On eating my weight in cheese and other French stories

With anything in life, things have to be pretty great to keep people coming back for more. If she’s good looking, you’ll be back for more. If her brain’s pretty good too – we know where to find you. And if she can cook! Well now there’s almost 100 percent chance of this hypothetical relationship working out.

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Countries are no different. Take France- people come, go and come back again for more. So much so that it is by FAR the most visited country in the world. It’s 84 million tourists per year way surpasses the US as runner up with a measly 15 million. France has earned it’s position!

The cafes, the pastries, the notoriously cute pastel coloured shutters, ancient alley ways and cobbled streets. Well perfumed people. Chic looking infants out-growing their Levi jeans faster than you can say ‘baguette’. Their equally as stylish parents. Free wifi at McDonalds. Good McDonalds. Macaroons. All French Food. The language. Overflowing national pride. And you can’t ignore the animal lovers. There must be more animal lovers per square kilometer than any other corner of the earth.

In the same breath, it might be nice to see fewer dogs in prams. When did dogs stop running alongside their jogging owners and be pushed in prams instead?

While we’re here, I personally (physically) could do with less pastries made up almost entirely of butter. Here’s looking at you croissant (remember to rough up the back of your throat when you say that).

Also, just like I could do with less Capetonians going on about their fantastical…… everything,  French people could tone down the ‘can’t beat our food and wine’ attitudes. Ze wine, ze cheese, ze Fois GROIS! Ze best! There’s something quite obnoxious about it all- be you Capetonian, French or just a nauseatingly proud mother. I dunno, to me, hyper-nationalistic people are about as annoying as someone who can’t hide the fact that they find themselves attractive.

As a possible after effect of all this love, the French have developed a unique character trait whereby they prefer to speak French and only French. As a country that attracts more tourists than any other in the world, it might be in their favour to be more open to the English language. And I’m not saying everyone go and learn it all- I’m just saying don’t treat it like an infectious wound that might take over completely if you get too close.

To ensure starting off on the wrong foot –ask a Frenchman if he speaks English. Then watch for that split second of what looks like a mixture between discomfort and annoyance before they say ‘no’. At this point try and work into the conversation that you are South African and not in fact British. This might salvage things a bit and prevent you from being shut out as effectively as the pastel shutters do the sun. Ze French don’t like ze Roast Beef.

But when you think about it, if you’ve got the world falling at your feet, jumping through hoops for their visa in the hopes of eating their weight in cheese – you can do and be whatever you like. And even though I’v successfully ranted and lets be honest, generalized, there are a number of French people who occupy a special place in my heart. You know who you are- please do not be offended. There might not be a more picturesque and cultured corner of the world, you guys have every right to be proud.

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