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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