The French resistance to the creeping Anglicisation of their culture is nothing new.
The rather helpless language police at the Académie Française have long fought against the invasion of English words, the ministry of culture has tried to hold back wave after wave of English or American music and trade unions have staunchly resisted any kind labour reform that appears too “Anglo-Saxon”.
Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo is desperately trying to resist the New York-style shopping culture that sees stores open all day and all night and even Sundays, which has somehow survived in France as a day of rest, despite the country's secular principles.
While many critics dismiss her as foolish for being resistant to reform especially at a time when France could do with creating a few jobs, many others including The Local admire her for closing her ears to the ringing of cash registers and doing her little bit to protect Paris from falling victim to rampant consumerism, as one supportive reader said this week.
Hidalgo has long championed the fact that Paris’s charm and unique selling point compared to rivals like London and New York is that you can’t just shop till you drop 24/7. On Sunday you simply have to think of something else to do. All this of course helps the small independent stores, who thankfully still get a look in in Paris, just about.
Granted it takes a bit of getting used to when you first get here.
But if you are organised, develop a detailed plan and do your homework on which shops are open on a Sunday (there are thousands of them) then you should survive the weekend unscathed
Hidalgo’s stance brings up the question of what other Anglo customs and cultures that are sneaking into the French way of life should Paris and indeed the rest of France be doing its best to resist for the sake of “Vive la Difference”.
Here’s a few we’ve picked out, but what else would add?
Le doggy bag:
For a long time the idea of taking slops in a box back home would have disgusted the French. But now le Doggy Bag – a common practice in the United States when diners can’t finish their mammoth portions – is creeping over the Pond.
Two French entrepreneurs have even developed their 100 percent recyclable doggy bag with the caption “Trop bon Pour Gaspiller” – (Too good to waste).
Instead of that, how about we just stick to normal sized meals and nothing goes to waste.
Lunch at the desk
The cliché that all French workers enjoy a two hour lunch break at the local brasserie, still pervades. But sadly the reality is that more and more are opting for a sandwich at the desk, which has been the norm in the UK, for centuries.
But it’s time France gave life back to the old cliché and forced staff to dine out at lunch.
Unrealistically friendly staff
There’s a new campaign in France to force locals to be more polite to foreign visitors and while not many would argue that it wasn’t a good idea, given the reputation of Paris waiters, we could be in danger of going too far.
For a start the reputation is overblown.
Most shop staff are polite if a little standoffish and experiencing the odd grumpy waiter is always an experience.
We don’t want to end up with shop staff who are forced to ask “How was your day sir?” or “Enjoying life are we today”?
Of course that sounds mighty miserable but I just want supermarket staff to scan my tomatoes rather than be forced by their bosses to engage in the kind of forced small talk prevalent back in the UK.
Hangovers, liver damage, doing silly (or worse) things you really regret the next day, and vomit on the street – there is no shortage of reasons why binge-drinking is an “anglo-saxon”pastime that should be discouraged among the French.
So would you add anything else to the list or are you more of the opinion that this is a load of tosh and France needs desperately to change?