…does differ quite a bit from British behaviour. Sometimes shockingly so.
In the five years I had been living in Paris, I had never been to Rock en Seine. Have a look at the ticket prices and you know why…
Still, being a journalist I have to be able to say “I was there – at least once!”. That’s why this year, I managed to grab a last minute three-day pass for the festival.
I met my friend Jen and her colleague Will by the end of day one at the event’s biggest stage – just in time for the Foo Fighters‘ concert. An amazing show.
But apart from Dave‘s very energetic and impressive singing, dancing, shouting, and spitting, our attention was captured by another, somewhat smaller spectacle: a French froggy was about to relieve himself against the bamboo fence right next to the stage. The security guy only just prevented him from doing so.
“If that had been a Brit, he would have blushed, lowered his head and uttered ‘Oh, my God. I am so sorry – I shouldn’t have done that and I am reeeeally embarassed now – please forgive me!’ “, Will pointed out.
Well, he wasn’t British.
So instead of ducking out of sight, Mr Pee started to argue: “Oh là là, can’t one even have a pee in this country…?”, he said adding that this was a matter of utter urgency. After five minutes of heavy discussion with Big Brother, the Frenchie finally dropped his project and strolled away.
A couple of days later, I came across my colleague Elena, who had just arrived in the beautiful city of Paris. She told me of another, very French encounter:
“I was cycling home at night, when I happened to run a red light. Unfortunately, I was watched by two policemen, who then made me stop and show my passport. One of them was holding the document in his hand, looked at it, looked at me, and then back at the passport. After some time of consideration, he finally asked: ‘What are you up to tonight? Would you have dinner with my brother?’ ”
Something unlikely to happen in Britain I understand. And Elena was anything but pleased…