Appreciating the Modern France During Your Vacation
The French are concerned about their position in the international arena. Just like the rest of the world, the global economic crisis hobbles France, which is why they are struggling to protect their language, their institution, and their precious lifestyle, above all. However, the French remain to be optimistic and positive about the future. Despite all the crisis, there is an abundance of good news.
With the world renowned Louvre Museum, the great Eiffel Tower, and various other attractive destinations, the tourism industry in France is thriving. And the country is among some of the most favourite tourist destinations of the world. France hosts above eighty million tourists every year. The French lead in the fields of technology and science, are the leading producers of lavish goods in the world, and fashion is their birth-right.
Life is beautiful?
Le Parisien, the French paper, initiated a poll by the name of ‘Life is Beautiful?’ which confirmed that the nation is a bunch of grumpy people who continue to get grumpier. France has been found to be the world’s most pessimistic region, according to the BVA-Gallup poll. With a homeland that people dream of visiting, a diversity of landscapes, an incomparable history of art, a lavish lifestyle, and a delectable cuisine, what could be the reason of the French pessimism?
The reason why the French are so grumpy seems to be that what they consider their birth-right is in danger. Between a plethora of scandals in the political arena, a downgrade in S&P credit, high unemployment, rising of the retirement age to 62, and a great number of the population below the line of poverty i.e. 13.5%, it seems justifiable that their healthy scepticism has transformed into negativity and pessimism.
The French were very disappointed by President’s Sarkozy’s cruise on his friend’s yacht right after the election, because of which he was titled President Bling-Bling. In a country that considers the discussion of one’s salary gauche, openly showing off one’s privilege flouts egalite (or equality, which is a basic value of the French. The global economic crisis and the crumbling of the social pact of France have underscored the fact that the rich are not bearing their share of the economic and social burden.
Francoise Hollande, leader of the Socialist Party, took complete advantage of this anger that grew among the masses, and used a slogan of ‘it’s their crisis,’ which referred to the rich. He participated in the election of 2012 by promising to levy an income tax of 75% on people who were earning more than one million euros. Apparently, his technique worked and in May of 2012, he became the first socialist president of the country in more than 15 years. Francois Hollande has been nicknamed ‘Flanby,’ which is a kind of French pudding. However, he has shown resolve, consistency, and serenity, which was lacking greatly in the hyperactive regime of Sarkozy. With the 2nd largest economy of Europe, and promises to change the unpopular austere measures taken by the former president, Hollande has a great task in front of him.
The French feminists finally got satisfied after the government enforced a law which states that the honorific term ‘mademoiselle’ be removed from official forms, and ‘madame’ be used instead, regardless of their marital status.
Despite being a European country, there is an inequality between the two genders, because of which it is on 46th position on the Global Pay Gap Survey of the World Economic Forums – much behind Germany, Kazakhstan and Britain. The men earn 12%-20% higher wages than women. France has just a few females in legislature – another aspect in which the country is lagging behind as compared to other nations.
The American consider the French their role models – whether it is learning to tie a scarf the French way or taming a kid, the French serve as the pillars of knowledge and wisdom for the American world. American women living in Paris have recently published books on bringing up children: Pamela Druckerman’sBringing up Bebe, and Karen Le Billon’s French Kids Eat Everything. These publications laud the savoir faire of the French when it comes to bringing up disciplined, well-behaved, and healthy children. No television during dinner, and no snacks between meals are notions of common sense that are followed the world over; they are not restricted to any one culture; but, the French seem to know when to treat children like intelligent beings who are capable of grasping the concepts of good taste and conviviality, and when to treat them like they are children. According to Karen Le Billon, it is this intelligence which distinguishes the French from their counterparts in America who are considered savage.
The French parents do not need to get enraged and scream at their children, as one stern look seems to do the job. This is because of their disciplinary skills, which seem to be superior to other parents in the world. They do not give in to their children’s whining, and deny immediate gratification. Both books are based on the idea of not gratifying a child’s demands immediately. Both authors have said that the French children eat their organ meats and veggies, respect the limits set by their parents, and display an appreciable self-control. If you want to know the secrets of parenting, then maybe it is worth spending $24.95 on these amazing books.
Certain steps have been taken by the city of Paris to mitigate the pollution, congestion, and noise caused by the automobile traffic. After completing its test run, the fully electric, four-seat Bluecar is available at five hundred stations all around Paris.
The bicycle exchange of Velib boasts above twenty thousand bicycles, which continues to grow. The Autolib’ program is based on Velib’s successful exchange, and from any one of the metal and glass stations, it takes cars to any point in the city, as well as 56 other destinations in the suburbs. After the reasonable rate of subscription, each ride costs 4-8 euros, and is paid in 30 minute increments.
Goodbye George Whitman
Shakespeare & Company, a legendary bookstore on the Left Bank that sells English books, was owned by George Whitman whose death marked an era’s end. For more than half a century, the generous George Whitman looked over the shop every day, which was dishevelled. Readings from excellent writers such as Henry Miller, William Burroughs, Lawrence Durrell, and Samuel Becket were hosted by this bookstore. The bookstore continues to go on under Sylvia Beach Whitman, his daughter. Shakespeare & Company was home to a group of youngsters, in tens of thousands that visited the shop not only to bask in literature, but also to clean, staff, and maintain the shop.