<courtesy of Nada>
For people not attending the World Cup
"The following advisory for American travelers heading for France
was compiled from information provided by the US State Department,
the Central Intelligence Agency, the US Chamber of Commerce, the
Food and Drug Administration, the Centres for Disease Control, and
some very expensive spy satellites that the French don't know about.
It is intended as a guide for American travelers only.
No guarantee of accuracy is ensured or intended.
General overview: 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 consequence 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 to get
decent Mexican food. One continuing exasperation for American
visitors is that the people willfully persist in speaking French,
though many will speak English if shouted at. As in any foreign
country, watch your change at all times.
The People: France has a population of 54 million people, most of
whom drink and smoke a great deal, drive like lunatics, are
dangerously oversexed, and have no concept of standing patiently in
line. The French people are in general gloomy, temperamental, proud,
arrogant, aloof, and undisciplined; and those are their good points.
Most French citizens are Roman Catholic, though you would hardly
guess it from their behavior. Many people are communists, and
topless sunbathing is common. Men sometimes have girls' names like
Marie, and they kiss each other when they hand out medals.
American travelers are advised to travel in groups and to wear
baseball caps and colorful trousers for easier mutual recognition.
Safety: In general, France is a safe destination, though travelers
are advised that, from time to time, it is invaded by Germany. By
tradition, the French surrender more or less at once and, apart from
a temporary shortage of Scotch whisky and increased difficulty in
getting baseball scores and stock market prices, life for the 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 Government to
flee to London.
History: 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. Government: The French form of
government is democratic but noisy.
Elections are held more or less continuously, and always result in a
run-off. For administrative purposes, the country is divided into
regions, departments, districts' municipalities, cantons, communes,
villages, cafes, booths and floor tiles. Parliament consists of two
chambers, the Upper and Lower (though, confusingly, they are both on
the ground floor), whose members are either Gaullists or communists,
neither of whom is to be trusted, frankly. Parliament's principal
preoccupations are setting off atomic bombs in the South Pacific, and
acting indignant when anyone complains. According to the most current
State Department intelligence, the President now is someone named
Jacques. Further information is not available at this time.
Culture: The French pride themselves on their culture, though it is
not easy to see why. All their songs sound the same, and they have
hardly ever made a movie that you would want to watch for anything
but the nude scenes. And nothing, of course, is more boring than a
French novel (except, perhaps, an evening with a French family -ha!
Cuisine: 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, though it is impossible for most Americans
to pronounce this word. In general, travelers are advised to stick
to cheeseburgers at leading hotels such as Sheraton and Holiday Inn.
Economy: France has a large and diversified economy, second only to
Germany's in Europe, which is surprising because people hardly work
at all. If they are not spending four hours dawdling over lunch, they
are on strike and blocking the roads with their lorries and tractors.
France's principal exports, in order of importance to the economy,
are wine, nuclear weapons, perfume, guided missiles, champagne,
high-calibre weaponry, grenade launchers, landmines, tanks, attack
aircraft, miscellaneous armaments and cheese.
Public holidays: France has more holidays than any other nation in
the world. Among its 361 national holidays are 197 saints' days, 37
National Liberation Days, 16 Declaration of Republic Days, 54 Return
of Charles de Gaulle in Triumph as if he Won the War Single-Handed
Days, 18 Napoleon Sent into Exile Days, 17 Napoleon Called Back from
Exile Days, and 112 France is Great and the Rest of the World is
Rubbish Days. Other important holidays are National Nuclear Bomb Day
January 12), the Feast of St Brigitte Bardot Day (March 1), and
National Guillotine Day (November 12).
Conclusion: France enjoys a rich history, a picturesque and varied
landscape, and a temperate climate. In short, it would be a very nice
country if it weren't inhabited by French people. The best thing that
can be said for it is that it is not Germany.
A word of warning: The consular services of the United States
government are intended solely for the promotion of the interests of
American businesses such as McDonald's, Pizza Hut and the Coca-Cola
Corporation. In the event that you are the victim of a crime or
serious injury involving at least the loss of a limb, report to the
American Embassy between the hours of 5.l5 am and 5.20 am on a
Tuesday or Wednesday, and a consular official who is supremely
indifferent to your plight will give you a list of qualified dentists
or something similarly useless.
Remember, no one ordered you to go abroad. Personally, we always take
our holidays at Miami Beach, and you are advised to as well. Thank
you and good luck."