Streetwise-France.com: French Mentality

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Streetwise-France.com: French Mentality


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Old 16th October 2012, 06:09 PM
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Hello All I found this Article and would love to know your thoughts on it.

Streetwise-France.com: French Mentality
Many Thanks

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Old 16th October 2012, 06:50 PM
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Only read the first bit - & I thought I was cynical!

unfair, I think

h
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Old 16th October 2012, 09:18 PM
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Only had a chance to skim it tonight - will come back tomorrow to read more carefully. But on first look, it appears to be a bit "negative" though like every article of this sort, there's probably more than a grain of truth in what is said.

More tomorrow when I've had a chance to read in full.
Cheers,
Bev

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Old 17th October 2012, 04:08 AM
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Marcel Pagnol, a French author having spent his childhood in Provence, and the producer Claude Berri magnificently demonstrate the Provence character in the double-feature films Jean de Florette I and II, also named respectively "La source en Provence" and "Manon des sources". While showing the natural, splendid nature of Provence at the superficial level better than any tourist film could possibly do it, the film also has a parallel, very sombre story to tell about the cruel selfishness that makes some people in Provence do everything for money and gain, whatever the damage to others, in extreme cases as far as murder. It is a movie one can watch many times and discover new details every time. At the first viewing, many would mainly be charmed by the beautiful nature. At the following viewings, the devious scheming becomes increasingly clear. It's nothing less than a masterpiece.
To remain polite, I can only say, what poppycock ! How can anyone read this sort of writing and be gullible enough to agree with this guy ??

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Old 17th October 2012, 06:44 AM
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Rants against France are pretty common. (I seem to recall making a few myself when I was just new in the country )

This particular author is clearly in that phase where everything in France is viewed negatively. But there is a kernel of truth in most of what he says. France is a country with its own distinct culture and when it comes to how that culture is viewed by outsiders, the attitude is distinctly "take it or leave it."

Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources both show a bit of the underside of small town culture here. France is a nation of small towns (over 30,000 of them, as a matter of fact) and in some areas, there is almost a sort of tribal loyalty to the town. There are plenty of similar stories from other cultures - the US, UK (J K Rowling's new book is said to be about the underbelly of small town life in the UK), Australia and probably every other country on earth.

That said, I find rants like this one instructive (and maybe a little nostalgic cause I had a real bad period on arrival when I probably would have agreed with everything the author says here). People who come to France either learn to live with all these "awful things" or they pack up and leave. Or a few hang on, grousing about everything and making everyone around them miserable.
Cheers,
Bev
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Old 17th October 2012, 07:04 AM
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OK, finally had a chance to do a closer skim of the article. It's almost funny to see that the author has many of the same complaints I had my first few years here.

France is a perplexing, frustrating country when you're an outsider and it's clear that he is still fighting the old fight to show how "wrong" they are in their attitudes. Well, the French aren't going to change because some foreigner doesn't like the way things are here. And most of the complaints in the article stem from the same source: this guy has no clue what the rules are and, as a foreigner, manages to break all the rules so makes himself fair game to the "perfidious French."

No matter where you go in the world, as a foreigner you're always going to be wrong - because you don't know the local laws or rules or customs. The French are probably better at pointing this out to the errant foreigner than many other cultures. Once you get familiar with the rules (or probably more accurately, "the game as she is played") you start to make fewer errors and stick out a bit less.

I'm really tempted to go through on a point by point basis and show what the author has either totally misunderstood or misinterpreted, complete with parallels in the Anglo-Saxon world, but I don't really have the time nor the ambition to do so. The one quick example I'd offer is his rant about how the French are out to cheat foreigners because they are too trusting. Hey, wash up on the shores in the US without a proper appreciation of the notion that "money talks" and try to work your way through any legal situation - where the Golden Rule has become "he who has gold rules" and I think you could get a similar rant about the US.
Cheers,
Bev
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Old 18th October 2012, 03:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bevdeforges View Post
OK, finally had a chance to do a closer skim of the article. It's almost funny to see that the author has many of the same complaints I had my first few years here.

France is a perplexing, frustrating country when you're an outsider and it's clear that he is still fighting the old fight to show how "wrong" they are in their attitudes. Well, the French aren't going to change because some foreigner doesn't like the way things are here. And most of the complaints in the article stem from the same source: this guy has no clue what the rules are and, as a foreigner, manages to break all the rules so makes himself fair game to the "perfidious French."

No matter where you go in the world, as a foreigner you're always going to be wrong - because you don't know the local laws or rules or customs. The French are probably better at pointing this out to the errant foreigner than many other cultures. Once you get familiar with the rules (or probably more accurately, "the game as she is played") you start to make fewer errors and stick out a bit less.

I'm really tempted to go through on a point by point basis and show what the author has either totally misunderstood or misinterpreted, complete with parallels in the Anglo-Saxon world, but I don't really have the time nor the ambition to do so. The one quick example I'd offer is his rant about how the French are out to cheat foreigners because they are too trusting. Hey, wash up on the shores in the US without a proper appreciation of the notion that "money talks" and try to work your way through any legal situation - where the Golden Rule has become "he who has gold rules" and I think you could get a similar rant about the US.
Cheers,
Bev
Thank you Bev for your clear and honest Insight. I agree, he hasn't lived in France long enough to understand the local culture or game. It will be interesting to see what his opinion will be in a decade if he manages to stay in "frustrating" France for that long.

Regards
Sherryl

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Old 18th October 2012, 07:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beauty33 View Post
It will be interesting to see what his opinion will be in a decade if he manages to stay in "frustrating" France for that long.
Chances are he won't stick around long enough to be disabused of his ideas. Besides, it looks like he makes a reasonable living off being a grumpy critic of other countries.

But it does illustrate rather well what we often try to tell folks here. When you move countries, you need a reason to be going to a particular place. If you just are "fleeing" your home country, you wind up like this guy - never happy where you are (which may just be the reason you were so anxious to get out of your home country in the first place).

If you have a reason to stay, you'll do your part to get used to the strange and curious ways of the country you're in. A good job, family or a spouse, a genuine interest in the culture, a desire to learn the language - all these are valid reasons to make a big move like this. But if you simply can't stand your home country, you're just going to run into much the same thing anywhere you go.
Cheers,
Bev
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Old 21st October 2012, 11:51 AM
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He, I think is trying to make a name for himself in contentious journalism and it is not working, thank goodness... However, I must say that some of what he says reminded me of my own rants when I first arrived in France. The rosy tinted glasses soon steamed up as I experienced the very different outlook on life the French have and reality took over. I had to change my attitude a great deal and make a conscious and oh so difficult effort not to whinge. Fortunately we do enjoy a great quality of life here, but I will never truly understand French mentality (or feel a need to) and will no doubt remain a foreigner - albeit a happy and contented one.

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Old 1st November 2012, 03:56 AM
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So i'm back on this forum with a new name.....and I'm sure many people will recognize me here and as my new name suggests - I am moving out of France after spending a year in Paris and travelling all over the country. I read this article and it has some truth but its a bit too extreme. I don't think France is a BAD country - it's just not a country for me or in my opinion for any young person who wants to have a very happening life. France is good for retirement, or if you have little or no ambition in life - the French hate success - if you are successful then don't move to France...LOL.

Well I don't care about the bureaucraZy....in France - that's everywhere in fact I think they follow a strict system in France so if everything is in order then things are fine, plus this is all over continental Europe. Only UK has less bureaucracy because they follow the US model. These are my main issues with France or French mentality -

1) I've been in Paris over a year, met hundreds of French people - sorry but I find them all very eccentric, selfish, sad, depressed and just boring. I lived in New York and London too and despite all the problems in those cities - I found the people more POSITIVE and upbeat, the french just bring me down with their heaviness and seriousness....their soirees are boring as hell and they really don't seem to know how to have fun in life. The worst is they are all unstable at least in Paris....even old women I met here are messed up in their lives.

2) The french attitude towards progression, success and money is very WRONG in my opinion. They PRETEND to want an equal society but secretly they all want to be rich and better than others...and the same time they hate everyone else who is successful especially businesspeople and just any wealthy person but if they can get money out of a rich person they will jump at it. Also the French government is quite disgusting in the way they try to control how successful anyone can become in France - there is a "ceiling" to success and even though I have no ambitions of becoming a billionaire - this sort of a mentality to keep everyone BELOW a certain level of wealth makes me uncomfortable.

3) Tax laws are horrible in France - and discourage people from working or even investing in france actually. A person making 20k a year income pays hardly 2k in taxes annually...but someone making 50k...pays 20k in taxes...and someone making 150k pays 65,000 in taxes...this is hardly anything but fair. They are brutal towards wealthy people and hardworking professionals - this is why all the intelligent french leave France...there is a massive brain drain out of France which they don't realize. If you own assets outside France or want to invest in France it's even worse.... a foreigner buying property in France ends up parting with 45% of the value before it can pass on to his children...and 60% in case there are no children but other appointed heirs...it's hardly fair someone invests a million euros in france then dies and his estate has to give 60% to the french govt.....this is not investment - an investment is supposed to grow and benefit your future generations...this is a "punishment" for investing in France...LOL...the french inheritance taxes is what drove Bernard Arnault out of France too....it wasn't due to the income taxes.

Now for all the things I love and will miss very much....the food....the desserts....the beauty of France....the fashion....but is it really worth living in a country where I am not truly happy from inside? I can't do anything here - the people I met were all boring and backward... or mental...lol....i'm not the only one to say this in fact I met a lot of expats living here most of who have already gone...they all came for an experience and moved on. France is not a country to settle down but it's definitely a good country to spend a few months each year....it's sort of become a museum...a thing from the past you go and appreciate when you miss it....i'm still not 150% sure of moving out but I am considering other countries or just being based in India and travelling around the world....I love experiencing new cultures and people...and since I am in a position to do that why get stuck in one place???

Lastly, French people aren't so bad...they are just very aloof and into themselves and have a weird society which probably works for them but is very alienating for a foreigner. Integrating with them is not that difficult but I just don't find it exciting and stimulating enough to do so...but all said and done the French have created a country which works for them...I just need to move on and find a country with more exciting people...any suggestions?

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