 07/27/2014 12:48:36 PM PDT by Yardstick
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To: not2be4gotten.com

You are surprised to see European cars in Europe?

Ever hear of Volkswagen,Mercedes, Renault,Pegeuot,Citroen,Fiat,BMW, Audi, Skoda, or SEAT?

Probably the only American player on the continent is Ford, with a huge factory dedicated by Henry and Adolph in the 1930s.


35 posted on 07/27/2014 12:48:46 PM PDT by PAR35
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To: not2be4gotten.com
Blue Stilton served in a french cheese shop? I wouldn't have thought they would stoop so low and serve British cheese.
36 posted on 07/27/2014 12:50:21 PM PDT by deadrock (I am someone else.)
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To: not2be4gotten.com

“French women are not fat.”

Probably has to do with 8.


37 posted on 07/27/2014 12:51:21 PM PDT by Politicalkiddo (You cannot protect a child from child abuse by aborting it. Abortion *is* child abuse.)
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To: Albion Wilde
I think most Americans got their impression of the French from 'European Vacation'


38 posted on 07/27/2014 12:51:34 PM PDT by dfwgator
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To: PAR35

Hell....

Where the food is British
The cars are French
The police are German
The lovers are Swiss

...and the whole thing is run by Italians.


39 posted on 07/27/2014 12:53:10 PM PDT by dfwgator
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To: ImJustAnotherOkie

I will be establishing a remote office in Dresden in the next two months. I plan to travel as much as possible when I am there. Your observations are helpful. I have never been to France but definitely plan to make several trips out there.Most of my time in Europe has always been in Poland, Czech Republic, and (former east) Germany. I have rarely met anyone who begrudged me as an American. For the most part everyone was cheery and friendly even with the language barrier. The only people I had a problem with are the occutard progressive types that LOVE telling everyone what they SHOULD do while crying about America telling the world what to do... Go figure.

I shall report.


40 posted on 07/27/2014 12:54:37 PM PDT by Organic Panic
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To: ImJustAnotherOkie
The big junk food there is Doner Kebap which is just a Gyro.

You must have gone to some really bad Donor stands, because every Doner I've had in Germany (even the most mediocre) were better than the best Gyro I've had in the US.

41 posted on 07/27/2014 12:54:58 PM PDT by pierrem15 (Claudius: "Let all the poisons that lurk in the mud hatch out.")
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To: Organic Panic

People in the former Communist countries tend to be friendly towards Americans, especially the Poles, because they remember how they stood against the Soviet Union.


42 posted on 07/27/2014 12:56:22 PM PDT by dfwgator
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To: dfwgator; W.

Cheddar is a British/American cheese, not even made in France. Why hanker for cheddar when so many gorgeous French cheeses are available and local?

The French use cheese more as a course than as a topping like we do. I ate my first slice of camembert in the garden of the Louvre. I can still remember that thrill.


43 posted on 07/27/2014 12:57:08 PM PDT by Albion Wilde ("The commenters are plenty but the thinkers are few." -- Walid Shoebat)
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To: AnAmericanAbroad

Gas mileage, and the fact that (until recently) European automatic transmissions were notoriously unreliable (even Rolls Royce used to buy GM auto trannies).


44 posted on 07/27/2014 12:58:02 PM PDT by pierrem15 (Claudius: "Let all the poisons that lurk in the mud hatch out.")
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To: not2be4gotten.com

Meh... french women are ugly imo (especially compared to when in Germny) and dress very vulgar... but that tattoo craze in the US has probably upped them now, notwithstanding smoking.

They also may look thin but they have zero muscle mass... all celulite or very softy.

What French women have is that they are not power crazy like in America for the most part because fathers there will discipline both girls and boys the same. No holier than though never criticize bs. A dum woman will be called out and rectified by both gender peers. They are a bit more logical and a piece of mind to an extent... although their trust of gays is cmpletely stupid because I know gays make fun of how they easily manipulate stupid french women there.


45 posted on 07/27/2014 12:58:02 PM PDT by lavaroise (A well regulated gun being necessary to the state, the rights of the militia shall not be infringed)
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To: pierrem15

No, they are pretty tasty, but a Gyro is a Gyro. German draft beer makes everything better. The red cabbage can be potent.


46 posted on 07/27/2014 1:01:25 PM PDT by ImJustAnotherOkie (zerogottago)
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To: centurion316
Even the Brits are putting out fine chow these days if you know how to find it.

LOL! When I was there in the 60s I had to depend on Italian restaurants and fish'n'chip shops for sustenance. In this century, it's the streetside fruit vendors, Starbucks, McDonalds, Nando's fast food, and the Turkish kebab shops. Had one spectacular meal at a gay-owned restaurant in London's theater district, though.

47 posted on 07/27/2014 1:02:32 PM PDT by Albion Wilde ("The commenters are plenty but the thinkers are few." -- Walid Shoebat)
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To: not2be4gotten.com

Americans are the strange ones here, as we have to always put on a false face and smile all the time, for various cultural reasons. Look at our current President, who became powerful, almost entirely by his toothy smile. The French are normal and don’t “fake smile” all of the time. Many Americans take this as rude. The French people, in general are wonderful, helpful, outgoing and gregarious. Many Americans say this to feel culturally superior. This is just cultural liberalism. …
Sounds like you are stereotyping Americans, not just liberal Americans that make it a point to go over there and find overly liberal French with whom to discuss US foreign policy.

For my part, I do not see too many people putting on phony smiles anywhere in the USA. Just where did you get that from?

Paris is safe and crime free: Mostly true. You will not worry about walking down that dark alley at 2 AM …
Comment?

Why are there news reports such as this, then? Not to mention that about 85 percent of criminal gangs in France are concentrated in Paris.

the transportation systems are almost unbelievable …
They have higher so-called “tolerance” for more frequent maintenance. Especially when it comes to the railroads, which are state-owned (funny you glossed over that part of their socialism). However, what with the socialistic way of doing things economy-wise, what ought to be the most money-making part of railroading (freight) does not make money and they do a lot more trucking.

The French drive all of these small cars
I have never known them to be into “small cars” exclusively. Who came up with this stereotype? The Citroën DS was not what one would call a small car, although it had four-bangers for engines; neither was the SM or CX.

There are a lot of European cars here, which I wasn’t expecting, in that I had just assumed that every (most) cars in the (western) world were made in America, which is not true …
Eh? France is in Europe, so why would they not have European cars? France themselves still have Renault, Citroën and Peugeot, who have historically been their “big three” after a fashion (and have been sold in the USA at various historical intervals); Germany is next door to France and that country basically invented the automobile, especially the internal-combustion-engined type.

I don't recall seeing an American style, what we Americans, would call, a “pickup truck”. Like a Ford F150, Chevrolet Silverado and Dodge Ram anywhere in Europe
In Europe or France? Pickup trucks are all over Europe. How many do you see in the cities over there, certain parts of which have very narrow streets?

When you rent a car in France, unless you want to pay a premium, you end up with a manual transmission (a stick shift car). Why is this?
Because most people that rent cars over there want a stickshift. The average price of gas over in France ATTOW is €1.51 per liter of 95 octane RON (about 91 octane US), which is about $7.65 per US gallon, so an automatic is going to be thirstier especially in the city.
48 posted on 07/27/2014 1:03:12 PM PDT by Olog-hai
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To: AnAmericanAbroad

It is their way of weaning stupid out of the streets. French are not big on accessibility and affirmative action. You cannot stick shift, forget getting a driver’s license.


49 posted on 07/27/2014 1:03:33 PM PDT by lavaroise (A well regulated gun being necessary to the state, the rights of the militia shall not be infringed)
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To: PAR35

As a 50 year old USA american, no, I was not expecting to see this many cars produced in Europe. It was a real Revelation to me.


50 posted on 07/27/2014 1:04:11 PM PDT by not2be4gotten.com
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