These days, politics, and the growing suspicion both here and in Gaul that Jacques Chirac is a giant weasel disguised as a human being, have soured things a bit.
Anyway, I know a few Frenchmen myself, and they are very nice, considerate, and thoughtful persons, whose company I enjoy...even if one of them runs circles around me on the football pitch. Which reminds me to add that I am also an Arsenal supporter who thinks Thierry Henry, Patrick Viera, and Robert Pires, not to mention the mercurial Arsene are fabulous. (Stew's a Spurs guy...nobody's perfect.)
The following article is not reflective of them, but of a recent mindset here in the States. It's from 2003 as well. Enjoy.
Introduction to “An American’s Guide to France” (Revised)
(Editor’s note: I’ve added some changes to reflect the current political situation. We don’t want to end up like the friggin’ Dixie Chicks. Please note the *edits* and [additions].)
*Ah,* France*!* […] Land of *romance* [adultery], *passion, fine* [a moderately regarded] cuisine, and *the *arts! What American traveler hasn’t always wanted to *visit* [avoid] the land of *Lafayette and DeGaulle* [Robespierre]? What *vacationer* [simpleton] hasn’t longed to view the *majestic* peaks of the French Alps [albeit second-rate when compared to the Rockies], the grand and *inviting* [topless] shores of the Riviera[, even if Monaco is the finest part], the lush[es] *vineyards*, and the *illuminated* [tobacco clouded] and *illuminating* [incessantly rude to the point of boorishness] streets of her capital, Paris?
In this edition, we’ll help you *get ready for* [endure] what will surely be *the journey of* a lifetime[‘s regret]. We’ll tell you how to make the necessary preparations so that your trip will be a *pleasant and *swift one, but also one in which you’ll be able to sample from a variety of all that this wonderful *Gallic* [Garlic] nation and her [un]pleasant and *friendly* [hairy] citizens have to offer [in the unlikely event you should care to do so].
From booking your flights with the *major and* minor air carriers [such as Air Saddam] that all have routes to France, to choosing from hundreds of *sumptuously regal* [obtusely maleficent] hotels and restaurants that regularly *earn the highest world rankings* [feature rude and condescending waiters Ed. Note – this one was actually supposed to be in the original version], to visiting *all* [one] of the most famous museums and historical landmarks renowned across the globe, we’ll *guide* [warn] you every step of the way.
This guide is also carefully designed to help you avoid any [of the normal] difficulties that you *may* [would otherwise] encounter due to the differences between France and the U. S. We cover key travel and customs regulations [including how to gain easy visas by using Iraqi surnames], as well as driving laws and regulations [as if there were any]. We’ll also help you get the most out of *currency exchange and* the use of credit […always use credit as the Euro and all it stands for are completely unreliable].
This guide also contains the best *times of the year and* day for visiting the most popular French attraction*s such as the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Louvre’* [ EuroDisney]. We’ll also give you the run down on how to see *the best* [some] shows and get into *the best* [some] eateries.
France is a *beautiful* country, with a long *and colorful* history. The Romans invaded France [(being the first of many)] before the birth of Christ and since then France has had many *rulers* [despots], both beloved (*Charlemagne, Louis XIV, De Gaulle* [Napoleon]) and infamous (*Napoleon*, [Chirac]). The events of French history themselves are as memorable and numerous as her leaders. Who can forget *landmark* [telltale] moments such as the storming of the *Bastille* [Maginot Line] or such battlefields as *Orleans, Reims, etc…* [Agincourt, Waterloo, etc…] Almost every village has markers that are [grim] reminders of episodes from this *storied*past.
The nation’s history *is* also *underscored by the wealth of geniuses from every realm of* [includes] the arts*: painting (Monet, Van Gogh), music (Bizet, Berlioz), sculpture (Rodin), and film (Trauffaut, Renoir) *. The arts are on display year round. The Cannes Film Festival, for example, attracts [left-wing, unpatriotic] actors, directors, and great [foreign] films from around the world to the [did we mention topless] French Riviera culminating in the awarding of the Palme D’Or. The Paris Opera House hosts a variety of *classical and cutting edge works* [ghouls – see Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical], and the Georges Pompidou Center not only houses radically new works of modern art but has been called one itself [but modern art is crap as we all know. I mean come on, who really gets Kandinsky and Pollack anyway, and Warhol is just a big drug-addled fraud. Ed. Note - OK I may have gone overboard a bit here… I’ll shorten it in the last rewrite]!
*Great c* [C]ooking *reached its culmination* [can be found] here as well with the development of famous dishes like *Chicken Cordon Bleu, Beef Bourguignon, and Coq au Vin* [snails in butter]. France can lay claim to countless of the world’s great foodstuffs, including *Roquefort, Brie, and Camembert cheeses, Hollandaise and Béarnaise sauces, baguettes, and the croissant* [freedom fries]. In addition to foods, the French have the world’s [second] most famous wine tradition in the world [behind California]. Champagne not only refers to a wine made in France, but the region it comes from! [?]
France also has many *notable* sporting events to attend each year [but not the Super Bowl of course]. [Because they apparently can’t grow a decent patch of grass, t] *T*he clay courts of the French Open attract *the world’s best* tennis players, while the entire nation plays host to the *premier* [only] cycling event in the world, the Tour De France[, also known as the Lance Armstrong Invitational]. For the sportsman who prefers to be a participant instead of a spectator France has numerous quality golf courses[, for the continent at least,] and tennis facilities, plenty of recreational water sports[, such as water polo and diving for cheese], and traditional pastimes such as fencing for the adventurous [traveler who enjoys body piercing].
There’s [some] shopping to be found in France as well, with a[n] * dazzling* array of *unique* shops and markets where you can find *the finest of * [some] *goods and* souvenirs. Paris is also the world capital for fashion [and backstabbing, self-profligating diplomacy] as well and one can hardly *walk* [run] down a street there without passing a boutique [or call girl] that sports the latest [ridiculously overrated] styles and the most famous designers[, with the notable exception of Mr. Levi].
What guide would be complete without mentioning the romantic lure France, and in particular Paris, has held for *lovers* [fornicators] throughout the generations. From the *brilliant* [blinding] evening lights of the Champs Elysees to *cozy* [overcrowded] sidewalk cafes, couples can find a place to *wander, to embrace, to kiss* [fornicate], and to feel *together and somehow alone in* [watched by] a city of millions.
Yes, we know that you’ve picked up this guide to *experience all that and more, and so* [burn it in disgust, but] we’ve tried to pack as much information *and more* inside as you could ever possibly *hope for* [need, in the hopes that you will take out your frustration on the guides to Belgium and Germany]. We hope that after reading through our guide carefully [and not burning it] that you will be able to have the trip that you have dreamed of, a magical adventure in a country of love, passion, class, and adventure [that is the United Kingdom]. * Ah, * France*!* […]*Enjoy her many treasures! * [You could do worse!]