France is a medium-sized foreign country situated in
 the continent of Europe. It is an important member of
 the world community, though not nearly as important as
it thinks. It is bounded by Germany, Spain,
 Switzerland and some smaller nations of no particular
 importance and with not very good shopping. France
 is a very old country with many treasures, such as the
 Louvre and Eurodisney. Among its contributions to
 western civilization are champagne, Camembert cheese
 and the guillotine. Although France likes to think of
 itself as a modern nation, air conditioning is little
 used and it is next to impossible for Americans to get
 decent Mexican food. One continuing exasperation for
American visitors is that local people insist on
 speaking in French, though many will speak English if
 shouted at. Watch your money at all times.


 France has a population of 57 million people. 52
 million of these drink and smoke (the other 5 million  are
 small children). All French people drive like
lunatics, are dangerously oversexed, and have no
 concept of  standing patiently on line. The French people are in
 general gloomy, temperamental, proud, arrogant, aloof
 and disciplined; those are their good points. Most
 French citizens are Roman Catholic, though you would
hardly guess it from their behavior. Many people are
 communists. Men sometimes have girls' names like
 Marie or Michel, and they kiss each other when they
 meet. American travelers are advised to travel in
 groups and wear baseball caps and colorful trousers
 for easier recognition.


 In general, France is a safe destination, although
 travelers must be aware that from time to time it is
 invaded by Germany. Traditionally, the French
 surrender immediately and, apart from a temporary
 shortage of Scotch whisky and increased difficulty in
 getting baseball scores and stock market prices, life  for
 the American visitor generally goes on much as before.
 A tunnel connecting France to Britain beneath the
 English channel has been opened in recent years to
 make it easier for the French government to flee to
 London during future German invasions.


 France was discovered by Charlemagne in the Dark Ages.
 Other important historical figures are Louis XIV,
 the Huguenots, Joan of Arc, Jacques Cousteau and
 Charles de Gaulle, who was President for many years
 and is now an airport.


The French form of government is democratic but noisy.
Elections are held more or less continuously and
 always result in a draw. The French love
 administration so for government purposes the country
 is divided into regions, departments, districts, municipalities,
 towns, communes, villages, cafes, and telephone
 Each of these has its own government and elections.
 Parliament consists of two chambers, the Upper and
 Lower, though confusingly they are both on the ground
 floor, and whose members are either Gaullists or
 Communists, neither of whom should be trusted by the
 traveler. Parliament's principal occupation is setting
 off atomic bombs in the south Pacific and acting
 indignant and surprised when other countries complain.
 According to the most current American state
 department intelligence, the President is now someone
 named Jacques. Further information is not available at this


 The French pride themselves on their culture, though
  it is not easy to see why. All their music sounds the
  same and they have never made a movie that you would
  want to watch for anything but the nude scenes.


 Let's face it, no matter how much garlic you put on
 it, a snail is just a slug with a shell on its back.
 Croissants on the other hand, are excellent, although it is
 impossible for most Americans to pronounce this word.
 In general, travelers are advised to stick to


 France has a large and diversified economy, second
 only to Germany's in Europe, which is surprising
 because the French hardly work at all. If they are not
 spending four hours dawdling over lunch, they are on
 strike and blocking the roads with their trucks and tractors.
 France's principal exports, in order of importance to
 the economy, are wine, nuclear weapons, perfume,
 guided missiles, champagne, guns, grenade launchers,
 land mines, tanks, attack aircraft, miscellaneous
 armaments and cheese.


France has more holidays than any other nation in theworld.
Among its 361 national holidays are: 197 Saints' days,
37 National Liberation Days, 16 Declaration of Republic Days,
54 Return of Charles de Gaulle intriumph as if he won the war single-handed Days, 18 Napoleon sent into Exile Days,
17 Napoleon Called Back from Exile Days,
and 2 "France is Great and the Res of the World Stinks" Days.


At least it's not Germany.

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