Now it would seem that Americans have improved their French. Or, at least are not afraid to let a few grammatical errors stand in the way of a great vacation experience.
Why go to France? Well the obvious answers would be scenic beauty, rich history, gourmet food and wine, perfume and fashion. All the classic attributes that create the justly renamed image of France.
But there is another reason. Less obvious; But no less real. And that is the Historical and linguistic relationship between France and the USA. Our original “French Connection” was not Popeye Doyle, but a French General named Lafayette. He came to our aid when we were fighting against the British. When Lafayette returned to France he did an amazing thing. He never sent a bill for his services. (Can you say: “Good Neighbor?”) His only physical legacy now is a city named after him in California.
The Statue of Liberty, the symbol of all things positive in the land of the brave and the home of the free was also, like the services of Lafayette, a gift from our French Cousins. Given to celebrate the connection and co-operation between the two countries during the American Revolution.
French Gifts much less obvious, are some of the words and phrase we use everyday. French words that have been adopted into our language. For example, Every American knows the phrase “Mardi Gras” describing an annual event in New Orleans.
Yet few know the literal meaning: “Fat Tuesday.” So, calling New Orleans “The Big Easy” is not really appropriate, is it? However, “The Big Fatty” is a descriptive phrase that only a city of unsuccessful weight watchers would want.
What do we call the Gentleman in the luxury Hotel who knows everything you could want to know about the City you're visiting? That would be the “Concierge” would it not?
These facts alone are not, of course, sufficient reason to visit France. But when you combine them with the Classic French Attractions, you've got a truly “win-win” situation.
1. Scenic Beauty. In an area smaller than California, France has a variety of landscapes, climates and topography unequaled by any other country in the World. (With the possible exception of New Zealand)
2. History. Napoleon. The Chateaux of the Loire. The cross-pollination of English and French Royalty. And the resulting plots, treachery and wars. The Rise and (orchestrated) fall of the Knights Templar. The rivalry between Catherine de Medici and Diane de Poitier. French History alone could occupy you for the rest of your life!
3. The Food. Not always “Gourmet.” But always Good. And almost always, especially in the country, “Fabrication Maison.” (Homemade)
4. The Wine. Plentiful. Varied. The variety being not just in the type of grapes, but in the price. Happily, you can buy a Liter of good wine in bulk for less than the price of a chain store espresso.
5. The Fashions and the Perfume. Two products France is renamed for. You'll find them everywhere. And for that reason prices will be extremely competitive.
Those are a few of the many reasons to visit France. But for me the biggest reason is the genuine warmth and hospitality of the French People. They're really interested in who you are, and why you're here. And will go more than the whole nine yards to make your French Holiday one you'll always treasure.