Saturday, May 31, 2008

Les heures joyeuses


Unlike some countries I visited (no, I won't give names!), people in France don't typically drink just to get drunk. Make no mistake, I'm not saying French people don't drink but when they do, it's an additional pleasure to gathering with their friends or eating out. Or should I say was... Because apparently, the situation is changing. Up to a point that the government is thinking of banning happy hours and increasing the taxes on alcohol. Needless to say that a few months after the ban of cigarettes in cafés and restaurants, this new measure is not exactly welcome...

Talking about France, and its evolution, I received an email from the Paris correspondant of CNN international who is interested in the global view of non French people on France and the French. If you'd like to contribute, please have a look at the first entry in the comment box and give your opinion.

108 comments:

  1. CNN International is about (strating June 2nd) to run a special week of live programming on France. Jim Bittermann (the Paris CNN International correspondant) and his colleagues are interested in the global view of non French people on France and the French.

    If you feel you can contribute to the following questions (even partially) please do so, right here, in the comment box. I will make sure to send your contributions to Jim.

    (Please, mention the place you're from at the end of your comments, it'll be interesting to know who thinks what according to his/her location on the globe ;)

    Q1. In his victory speech, President Sarkozy said France had turned "a new page" in its history. Do you agree?

    Q2. What do you think most defines France's reputation around the world?

    Q3. Is French culture still alive today?

    Q4. Who are France's most influential people?

    Q5. What do you think is unique or distinctive about the French?

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  2. Eric – j’adore ce photo. Pas si “jeune” qu’hier, mais egalement fantastique.
    Guille – quoi qui ce passe, fallait que je le fasse en francaise cette fois!

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  3. Hey Eric! GF! Well done! he he....

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  4. What? Did you fall down drunk before you took this photo? I love the look on the waiter's face.

    I wish I had more time to answer your questions. I know you will get many responses!

    Happy weekend everyone! I think this is the first time Eric's ever been GF.

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  5. I don't care what you say, Eric -- you are NOT GF.
    Seriously, I will definitely give some thought to CNN's questions and respond un peu plus tard.
    My kids think that the French don't get drunk as often as Americans because they can drink when much younger, so there it's not such a big deal. They also think it's not France without cigs in cafes. I say banning the nasty things is a good thing.

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  6. Ok i'll answer - I'm from England.

    Q1. In his victory speech, President Sarkozy said France had turned "a new page" in its history. Do you agree?

    Yes it seemed to be the impression he was making. Not least, that he wanted a friendly co-operation with the British!

    Q2. What do you think most defines France's reputation around the world?

    Paris fashion, romance, food and a little xenophobia.

    Q3. Is French culture still alive today?

    Yes and it's wonderful. Mostly.

    Q4. Who are France's most influential people?

    Presently, i think Sarkozy. And Eric from Paris Daily Photo. Sorry, couldn't resist.

    Q5. What do you think is unique or distinctive about the French?

    The French shrug. The pursed, sexy lips during speech. Their energetic adoration of food.

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  7. Lynn "and a little xenophobia." Hummm interesting. I think I'm going to love your answers...

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  8. Ok now about the photo. I like it, Eric. Except that the sign is in English. Why so? I know which country to which you refer and unfortunately the UK is well known for its drinking. I suppose that's why the sign is in English, to pull the British tourists in.

    I have to say i'm an exception. I hardly drink at all. One glass is a rare pleasure for me. I'm a fruit juice person.

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  9. he he glad to oblige, Eric, honestly as ever. xx

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  10. Actually Lynn it's in French - except that we have no expression for "happy hours" so we kept the English expression (I used Heures joyeuses in the title of this post but it's just for the fun, we don't say that here). We have no expression for "cocktails" either LOL!

    But "Bières Pression" is 100% French!

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  11. Lynn, You are too funny, "Eric! GF! Well done!" Do I note a tone of sarcasm in your voice.

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  12. Oh that's interesting. It's true to say, though is it not, that there are some French who object to imported words, particularly from the British? I don't blame them really. We also import, usually older expressions from the French, such as fait accompli etc. I always think your imported words sound odd, such as 'le weekend' etc. I just want to hear beautiful French from you. With your sexy pursed lips, please, Eric. ;)

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  13. As a drunken Englishman, I can say:

    Q1. In his victory speech, President Sarkozy said France had turned "a new page" in its history. Do you agree?
    Yes, but I think it is an old page in Europe. I suspect that Sarkozy will be adopting the centrist, populist policies and theologies now current in a lot of European countries. Of course, for France, that means a huge lurch to the right.


    Q2. What do you think most defines France's reputation around the world?
    Food. French cuisine, food and wine, is the most assimilated and admired worldwide.


    Q3. Is French culture still alive today?
    French culture is alive but dying. No amount of legislation will turn back the hands of time.

    Q4. Who are France's most influential people?
    A few years ago, I might have said Goddard or TRuffaut, a little before that Jean Paul Satre. Now I would also have to say Sarkozy. doesn't that say a lot?

    Q5. What do you think is unique or distinctive about the French?
    I believe that the French education created a nation that was interested in talking and listening. Even today, the density of words in the average publication indicates that something different is going on. People expect to engage in argument and conversation and there is an egalatarianism that allows most cultural divides to be crossed. (ignoring the French upper class)

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  14. What I noticed first in your photo was the server -- he really struck a pose for you. I do not know of one cafe in San Francisco French Quarter that has Happy Hour. And people still smoke cigarettes and cigars if they are sitting in the sidewalk outdoor portion of the cafe. Maybe that is why the owners and the crowd that frequents that area are referred to as French Ex-patriots :P

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  15. Bonjour, Eric!! Nice photo! The things you must do to get us some great shots (with the camera, not liquor). Very interesting viewpoint though. Happy Hour is everywhere here in America. I can't say that I've ever been to one (as I don't drink alcohol), but you see it advertised all over the place. Our state is also considering banning smoking in restaurants and other buildings. It will surely be a shock and change when that happens.


    As a woman from America, who hasn't visited France (yet!), I will answer the questions as best I can.

    1. A "new page" in France's history. Well, I think the fact that Sarkozy's new wife totally won over the English people would qualify for that sentiment.

    2. Food and Fashion. French cuisine is thought to be some of the best in the world and Paris one of the capitals of world fashion.

    3. French culture is alive, but I think it can only change somewhat with the new globalization of the world. It is almost sad that things are becoming somewhat uniform around the world. I have only met a few true Frenchmen and Frenchwomen, and they have all been lovely. There is the misconception that they are unfriendly and rude, but like anywhere else, it depends wholly upon the people that you meet. I've met some pretty repellent people from almost every country as well as some perfectly lovely ones too.

    4. Well, of course, Eric is very influential. His view on Paris and the surrounding area has helped me gain valuable insight to Parisian landmarks as well as to everyday life in Paris. (And also made me extremely jealous at times!) Nicholas Sarkozy and his wife would also be on that list. I think that some of the designers of France would also have an influence on others. Louis Vuitton and Coco Chanel to name a few.

    5. They never wear tennis shoes. Even though they walk much, much more than other people, they don't wear tennis shoes (except if they're actually on the tennis court). And they enjoy eating every meal. Here it is not an experience like the French seem to have, more of a duty that needs to be done as quickly as possible. I'm loving the idea of taking my time and enjoying what I'm doing when I'm doing it and not rushing through my life. Also, fighting against national monuments that become world treasures and then insist that it was the French idea in the first place. I just love the stories about artists, thinkers, and writers absolutely hating the thought of keeping the Eiffel Tower around after the World's Fair. Now it is a beloved part of the Paris skyline.

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  16. Sorry it is so long! When I get going, I have a hard time being quiet! BTW, I think Eric deserves GF today!! Congrats, Eric!

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  17. You can name the main culprit the UK.
    I avoid Happy Hour even on the Isle of Man. Attitudes to the consumption of alcohol is totally irresponsible in the UK. To drink to get drunk is considered fun. Surely to drink slower with good company is the fun part. I can drink, and quite a lot, especially spirits, but so not wish to lose an evening, so therefore drink thorughout gathering, not in
    (un)happy hour.

    He does look a little tipsy himself in the photo, even for the low angle.Good observational image and a little comical.

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  18. My first reaction to the picture is ... yeaaaah, it's Friday, happy hour is right around the corner... and then, looking closer I see that people charge ... 5 Euros for .. beer on tap?!!! Dang, that's a lot of money! My recollection is that most beer on tap over there isn't that great, is it, or have things improved any on that front?

    And finally, my last reaction(to "banning Happy Hours and raising tax on alcohol) is a resounding B..LL SH..T!!!

    I wish the French government would stop telling businesses how to run their affairs. I know they mean well (?) but too much of a good thing, you know. I'm not saying the US model is perfect, but clearly, in France, the government can be way too heavy-handed with small businesses!

    I don't even drink that much, it's just the principle.

    Grrr!

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  19. oooooooooooooooo, Eric you got a little "game" about the French? This ought to be real interesting ;) Can French expats play, too ;)

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  20. First, Eric, I LOVE PDP! I love Paris and am working very hard to get a job in Paris so I can move there. Was just there two weeks ago, & cried when I had to leave. Anyway, thank you Eric for giving me a shot of Paris every day! I need it. As for the questions, I will comment on a few. Q2: France's reputation--I agree with the comments so far. The rest of the world thinks of food and fashion, but having spent time in Paris, I think of the beauty of Paris--the architecture, the gardens, and the people. I AM in love. Q3: Is French culture still alive? Bien sur! Q5: What is distinctive about the French? The way the French view life, the way the French know how to enjoy things like a meal, a glass of wine, a slice of cheese. The way the French are so easy to talk to. The passion of the French--for everything. Again, I'm biased because I'm in love with Paris!
    - Gina, Caroline du Nord, USA

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  21. Q1. In his victory speech, President Sarkozy said France had turned "a new page" in its history. Do you agree?

    I believe that we have all turned a new page in our history. France, and all of Europe, are dealing with changing social and economic landscapes, as we in the US are, as developing countries begin to mark their place in a this "flat" new world. For the French, this is a direct threat to the civilized comforts of a protectionist society (i.e., length of the work week). Politically, the whole word seems upended somehow.

    Q2. What do you think most defines France's reputation around the world?

    Beyond the superficial things (like the runway and the food), an intrinsic appreciation of beauty that one sees not just in Paris but in the countryside. Also, a value of art, music, and language.

    Q3. Is French culture still alive today?

    I certainly believe that it is. One can't possibly travel in France without being touched by it. There is a reverence for the culture that, for me as an American, is almost palpable. Perhaps I am francophile in the extreme, but I can almost look at a photo in a magazine, for example, and say, "Oh, that's French."

    Q4. Who are France's most influential people?

    It is hard to say. I believe Bernard Levy is still very influential. The icons of French culture--for example, the actors--seem to keep a much lower profile than they do in the U.S. Lucky for them! I actually believe it would be possible to pass someone like La Binoche or Jean Reno in the street without having fans flurry around them. I hear some American actors say they can have more private lives in France. But perhaps I am wrong about that.

    Q5. What do you think is unique or distinctive about the French?

    Attention to beauty, to the tiny details that make some small, simple object a joy to behold. And the language; what sound so mesmerizing as le francais? I have been studying it most of my life and continue to marvel at the thought process behind certain perfect phrases. For example--not "I miss you" (where "I" am the important one) but "You are missed by me" (where "you" are the important one). That says something about the French. Every memoirist I can think of, from Hemingway to M. F. K. Fisher to more current writers, picks up these nuances.
    Oh, Eric, je parle trop!
    Angela Bell, Mechanicsburg PA

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  22. first of all, I am so glad i stumbled upon ur site! second, I totally agree with the very first sentence of this post. My bf is from france and when he first saw how Americans drank, he was shocked because people here drink, not to enjoy their friend's company, but to get drunk. Wish it wasn't the case, but gotta face reality,right?

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  23. Coming from that little neighboring country, I totally share your view about drinking habits. I can see how it is very different for the average joe in my host country. I think we are born epicurian while elsewhere it's an acquired quality. Maybe we are a bit more spoiled by all the good things that surrounds us.
    Santé, Eric! (I'm serving Martinis on a rooftop - tchin-tchin)

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  24. I'll be glad to help by asnwering the questions

    Q1. In his victory speech, President Sarkozy said France had turned "a new page" in its history. Do you agree?
    Yes, for better or worse, I think there has been some changes in France

    Q2. What do you think most defines France's reputation around the world?
    Wihtout a doubt, good food, fashion, romance and the art of living (savoir faire)

    Q3. Is French culture still alive today?
    Yes, maybe not as influential as in the past, but it is still alive

    Q4. Who are France's most influential people?
    Probably Sarkozy nowadays. I think Delanoe (Paris marie) influences a great deal of politicians around the world too. I know for a fact he influences the governor of Rio.

    Q5. What do you think is unique or distinctive about the French?

    Wine is food for the french, so the importance it has for the french people and the way they know how to savour it is unique.
    The language is very distinctive too and maybe it creates a barrier for other people around the world.
    THe french are also known for being a very chic people. Even if they're dressed in a simple way, it's the casual chic. I love it!

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  25. I am hesitant to answer these questions one by one, since I am married to a French family (I find you don't just marry a Frenchman...), and I don't want to reflect any one of them in particular. I want to say also that I don't want to be too...explicit...in my response. ; )

    I will say this, and that is I do agree to some degree with the xenophobia described, I think, by Lynn(?). However, I see this more among the older generation in my acquaintance. I believe they are extremely proud of their unique culture, and I suspect that they feel that the lines of distinction are blurring as our society becomes more global. I further wonder if it doesn't arise as a stage of mourning (maybe) the loss of an identity. On the other hand, I am impressed with the generation just a half step behind me, as they embrace the beauty of other cultures, and assimilate them into their own new brand of..."Frenchness." In this, I see the purest expression of the quality I have always associated with the French, namely, the desire to follow one's own instincts and to create a life that is an honest reflection of the pariticular individual, not a carbon copy dictated by current social mandates. This will sound kooky when I reread it, I am sure, but is my view from here.

    I am from near Chicago, but spend time France.

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  26. Q1. In his victory speech, President Sarkozy said France had turned "a new page" in its history. Do you agree?

    Yes. But probably not for the reasons he meant. His bling-bling presidency has put him and the country squarely in the crosshairs of the tabloids.

    Q2. What do you think most defines France's reputation around the world?

    Pride.

    Q3. Is French culture still alive today?

    For those who are interested in culture it is the epitome.

    Q4. Who are France's most influential people?

    For the average American probably Sarkozy. France is mentioned more in the news now due to him.

    Q5. What do you think is unique or distinctive about the French?

    The ability to survive whatever is thrown at them be it revolution, occupation or 5 republics.

    USA

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  27. Q1. Hmm, do I agree with Sarkozy about France turning a new page in it history? Possibly, but I don't know if it's a page that the French will want to turn. From what I've read (and I may be wrong) I was under the impression that Pres. Sarkozy would like France to "work more to earn more." Can't see a lot of French racing to hold onto that line. Also, I know he's talked about focus on "quality of life," and French "solidarity" and "re-humanizing society." Sounds good, but how do you get there? I think it was French philosopher and sociologist E. Morin(sp) who notes Sarkozy's "elastic personality" that seems to be always moving. Where Sarkozy will be next week is anyone's guess. With the "Gallic Thatcher" at the helm (as the British Right refer to Sarkozy...that may be a compliment,too), France may just be headed to a "new political ideology", but personally I think Sarkozy will continue to fluctuate in his political leanings from right of center and back again. It's anyone's guess really. Perhaps, glam queen Carla Bruni can keep him from straying too far to the right.
    Q2. "...most defines France's reputation around the world?" Definitely the food, fashion sense, wine, romance, and perhaps the "passion for originality."
    Q3. "Is French culture still alive today?" Yeah, I definitely think it is but economic globalization is certainly transforming the face of every major country. France is unfortunately no exception.
    Q4."...France's most influential people?" In the States, we are somewhat familiar with French actors like Audry Tautou, Daniel Ateuil, Juliette Binoche, and Gerard Depardieu (to name a few); fashion folk like Vuitton, Saint-Laurent, Dior, Chanel, Gaultier. But, besides these people, if looking just at who is in the news a lot lately and is influencing public thought, I'd go with President Sarkozy.
    Q5."...unique or distinctive about the French?" The French I know are appreciative of creativity and originality, jazz music (Coltrane in particular...ahem), and shoes. Did I say shoes? Seriously, it is amazing. It's a country of SHOES. However, the French "passion for the arts" and for "intellectual dialogue(or argument)" are what continue to draw me back in. Plus, when the French cuss at me, it actually sounds quite poetic and it's hard to get that angry at them. [insert foot in mouth here]

    Stephen Hawkins...Midwest, USA

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  28. Whoops...forgot to comment on the daily photo. Fantastic as always, Eric, and also interesting commentary on the pending "Happy Hour" ban. Ridiculous idea to ban it. Like Tomate, I also thought the 5e tag for a draft beer was high. Whew! I could get a 6 pack for that amount here. Like the waiter's expression. Did you stop for a happy drink?

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  29. I am French from Paris!

    Q1. In his victory speech, President Sarkozy said France had turned "a new page" in its history. Do you agree?
    A: No, Nothing has changed!

    Q2. What do you think most defines France's reputation around the world?
    A: Food, football, fashion, culture and cinema, big companies,...

    Q3. Is French culture still alive today?
    A: Yes. At least there is a French way of living. Definitely, the French way of living is different from UK, Italy, US, etc... But we see the same TV show like everywhere in the world, eat more or less the same food!

    Q4. Who are France's most influential people?
    A: Sarko,

    Q5. What do you think is unique or distinctive about the French?
    Do not think we are unique or distinct!

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  30. Wow Coltrane, très bon observateur et articulé. I'm really impressionné. Maybe you should be writing more politique commentaire. That was really interesting. Merci.

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  31. Jim, hahaha "Do not think we are unique or distinct!" Can we be both -- I'm thinking....OUI

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  32. I'm charmed by the photo as always, Eric. And I'm impressed--but not surprised--that you've been contacted by so august a personage as Jim Bittermann. Who better to contact than you?

    Q1. I'm not qualified to answer this one. But I will say France's history is fascinating, one of the reasons I love Paris, and France itself.

    Q2. The personality of the people, their insistence on being individual.

    Q3. The French culture is alive and well! A reason for that is the historical architecture is preserved. Please keep it!

    Q4. You mean influential people besides Eric Tenin? I don't read the news much, so I really get my daily dose of France from Eric. Other than Eric, currently it's Sarkozy. But over time, the influential French people have always been the artists (in all fields).

    Q5. It can be frustrating to visitors, but it feels like one has to pass a sort of "test" to be accepted by the French. They don't open their arms to everyone at first. They wait until they're sure about you. I don't mind it because once you pass, they're loyal.

    And I like that French men appreciate beauty in women of all ages.;)

    I'm writing from Pasadena, California.

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  33. Time to answer the questions, Monsieur GF (not) :->

    Q1: In his victory speech, Sarkozy said France had turned a "new page" in its history. Do you agree?
    In the election, one of the "last men standing" was a woman. France really would have turned a new page by electing Royal. As for what Sarkozy meant, I truly have no idea.

    Q2: What do you think most defines France's reputation around the world?
    La culture: art; fashion; la litterature -- from Voltaire to Vian, Sartre and deBeauvoir, and beyond.

    Q3: Is French culture still alive today?
    Absolutely! It's everywhere, and people like Avi Wanono and his friends from l'Ensad keep it alive and thriving. Frankly, Eric, so do you -- by putting it out there for all of us to discover thanks to this blog.

    Q$: Who are France's most influential people?
    At present, Sarkozy -- he certainly does keep France in the news around the world.
    Within France itself, the students, who continue to insist on change. And its immigrant population, especially les jeunes, who may sometimes try to exert influence by burning cars (but I believe they will have real influence if and when they find a better way of getting the attention of the French government and people.

    Q5: What do you think is unique or distinctive about the French?
    Their sublime style, in every aspect of their lives.

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  34. Oops -- forgot to say at the end: I'm American, from New York City.

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  35. I forgot to say I'm from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil!

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  36. Guille -- if you read my (almost) GF comment, I meant to say "fallais que je le fasse en francais" (not francaise). If I made any other mistakes, please let me know -- apres hier, ma chere (tiens - petite poeme), just wanted to show you I could do it in YOUR language :-)

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  37. Lois -- to answer your question from yesterday: First of all, your daughter must be gorgeous. Seriously. Did she also inherit your artistic talent?

    Both of mine are the perfect combo of their WASP mama (milky white English complexion) and Siciliano papa (wavy reddish-brown hair and thick eyelashes). Grace a Dieu, they also got their father's 20-20 vision (I'm blessed with myopia AND astigmatism), and his talent for math (he teaches it; I can barely add 2 and 2 and come up with 4). From me they got bodacious tatas! (Pour les Francais, ca veut dire qu'il y'a du monde sur le balcon -- LOL) and an ear for languages. OMG, aren't genes truly amazing?

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  38. Oops, Guille, I think that should be petit (not petite) poeme.
    Okay, it's 3 a.m. here in NYC. Time to faire dodo!

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  39. Hi Eric, I want to make sure that Mr. Bitterman knows your blog is read in the 'Orient' as well!

    Q1. In his victory speech, President Sarkozy said France had turned "a new page" in its history. Do you agree?

    Oh yes, I do. Apart from never having had Sarkozy as President before, it is the first time that I see France as being in-your-face-bellicose.

    Q2. What do you think most defines France's reputation around the world?

    Liberte-Egalite-Fraternite; the Resistance (WWII); the 35-hour work week (lots of time to appreciate the good things in life!!)

    Q3. Is French culture still alive today?

    I see its influences even today in Pondicherry, 8000 km away from Paris; I'm sure it is thriving!


    Q4. Who are France's most influential people?

    Eric Tenin certainly has had some influence on me:) Apart from him.... who affects our lives, here in India? Thierry Henry, for one (more so when he was playing for Arsenal :)), Carlos Ghosn, now that Renault will begin making cars in Chennai (Madras).

    Q5. What do you think is unique or distinctive about the French?

    Style - fashion - suaveness, whatever you call it. They have IT! Their disdain for people and things that don't measure up to their standard...

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  40. Oops - meant to say I'm from Chennai (earlier known as Madras), India, after I finish answering.

    And now I have said it!

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  41. Q1: This strikes me as being a platitude much like saying, "At the end of this month we will turn a new page of our calendars." Time, and history, marches on regardless of any volitional page turning. The megalomania in Sarkozy's statement comes off as akin to Richard Nixon stating in 1971 that the devaluing of the dollar was the "most significant monetary agreement in the history of the world."

    Q2 and possibly Q5: I've looked at other comments and agree with most: Pride; joie de vivre; fashion; good taste; good food; appreciation of wine; rigorously intellectual; flirtatious; slow to warm up to strangers; elegant; a high regard for their rich past while striving to forge a new future (or should that be "turn a new page in history"? Ha ha. So? I contradict myself.); LEF.

    Q3: Yes, of course. Is it as robust as it has been at certain times in the past? Perhaps not. But rather than headed for extinction French culture might merely be slightly dormant, soon to flourish and influence profoundly once again. But still, this new wave may not even be recognizable in the future as French culture in the way we understood it in 2008. So after all, this seems to be a simplistic question.

    Q4: Every French person.

    Q5: Do you mean, what are my uninformed, coming-from-ignorance stereotypes of the French people? I hope that I am above that.

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  42. Q1. In his victory speech, President Sarkozy said France had turned "a new page" in its history. Do you agree?
    He wanted to move things to have people with talent at his side but it is not easy to move the old farts like Fabius or Hollande they are glued don’t want to lose money or place in the society [u should be in a place because u deserve it not because u are from a worthy influent family it, it’s a peers system]

    Q2. What do you think most defines France's reputation around the world?
    Fine bouche gourmet, they would better starve than to eat a nasty sandwich
    easy flirting person to put it nicely but this is part of the carpe diem philosophy

    Q3. Is French culture still alive today?
    No all the French fashion house has foreign designers like marc jacob for lvmh or galliano for dior, cacharel had Spanish designers
    Only a few like the creator of agnes b [she IS a Godess], Gaultier or courege are French

    Q4. Who are France's most influential people?
    People from the business/industry
    The medef leader a woman Laurence Parisot or Benard thibaul the leader of one of the leading union
    Jean-Louis Borloo he was a mayor of a poor town in the North of France valenciennes he has invited Toyota [he did not delocalise on the contrary] he has proved so much on the ground he is now a minister but I have the feeling he has not all the tools in his hands or see first comment

    Q5. What do you think is unique or distinctive about the French?
    They are never happy, moaning person, they are elitist, they take absolutely no risk

    this is a very general view you have exceptions loving caring people therese eric's neighbourg, eric, guillemette ... i have read so many intelligent lucide and funny comments on pdp that i am just sometime puzzled when I see stupid decisions which can be taken by ministers .. amen.
    inge

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  43. Anonyme, it is true, the French do moan a lot! I speak not of the French on this site, i can't honestly say i've seen it here, maybe things have improved now but when in France in the past i have noticed it in abundance. They even moan or look like they have a bad taste in their mouths when you compliment their own France, Paris, even the Eiffel Tower! I have also been frustrated in the past by the slow attitude. Everything can wait. I'm an impatient person, wanting everything done yesterday so it didn't suit me at all. Perhaps i speak now more of in the country than in Paris. Just my experience. There is a mistrust of the English, even an assumption that the English are all unintelligent, inferior. I have always ignored that. lol. Why would i pay attention to that untruth? he he, only for this questionnaire purpose here.

    On the plus side, i have been invited to a French family for dinner one evening, complete strangers and impromptu. The husband was English though and he did the inviting but the wife was very glad to welcome us.

    I have experienced genuine warmth and friendship from the French but then i do speak French. Those who do not, open their mouths at their peril. Prepare for looks of disdain, even disgust.

    I think the French have a really great sense of humour but it is not immediately apparent at all. One has to scratch the surface deeply to find it. Once it escapes its own confines, there's no stopping it. The humour is silly, happy, sarcastic, dry. Very similar to the English, but ours is more dancing about on the surface, carefree.

    Lynn from England.

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  44. I can't help but think that Australia is one of those countries you've mentioned about getting drunk. ;D

    I was only thinking yesterday or the day before whether banning happy hour would do anything for the "alcohol problem" here in Australia. Personally I don't think there's one...young people are still drinking and getting drunk, it's the attitude of what they do when they get in that state. Bashings, trashing things...just generally breaking the law. I'm not trying to give Australia a bad name, for I'm sure this sort of thing happens all over the world. It's not something you see every day, but because the media is focusing on this issue a lot more, it seems like a bigger problem.

    I'm not sure if you know or not, but smoking in pubs was banned about a year ago here in Australia(I actually think it's a year tomorrow!). There was a mini-uproar (if there's such a thing) at the time, but now it's a part of life and no-one even bothers talk about it. We've also done the tax on 'alcopops' in the last couple of weeks too. This is in an act to stop young people getting trashed, but a lot of people are saying (which I can tell you as a young person myself is 100% true) if we can't afford the softer 'watered down' alcohol, we'll just start mixing our own drinks, therefore taking in a lot more alcohol anyway!!!!

    *phew* Just had to get that off my chest! =D

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  45. While in Paris in late March I noticed that more and more younger Parisians are wearing sneakers, baseball caps and jeans. There are more McDonalds everywhere and they are filled with Parisians of every age. I heard that President Sarkozy is a big fan of America but he may be just going with the flow. A time magazine article in 2004 may shed more light on how he plans to change France and its culture. Here's a link that will provide some insight.

    http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,708953,00.html

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  46. What a relief to see others assuming the unnamed countries are their homelands. I immediately assumed Eric was referring to the US. A lot of Americans consider alcohol an activity, not a beverage.
    Anyway, as for the questions...

    Q1. I do think France has turned "a new page" in its history. How that history will develop remains to be read in the pages yet to be written.

    Q2. Deservedly or not, a certain sense of elitism

    Q3. French culture is certainly still alive today, but like any living culture, it is continuously evolving.

    Q4. Internationally, Sarkozy.

    Q5.Individualism, pride and sensuality (in its broadest sense)

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  47. Eric -

    I'll answer the questions first, but only the ones I feel even vaguely qualified to answer:
    Q2: deep, emotional appreciation for the arts of cooking and eating, slimness, an ability to get around obnoxious government interference in petty regulations, liberalism, a longing of everyone (at least in the US) to live in rural France - rivaled only by their desire to do the same in Tuscany. Also: a certain elegant arrogance and disdain of other cultures.

    Q3: Yes. But it is not stagnant. Culture is constantly in flux.

    Q5: The few French people I've known are difficult to approach, but once they are friends with you, they are very loyal. Although often introverted, they are energized by vigorous conversation. They love life, seem a little sad, and view "work" as a tiresome necessity, since it distracts from meaningful time with friends.

    (disclaimer: I haven't been to France in over 20 years, and know few French people.)

    I live in central North Carolina, US.

    Now, for the photo - Oh, Eric, how I agree with you on your view of alcohol and its consumption! It's really terrible in the US, especially with young people. Alcohol is set up as this big "taboo," which, of course, makes it all the more desirable to teenagers; lacking natural discipline and restraint, they grow accustomed to drinking ONLY in excess. I wish more Americans really understood alcohol as simply a beverage. We view it as a drug. So sad. I wish this aspect of French life wouldn't change; we all need to have a normal relationships with alcohol.

    Sorry to rant.

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  48. Lois...merci, you are too kind. BTW, I left a reply to your question about ma fille on yesterday's blog.

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  49. Eric, congratulations. You are demonstrating your global influence by the fact that you were approach to collect these comments.

    Q1. In his victory speech, President Sarkozy said France had turned "a new page" in its history. Do you agree?

    Answer - Sad to say but I had to Google "President Sarkozy victory speech" before I knew the content. I do remember the press coverage in the US after Sarkozy was elected and I certainly remember his beautiful wife. However, I acknowledge my ignorance on this subject.

    Q2. What do you think most defines France's reputation around the world?

    Answer - Fashion and wine.

    Q3. Is French culture still alive today?

    Answer - My impression is yes.

    Q4. Who are France's most influential people?

    Answer - Eric from Paris Daily Photo! Then maybe a few of the fashion designers.

    Q5. What do you think is unique or distinctive about the French?

    Answer - I'm under the impression that the French enjoy life more than most, that a long lunch with good wine is valued, time spent with friends at a corner cafe is treasured, they are justifiably proud, and they are very independent.

    Denton from Greenville South Carolina in the US and from the Daily Photo Map.

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  50. Fascinating to read everyone's responses to the questionnaire. Not surprising to see how many of us credit Eric as an influence.

    m.k., how sadly right you are about Americans and alcohol. Instead of having an aperitif or glass of wine as a complement to a good meal -- both graciously savored -- we guzzle coke with our drive-thru grease feast, then go out and drink to get drunk. Well, not ALL of us, obviously . . . still, you make an excellent point.

    Guille -- okay, that should have been quoi que se passe (not quoi qui ce passe), right? Perhaps if I had thought for a nanosecond before typing . . . :~{

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  51. Ok Eric, going off on a tangent for a sec.... i reported on the comments box i think yesterday that Angelina Jolie had given birth to twins in France. Now, Brad's agent - oh yes i'm in the know to that extent at least - is saying no, no, she did not. What to do? I wondered. I know, I'll ask the Oracle. So -

    Eric, Do tell. Did Ms. Jolie give birth to twins in France or not? Thanks. lol.

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  52. Eric -- the waiter must have been amused at your antics. ;) Merci again for 'laying down' your life for PDP one more time.

    I find it interesting,though, as an American (and I thought it was the US you weren't naming)that something as basic as the French relationship to alcohol and the attitudes towards how much is comfortable and/or acceptable to drink are being changed by external influences like happy hours. Else, why ban them? So, I wonder, is that the whole picture, or, is there more at work in this equation? (Not to mix the metaphors too grossly!)

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  53. I love this blog, and this is the first time I've responded.

    Q1. I am not well-enough informed to answer this question.
    Q2. Literature - from Voltaire to Sylvia Beach's bookstore and all of the expats to Sartre (and beyond).

    ART (And the art of living)!

    Paris itself. The city of Paris forms an indelible impression on the imagination - from Les Miserables to the Hunchback of Notre Dame to PDP. I am going to get to see it for the first time in October and I can't wait.

    Q3. Of course it is. How influential in the world of international politics and economics I can't say (the French were not popular when we, the U.S. declared war on Iraq for no good reason and they refused to be complicit in this misadventure); however, for the French the culture is very alive. I would hope that the French style would ever remain alive. How could it not?

    Q4. I don't have any names other than those already mentioned.

    Q5. Their sense of style in everything. And from the few French people I know personally, it is a zest for living, friendliness, intelligence.

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  54. Tall Gary, Your response to Q2 and Q5 was beautiful. I am saving that one. Your response to Q1 was refreshing and enlightening. I'm saving that one too. I love the way you write.

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  55. so happy ! so trendy!
    have a good day !

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  56. Lynnie, I so agree "Once it escapes its own confines, there's no stopping it. The humour is silly, happy, sarcastic, dry. Very similar to the English, but ours is more dancing about on the surface, carefree." I love British humor. (So does my brother and daughter since their childhood.)

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  57. Gecko, Interesting about Australia. My daughter went there for the Olympics; she loved it and the people. She said there was a lot of drinking in the pubs. However, she did not think that it affected the peoples' delightful personalities.

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  58. Q1. I don't think France has turned a new page just because Sarkozy has arrived. Everything evolves and if there's a significant shift, it will be because of varied and greater forces.

    Q2. I think that defining features like fashion, food, wine, independence, intellectualism, the arts, and rural life as well as wealth and power are all set in a deeper defining stratum of historical influnce and power, exported through laws and language and spread around the globe for centuries.

    Q3. French culture is totally vibrant and alive today. Like most others, it is inviting and accomodating the effects of globalization and fighting it at the same time.

    Q4. I think of the huge effect of all of France's scientists. They were massively influential in bringing us the world we live in today.

    Q5. My impression is that the French have a distinctive view of the world and of relationships between people which shapes the actions they take. This is evident, among many other things, in the balance they strike between work and pleasure, in questions of style and presentation to others, in their love and personal lives, in what are seen as rights and what as privileges, in how they see themselves in history, and in the value placed on refinement in all things.

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  59. Oops Eric -- I forgot to say I'm from Los Angeles,CA.

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  60. Marti, You put that so perfectly "A lot of Americans consider alcohol an activity, not a beverage." That was a beautiful thing to say "Individualism, pride and sensuality (in its broadest sense)"

    M.K., "They love life, seem a little sad, and view "work" as a tiresome necessity, since it distracts from meaningful time with friends." Right on target. You nailed it!

    Denton, "I'm under the impression that the French enjoy life more than most, that a long lunch with good wine is valued, time spent with friends at a corner cafe is treasured, they are justifiably proud, and they are very independent." You brought tears to my eyes -- I get criticized a lot for "time spent with friends at a corner cafe". It's reassuring to know that you are on my side and understand.

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  61. I couldn't resist adding my 2 euros to the subject, but again, I am on a LAYOVER with limited computer time.
    I saw the advertisment for the show the other day on CNN in Paris and thought the show was all "in the can" at this point.
    Even tho there is a real psychological disease called Sarkosis, I think Delanoe has turned the history page first with his revamping of Paris--the velibs to use less cars, Paris plage,planned rerouting of streets."Sarko" is trying to bring more work efficiency which is meeting with much resistance.
    Number 2 : in one word, Art most defines France's reputation to me.
    3 and 4 French culture is alive today , look at Phillipe Stark and the architect Nouvel.As far as influential, I was amazed hear the same answer ,year after year, when my Fr. teacher asked to mention a famous Fr. person....I always heard Gerard Depardieu. Don't kill the messenger. That is who the average college student knew.
    What is unique or distinctive? How about naming so many metro stations for famous people or places important to the French and keeping history alive? Anatole France, Felix Fauvre, Bolivar, Phillipe Auguste, Kennedy...different than 59st in NYC or Green Park in LHR.
    When I read quick articles about people in the magazines,besides asking their favorite restaurant, they always ask what is their favorite bookstore, their favorite art gallery. I NEVER have seen that as a constant question asked of someone in the states. I think it is unique in that the bakeries bake fresh bread not once but twice a day, because it is important!!!!!And you can find these bakeries within a short walk of wherever you live!
    Scarves on people of all sexes all year long.
    A celebration of food and not oversizing their plates of food.Striving for beauty in everyday things. I marvel at how a simple gift is wrapped with an intense detail to beauty.
    I could go on and on....
    Phoenix, Arizona , NYC and lots of Paris

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  62. Eric, je crois reconnaître le tee-shirt du Brébant, non? Nice place. ;)
    I'm vote FOR the happy hours!! As a student I need these cheap moments! LOL.

    I can't answer the questions since I'm French, but I learnt a lot. Thanks. Actually, it was a little bit weird to see what you think about us...

    Angela Bell, I love your answers, it was so honest. And kind. ;)

    Alexa, you made me laugh out loud with your 'il y a du monde au balcon'!! HOW is it possible to know such an expression, which is more than slang?! And your 'asides' with the corrections were so cute. Your French is really nice. You know it. ;)

    Petrea and M.K., ur answers to Q5 are interesting to read. I didn't know that we were seen like that but I understand what you mean because some people behave in this way even with French people, some are very distant and they don't open their arms.
    (personaly, I'm not like that. Am I?)

    PHX, when do you move in?!

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  63. Oh btw, about the moaning people, you are SO right!! One of the characteristics that we keep alive and keep jealously for us!

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  64. Actually Guille, French people can also answer, I omitted this part because I thought the Paris correspondent would be more interested in the non French people's opinion, but, on their site, they are actually looking for both.

    PS: about these cheap moments... Don't worry, you'll have plenty throughout your life LOL!

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  65. Eric, you sound so wise. "PS: about these cheap moments... Don't worry, you'll have plenty throughout your life LOL!"

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  66. Coltrane, I read your comment about you and your petite filles and the ice cream, and shoes -- she is into shoes! She must be taking after Rose (300+ shoes). Sounds like you are having a wonderful time.

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  67. No, Guille, you are not like that :)

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  68. I agree, I think it's more interesting, fun, to get the non-French people's opinions.

    I will say this, though. I think the commenters are giving Sarkozy *way too much* credit! (Couldn't help myself, I just had to slip that in real quick ;).

    TF

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  69. Eric,
    These are my answers to CNN's questions. Please feel free to forward them if they will be of any use.

    1.Any time a country elects a new leader that country has turned “a new page.” Having been to Paris in 2004, 2005 and 2008 I can’t say I’ve seen much change. Well, maybe more graffiti.

    2. Food defines France’s reputation. Culture is second. The food is regional and treated with pride. France’s reputation is of an independent people who try to balance the old and the new (tradition and technology).

    3. French culture? I read an article that said French culture was dead. I don’t believe that. Art continues to thrive. Thinking is encouraged; people read almost obsessively and discussion is the core of French belief. The new is tried and the old is retained.

    4. Most influential people in France? I have to say Eric of PDP (Paris Daily Photograph) because of his obvious love and joy for the city of lights.

    5. I was most amazed to see how much the French read! I teach English in Texas. It takes a great deal of work to get my students to read anything! Yet, in Paris I saw people reading newspapers, magazines and books everywhere!

    Fashion is unique in French women. I can usually spot a French woman just by the way she has put together an outfit.

    Karen
    Bremond Texas

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  70. Let me contribute to this questions as well (from a Greek guy living in London)

    Q1: In his victory speech, Sarkozy said France had turned a "new page" in its history. Do you agree?

    It seems that France presents a different image now on its foreign affairs and stirs the waters, but probably is too early to say if they turn a new page.


    Q2: What do you think most defines France's reputation around the world?

    fight for human liberties and equalities, clearly defined politics in europe and the rest of the western world in several occasions, art and free speech, maybe somehow eccentric figures, individualism


    Q3: Is French culture still alive today?

    Can't really judge fairly on that as I'm not living in France. I think though, that there is in general a movement in europe with nations moving towards a more generic modernized uniform western culture, leaving pieces of their distinctive cultures (for better or for worst). All in all, I think that it is still distinguishable, but can't tell for how long.


    Q4: Who are France's most influential people?

    In current times, I would say Sarkozy, trying to make apparent his presence all over the world and europe in particular.


    Q5: What do you think is unique or distinctive about the French?

    individualism, maybe snobbish sometimes, though I think they are less snobbish than what they are usually credited for

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  71. As for drinking... last night our seniors graduated from high school. I bet 70% of them got drunk last night- with their parents' blessing and assistance.

    A fellow teacher looked at me strangly when I mentioned how hard it was to recork some wine bottles. Why would I need to do that he asked? Because I only drink a half cup at a time, I told him. He was surprised that someone would NOT drink to get drunk.

    I guess I'm thinking and acting more French all the time. I didn't even mind waiting in line while a slow counter person filled popcorn orders at the movie theatre last week.

    Each visit to Paris has been a pleasure because the people are kind and helpful, really. Maybe it's because they live in Paris?

    Karen or Wren

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  72. I just woke from a dream. Whether it is prophetic or an absurd nightmare time will tell.

    In the dream Sarkozy is dressed in American military camouflage which suits his jungled rural surroundings. He is standing, with a column of smoke rising behind him, in front of a small Vietnamese hamlet that is ablaze in orange flames. He is speaking French to a reporter but an English translation might be, "We had to destroy French culture in order to save it."

    By the way, I am from the U.S.

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  73. Guille -- how do I know such an expression? I learned it SO long ago (much longer than you've been alive!) that I don't really remember. Well, I do remember that a man taught it to me (naturally).
    And please answer the questions -- I'm curious to see what you say.

    Wren --I love the way Eric is always saying how lucky he is to live in Paris. How nice that he doesn't take it for granted.

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  74. I will move in Guille, when I can finally figure out how to tie the scarf around my neck like a native.

    I must go off on a tangent right now, too, as I have just come back to my hotel from the underground in LHR, ALIVE, thank goodness. There are literally thousands of young people drinking large bottles of wine and beer, protesting the new law banning alcohol in the underground.It was smelly, stuffy and scary! I was told it all started with a protest in Facebook. Wow!

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  75. I just googled "Il y a du monde au balcon" and found this page.

    Thinking about Question 4 I realized that, personally, I have been profoundly influenced and affected by France and French culture (an explication of which would be beyond this blog) but to ask me who are France's most influential people is like asking me, "If you take the entire fluxation of subatomic wave versus particle coordinates as subsumed within Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, how many turquoise-flavored gazelles can be found swimming in Caribbean backwaters on Thursday?" How would I know?

    The true answer is likely wealthy and powerful, behind-the-scenes people in the realm of the Rothschilds.

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  76. But listen, Eric, YOU don't get away with not answering! Now that you have told Guille that French people can reply, it is only fair that you should do it here too! Well? :)

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  77. Q1. In his victory speech, President Sarkozy said France had turned "a new page" in its history. Do you agree?

    Yes. He promised not to deliver more of the same.

    Q2. What do you think most defines France's reputation around the world?

    Wine, cuisine, fashion.

    Q3. Is French culture still alive today?

    Barely breathing, but still alive. The glory days of French culture are long past.

    Q4. Who are France's most influential people?

    Without question Bertrand Delanoë, the mayor of Paris. He may well be the next president.

    Q5. What do you think is unique or distinctive about the French?

    Independent thinking and suspicion of the status quo.

    P.S. I'm from Washington, DC.

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  78. Guille -- posted a comment for you on the next date by mistake. I'd like to know your thoughts and any other French posters thoughts, too.

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  79. Tall Gary -- I am LOOOLLLL at your comments. What a dream! And, as for your answer to question number 4,as I'm sure you know, not only won't you know, no one will know. Sadly for all of us, once we identify even one turquoise flavored gazelle, we won't be able to tell if its in the Caribbean. Better stick with Sarko in the jungle. :} And, the link was wonderful.

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  80. Guille, when I look at what I said it sounds negative, but I didn't mean it that way. It's something about the French people that I admire.
    I also said the French insist on being individual, which you are, and which I like very much.
    Then Tall Gary refused to stereotype the French, and I felt a little guilty for doing it. Stereotypes may begin in reality, but Tall Gary's right. No one thing is true of an entire country's people.
    You are warm and friendly, Guille. Like Eric. Yes, it does exist! It's the reason I keep coming back here every day. It's not just the photos, it's the people.

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  81. T.Gary - Love that link! We got some chuckles from that. From now on, when my husband and I are in a group of people, I can't casually mention that there's a crowd in the balcony, and no one but him will know what I mean! :)

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  82. Q1. In his victory speech, President Sarkozy said France had turned "a new page" in its history. Do you agree?

    Yes, unfortunately, though it may be delayed a bit by world events.

    Q2. What do you think most defines France's reputation around the world?

    The visual images of Paris, a terrior approach to globalisation,art and the overall appreciation of culture.

    Q3. Is French culture still alive today?

    Yes, but I would agree that it is barely breathing under the onslaught of new media. Culture tends to be community-based and this is a difficult time for that vision.

    Q4. Who are France's most influential people?

    Well, I don't imagine the French care to think of themselves, as a whole, as being able to be influenced by anyone. However, on a stage wherein France has people who exert influence, I would say, Sarkozy and his wife.

    Q5. What do you think is unique or distinctive about the French?

    For me, what I found spellbinding and unique, is the ability of the French to make everything and anything beautiful. Whether it's wrapping my small purchase in a shop like a festive present, or hanging curtains, it's the way the French approach each thing, as though it has an inner beauty that will be coaxed out of it. And that beauty does indeed, get coaxed out. La vie est belle.

    I love France.

    From the moment I arrive until I am crying on my way to the airport, I am home. I feel at home. I am never lost in Paris. I always know exactly where I am, and wherever I am in Paris, I am always home.

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  83. Q1. In his victory speech, President Sarkozy said France had turned "a new page" in its history. Do you agree?

    From what I’ve read, it seems that he’s trying to make France “conform” to the business and economic practices of other industrial countries. So, it may be a “new page,” but it remains to be seen if the citizens of France will “continue with this chapter”.

    Q2. What do you think most defines France's reputation around the world?

    Art and culture, wine and cuisine, fashion and design.

    Q3. Is French culture still alive today?

    In most ways, yes. It will be interesting to see how it weathers the influences of immigrant populations and globalization.

    Q4. Who are France's most influential people?

    Probably Sarkozy. Eric Tenin is a great influence in the internet community ;-).

    Q5. What do you think is unique or distinctive about the French?

    Being independent thinkers; the importance of art, culture, cuisine in everyday life.

    From Boise, Idaho

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  84. I forgot to include-- I am from Saratoga, New York.

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  85. Eric, As an American who has had the pleasure to visit Paris a few times, your blog has provided me a link to those travels. I do not have answers to the CNN questions, but would like to comment on the people in Paris. They are so helpful and will stop to help a confused tourist with directions even if they speak no English. Once a kind woman helped with my luggage from the subway platform up to the above ground station - about 3 flights of stairs! When the topic of the French comes up in conversation, I always comment on how very friendly people in Paris have been during our visits there. I cannot wait to return!
    Hugs,
    Stephanie from Ohio

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  86. Q1. In his victory speech, President Sarkozy said France had turned "a new page" in its history. Do you agree?

    No, not really. Other than I think Sarko and Carla will raise the profile of the French Presidency globally.

    Q2. What do you think most defines France's reputation around the world?

    Great culture, great food, great wine!

    Q3. Is French culture still alive today?

    Absolutely, particularly in the amazing cinema France has produced in the last few decades.

    Q4. Who are France's most influential people?

    Those behind France Telecom and Carrefour!

    Q5. What do you think is unique or distinctive about the French?

    Their pride in themselves, their style, their lifestyle and their culture.

    Jess, North Devon, UK

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  87. Hi Eric, I'm one of your silent readers that never comments, but being intrigued by your questions, here are my two cents:

    Q1. In his victory speech, President Sarkozy said France had turned "a new page" in its history. Do you agree?

    No, Sarkozy's presidency is just another notch in France's political belt. Hopefully we all emerge from it no worse for wear.

    Q2. What do you think most defines France's reputation around the world?

    Turning the necessities of life (food, drink, shelter, clothing) into haute couture.

    Q3. Is French culture still alive today?

    Of course, but changing. It's rich culture comes from a rich history, but this history is also a burden as France tries to stay true to its past, while allowing (r)evolution into its future.

    Q4. Who are France's most influential people?

    Besides PDP Eric? France's strength isn't in individuals but in its communities, thinking of the transportation strikes, the immigrant riots, the gov't 35-hr work week policy and free health care. In essence, France's most influential people...are its people.

    Q5. What do you think is unique or distinctive about the French?

    Noting that people across borders are more the same than different, the French really know how to accessorize and tie a darn nice scarf.

    Beth, North Dakota, USA

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  88. Lynn "But listen, Eric, YOU don't get away with not answering! Now that you have told Guille that French people can reply, it is only fair that you should do it here too! Well? :)"

    I will, I will ;)

    I LOVE all your contributions BTW, it's always interesting to see the perception that foreigners have about France.

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  89. Q1. In his victory speech, President Sarkozy said France had turned "a new page" in its history. Do you agree?
    From my distant (Austin, TX, USA) perch France seems unchanging in spite of the (very welcome to me) smoking ban.

    Q2. What do you think most defines France's reputation around the world?
    I think France is famous for food, wine and protest.

    Q3. Is French culture still alive today?
    I believe so. One only has to look at the photos on the French City Daily photo blogs to see that art and the finer things are still important in the midst of the 21st century.

    Q4. Who are France's most influential people?
    That's a tough one for a foreigner. The president seems powerful or at least written about but sometimes you think the interest groups (minorities living in the suburbs, students, young people protesting revision of labor laws, farmers) really wield the power and must be dealt with by these figureheads.

    Q5. What do you think is unique or distinctive about the French?
    I think that through everything the French keep their love for sitting down to wine, food, coffee and conversation and embrace art and literature. Americans moved through their various frontiers leaving behind occasionally anything that wasn't 'essential to life' or that seemed spurious to the religious beliefs they were preserving or creating. Despite this they had to import anew these basic values of civilization when they prospered in their new environments.

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  90. I am new to this blog thing and hope I am not repeating myself as I am not sure if the first message went through. I am a language teacher (Spanish) and have studied a little French. I think the problem is that Americans and the French are very similiar (I hope no one takes offense to that.) We both want it our way. I have been lucky to have been to France a couple of times and found everyone friendly and helpful. It was appreciated that I tried to speak French and not just assumed they spoke English. On a travel show recently the hostess told about a Frenchman who compared the French to a coconut: hard on the outside but sweet on the inside; that if the effort is made to get to know them you will love them. Thank you for your daily snapshots. I look forward to them everyday. Merci beaucoup.

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  91. Tall Gary, Thanks for the link to French slang. The first one is really funny, oh, and the second one -- wait they are all funny.

    Great answer to Q4.

    "The true answer is likely wealthy and powerful, behind-the-scenes people in the realm of the Rothschilds." I knew a Rothschild once. She was my nest door neighbor when I lived on Park Avenue in NYC. BTW She was crazy.

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  92. Blueskies08: thank you. That's what I meant to say but didn't manage it as well as you did!

    Tall Gary: love the slang.

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  93. hi The Bwergeron's here!

    We love France - just spent a month here. It amazes me that in America we complain if people only speak Spanish - our illegals - but they do not understgand thst the French will be snooty if you don't try to speak French!!

    We try to speak French and never run into snooty Frenchmen.

    Plus there are virtually no homeless on the streets - In Atlanta we have an incredible problem with that - our condo over looks CNN - so you CNN guys know what I'm talking about.

    And they keep it clean.

    In the month we were there we took every bus - metro- tram - and RER possible. Only one neighborhood looked rough. CNN come spend some time at Atlanta's Five Points.

    Woodie and Cheryl Bergeron

    PS We didn't have high school French so our French is really bad but er try.

    If you're going to Paris bring $$$ - lunch for two $100.

    But we love it.

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  94. HI

    Not sure the first email got through - so Eric - I opened a blog account. This is my first blog so be gentile.

    My wife and I just spent a month in Paris. We are amazed that people still ask us here at home if the French are rude. These are the same people who hate it when our illegal aliens can't/won't speak English.

    Well we never met a rude person in Paris because we try to speak French. And our French is bad. We never had high school French. Ours is mostly learned on our own. I couldn't roll an R if I had to. And there are two in my name.

    Our condo looks down on CNN Atlanta so these next comments are compared to Atlanta. We took every metro/bus/tram/RER in Paris. Only saw one neighborhood that looked rough. Compare that to Five Points. And we saw virtually no bums or homeless people sleeping on the streets. And they didn't hassle us.

    Oh tell everyone if they are coming to Paris to bring money. Lunch for 2 Salads with house wine = $100. We had an apartment and cooked a lot.

    The French folks don't like our politics but neither do we.

    We love Paris and the friendly French people.

    Woodie and Cheryl Bergeron

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  95. 'The French folks don't like our politics but neither do we.' Woodie, I love this one.
    Nice to see you here Mr 'Bewgewon'. ;)

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  96. I am from Boston, Massachusetts. I lived in France for nine months from Sept-May 2008 as a high school student.


    Q1. In his victory speech, President Sarkozy said France had turned "a new page" in its history. Do you agree?
    Critical changes are underway in France. Foremost, France is opening itself up to the forces of globalization ("mondialisation"). International companies are taking the places of established French enterprises. For instance, cars are no longer Citroen or Peugeot; American Fords and Japanese models are present in equal amounts. McDonalds exists. It is profitable. Levi outlets are opening outside of Paris. This is not the France of Chirac. It is still the Fifth Republic, but one in the process of abandoning its resistance to change.

    France is also coming to terms with immigration. Muslims make up a large portion of the French state. It is no longer a primarily Catholic country. Its Gothic and Romanesque churches are mostly empty. Muslim immigrants from North Africa or the Middle East are rapidly increasing in size and geographic diversity. This is new. France has to come to terms with state-sponsored finance of mosques, and the state of the chaotic suburbs (banlieu). These are new concerns in French society.

    Other changes include the European Union. France is a major player on the European circuit. It gives significant amounts of money to the EU (behind Germany), and will "host" the EU later this year. Sarkozy wants to redefine France. He is in the process of privitizing state-run initiatives and reducing the government in all domains. The socialist days appear to be coming to a close. The 80s with Mitterand and the 90s with Chirac increased the French state; Sarkozy and his party, the UMP, are the "libéral" are massaging limited government and a general "laisser-faire" mentality. New.

    Altogether, France is inherently the same. Innovations spur advances, but French culture is still solidified. It is being prodded, sometimes willingly, sometimes with riots and protests, in a new direction.


    Q2. What do you think most defines France's reputation around the world?



    Q3. Is French culture still alive today?
    Yes, but it is no longer as renowned as it once was. The fragile glory of the French state is routinely in doubt. However, France is still a world power, but not as it once was before WWII, under the reign of Napoleon, or during the Ancient Regime. Nonetheless, France has retained its high class up to today.

    Q4. Who are France's most influential people?
    Sarkozy, Le Penn, Yasmina Riza (she wishes...)


    Q5. What do you think is unique or distinctive about the French?
    International awareness. The French follow the news. Their newspapers have detailed international sections (Ouest-France, le Monde, Courrier International, etc). They also have great culinary traditions...

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  97. Q1. In his victory speech, President Sarkozy said France had turned "a new page" in its history. Do you agree?

    Yes I do think France has possibly turned a "new page" however, the page is still yet to be written. It will be interesting to watch as France tries to maintain it's own strong and individualistic identity and yet be a major player in both the EU and the Global community.

    Q2. What do you think most defines France's reputation around the world?

    I would think they are defined by their very strong individualism and curiosity and interest in the world around them. They are also known for cultural achievements that have gone unrivaled and may never be matched again.

    Q3. Is French culture still alive today?

    It is alive, but in the process of great change. I believe what is known as French "style" is often confused with French culture. As the world becomes more "Global" which is another word for "Mediocre" or "Homogenized" it will be a different type of French culture that is shared or exported to the rest of the world.

    Q4. Who are France's most influential people?

    I think the most influential people in France are the generations that will make up the France of the 21st century. The present leaders of France had better realize this and plan accordingly.

    Q5. What do you think is unique or distinctive about the French?

    I agree with the previous post and believe that the International awareness of the French and their interest in the world at large is quite distinctive. We could talk about their personal sense of style, their "rules of the table" and amazing cuisine or their desire for privacy, but I believe their curiosity for the world around them and a respect for education is rather defining. They are also "Survivors", to Survive and Remain has been everything for them.

    I am from San Francisco, CA and am a second generation American descended from a French father and French grandparents that arrived here around 1912.

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  98. Just a few words on what I think of when I think of France (from une Australienne) :

    Gerard Depardieu; Juliette Binoche
    Parfum - YSL - Opium
    Haute Couture - Coco Chanel
    Haute Cuisine & Patisserie
    La Politesse
    Art, Sculpture, Literature - all the fine arts
    Le Louvre
    Sulky sensuality and beautiful women
    Sexy men
    French kisses
    Le Metro
    La Seine
    La Tour Eiffel
    Notre Dame
    Sacre Coeur
    Le Moulin Rouge
    Les Places
    Le Champs Elysees
    Protests
    Multiculturalism
    Roman Catholicism and beautiful cathedrals
    Medieval chamber music

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  99. I hope I'm not too late in answering these questions...

    Q1. In his victory speech, President Sarkozy said France had turned "a new page" in its history. Do you agree?

    I'm sorry to say I didn't hear the speech and am not sure what he exactly means...I'll have to google it!

    Q2. What do you think most defines France's reputation around the world?

    Food, Fashion, Flare and sophistication! Sorry couldn't come up with another F word this late at night for me!!! Oh...just thought of a couple more, but not F words: Art, History (keeping it alive in today's world!)

    Q3. Is French culture still alive today?
    DEFINITELY YES!!!

    Q4. Who are France's most influential people?

    I think the local French people...all the native French ...during my holiday in Paris, I felt all the Parisians I met embodied influence! Hope that makes sense!!

    Q5. What do you think is unique or distinctive about the French?

    I LOVE how the French live their lives...they enjoy the moment...Joie de Vivre!! I LOVE that they take time out of their working day to eat and drink with friends! I LOVE that they enjoy food - all types and appreciate the care taken in the preparation and don't overindulge! I LOVE that they can relax! I LOVE their fashion sense! I LOVE the fact they are active!

    Their spirit is contagious! I LOVED my week in Paris...I felt ALIVE and free! I LOVED walking the city and LOVED not getting pushed out of restaurants right after we finished a meal...I LOVED that they allowed you to sit and visit and eat slowly savouring the food!! They appreciated my attempt at broken French and I didn't find them aloof at all! ( like I had heard!) I can't fully put into words my experience in Paris....it truly was Joie de Vivre!!

    I am Karyne and live near Toronto, Canada!!!

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