an article based
on Chapter 13 of Savoir-Flair:
being a woman in France;
being a man meeting French Women.
Americans and other foreigners intimidated by the French? For
just one reason: France is different!
three words of French unlock a warm welcome?
What should you expect...
in French taxis?
in café restrooms?
What is the code for getting great customer service?
What is all the fuss about food and French restaurants?
Do you know...
how to charm French waiters?
how to entertain business contacts?
how to intrigue French women and
do young people greet each other when meeting for the first
time? Answer: They kiss! This is the land of love...
of France as a new game, with rules that you need to know, just
the same as if you wanted to learn how to play tennis or chess.
Savoir-Flair is for travelers
who are curious about the customs of a very old culture of warriors
and artists, monks and scientists, that has given us Pasteur and
the movies, Monet and Napoleon, Versailles and the Concorde supersonic
and Yves Saint-Laurent... the great chefs, venerated like movie
stars -- and Mont Saint-Michel...
Travelers tell their tales of generous French help and the automatic
French response: "It's nothing. C'est normal!"
part: Enjoying the first 24
hours in Paris.
the chapters start with the word "Enjoying..."
strategies at airports and hotels.
customs, crossing streets, asking directions.
minimum words of French politeness for a warm welcome.
Second part: Enjoying the
the local scene.
Métro, driving and cycling in Paris, customer service and dogs.
young in Paris!
the movies, marketing, shopping.
being a woman in France. *
being a man meeting French Women. *
Read an article adapted
from this section.
Third part: Enjoying eating
out in France.
cafés and restaurants; choose the one for you.
chefs, French delicacies.
to get a wonderful meal from French waiters.
and how to entertain business contacts.
etiquette of business entertaining.
Circulating around the French provinces.
the trains, driving regulations, bicycle tours.
a certain village for renting or buying.
Take your time. Special wonders
of French people.
known French habits and rules, their cultural context and real
like Platt's previous book, it is entertaining and funny as well
of text: Tips 133 and 134
Croissants must be fresh to be good, and cafés don't want
to have any left over, so, often, they run out. Sometimes,
a waiter will go down the street and get one for you from
the closest boulangerie. If not, you can suggest very politely
that you'll go and get one yourself. Do it in sign language
if your French isn't up to it.
In Paris, sitting at a table in a café usually doubles the
bill. Stand at the counter if you're short on cash. If you're
alone, it might be more fun anyway. You can join in the bartender's
conversation with the habitués. In rural France, the price
is usually the same, whether sitting or standing.
sample of text: Tip 146
Like New York taxis, Paris taxi drivers often don't know their
streets perfectly, even if they're French. Or they're tired
and confused at the end of the day, and take you by what is
clearly not a direct route. It doesn't necessarily mean they're
out to gyp you.
Recently, I took one from the Gare Montparnasse to my apartment
on the rue de Bellechasse. At the Boulevard des Invalides
I suggested he turn left, but he said firmly that his way
was better, via the rue de Grenelle. I thought, well, he sounds
so definite... but as he drove along, I realized that his
route was really way out of the way. I said so. But he said,
"Mais non, Madame, I am a Parisian and I know the way."
Finally, I insisted he turn left onto the Boulevard Raspail.
Which he then did. At our door, I asked for a receipt.
He shook his head. "C'est gratuit, Madame. Je me suis trompé."
(It's free, Madame. I made a mistake.)