September 11, 2006

The Student Travel Association’s Guide to France, Part Trois

In this last portion of our informative and edifying guide to the French, we will be examining common French etiquette and some specific customs. Though French behavior may seem “backwards,” or “unspeakably immoral” to you, remember: you are a guest in their country, and they can and will murder you if you fail to blend in. As they say, when in Rome, do as the Romans do! Though this axiom was not meant to specifically refer to pederasty, if you’re visiting France, it’s probably a good time to get comfortable with the idea. Finally, we will provide a handy guide of places to visit and things to do which no traveler should be without. From the Eiffel Tower to the Louvre Museum, we provide you with the little-known and near-secret destinations that only French locals know about!

Customs and Etiquette

The French can smell an American traveler like dogs smell fear. Their highly sensitive and oversized noses will pick you out of a crowd in no time flat unless you are able to “mask your scent” by adopting some of these uniquely French habits.


Much like a Federal Prison, most French trade is accomplished through the barter of cigarettes. Make sure you have a spare carton or eight on you at all times, as well as a lighter, if you want to blend in. If you really want to “party like the locals,” be prepared to smoke many cigarettes at once, sometimes from several orifices. Try to practice smoking between bites of food, before and during sex, and occasionally while swimming. Those unused to inhaling great amounts of nicotine may want to begin a smoking regimen prior to their trip, so as to build up the proper tolerance and develop an authentic phlegmy, hacking cough. And remember: the obscuring cloud of nicotine smoke that surrounds most French is a natural defense mechanism, so don’t be surprised if a startled local puffs smoke at you and sprints off, trailing ash behind him.

Expose Your Breasts

Unfettered by our own stifling cultural taboos, the French expect their women to have breasts exposed at all times. A failure to do so can lead to suspicion and doubt, as most French consider a woman who covers her breasts to be “hiding something.” This national paranoia probably dates back to the 1800’s, when it was common practice for a French woman to smuggle deadly vipers in her bosom, for hygienic purposes. If you are too modest or uptight to let the girls out, make sure to emphatically warn anyone near your breasts that there are no deadly vipers nestled between them.

Use a Bidet

Bidet toilettes were invented in France and, despite several bidet-related hemorrhages each year, are still popular there. These devices clean the user with powerful jets of water, rather than the US-traditional method of simply not cleaning at all. A little uncomfortable at first, most Americans ultimately find that the bidet is a rewarding and refreshing experience, akin to having your droppings whisked away by gently caressing clouds, or, depending on the caliber of the particular toilet, to being anally searched by a prison guard. However pleasant you find the bidet experience, however, be careful not to overuse them, or you risk being outed as a tourist due to the tell-tale splotch of wetness on the back of your pants. If confronted, merely remark that you have wet yourself, which in France is a common and completely acceptable occurrence.

Linger on a Rain-Drenched Street Corner, Mourning for a Lost Love and Peering Blackly From Beneath a Wide-Brimmed Hat, the Smoldering Remains of a Cigarette Held Loosely in One Hand, Dying, Dying in the Wetness of the Parisian Twilight

Fairly self-explanatory. Weeping is encouraged, but only if it can be done bitterly, and not in a way that makes you look like a pussy. The French hate pussies.

Things to do in France Traveler’s Checklist

Give yourself a point for each activity on this list you are able to accomplish while abroad. Snag those bonuses to finally prove that you are inherently superior to those around you!

__Marvel at memorabilia from the live-action Flintstones movie at Planet Hollywood, Paris
Bonus: Stare up at the nude model of Sylvester Stallone from The Demolition Man, compare your package to Sly’s

__Purchase a genuine French baguette at a Patisserie
Bonus: See how far you can fit it down your throat without gagging

__Confront your own mortality at the Paris catacombs, an enormous underground labyrinth of unsecured human skeletons
Bonus: Defile something

__Locate and get the autograph of French film legend Gerard Depardieu
Bonus: Locate all eight of the robotic Depardieu that the French government have built to wander the streets of Paris and entertain tourists

__Grab a bite to eat at the Louvre Museum Cafeteria, home of the all-you-can-eat salad and cheese bar
Bonus: Visit the world’s largest museum gift shop, directly adjacent to the cafeteria

__Get fleeced by a filthy gypsy
Bonus: Demand your money back and receive a terrifying curse in return

__Enjoy a bottle of French wine
Bonus: Enjoy six

__Experience the thrill of the Lion King stage show at EuroDisneyland
Bonus: Enjoy a Frosted Lemonade, one of France’s most exotic iced beverages

__See the Mona Lisa, world’s most famous painting, and the Venus De Milo, world’s most famous sculpture
Bonus: Act like you’re not disappointed

__Ride the Paris Metro all night, meeting interesting people and getting into adventures
Bonus: Survive

__Try the Europe-only KFC Chicken Tower, a chicken sandwich with a deep-fried potato patty on top
Bonus: Smuggle a dozen of them back into the US, and contact the webmaster of this site for shipping information


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