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Old 03-16-2007, 10:24 PM
 
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What frustrates me is that not nearly enough Americans understand that Europeans may not agree with our politics but they love our culture. Our media doesn't do a very good job explaining that...
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Old 03-16-2007, 10:36 PM
 
Location: Dayton OH
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Like many others that have already posted comments, I have not lived in France but visited several times. I also have positive impressions of just about everyplace I went there. Although Paris is a stellar place to visit, the smaller cities and towns scattered about France have an even greater appeal to me. For example Brittany in northwest France along the Atlantic coast is wonderful. Only a small number of non-French visitors go there, the most common visitors are from UK. Wonderful people, great food, great music and local customs, nice towns along the coast. Parisians flock there in summer because the nice breezes off the ocean are like natural air conditioning and much more comfortable in summer than along the french riviera. I spent several weeks in Le Crosic, near the beach resort of La Baule one year on vacation. Of course it helps to have some basic conversational french in your back pocket to get around France outside of the mega resort areas. Bon Voyage, Bon Chance!
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Old 03-16-2007, 11:50 PM
 
Location: In exile, plotting my coup
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I was there during the heat wave too. Due to my mode of travel in which I was backpacking and staying at various hostels, therefore I was sort of ignorant of world affairs for my months over there, I hadn't realize that the heat wave was as bad as it was. It wasn't until returning home and reading the news that I was hearing all of these stories about tens of thousands of people dead throughout Europe. It was pretty brutal, but truthfully, when I come home, it was around 90 degrees in Virginia with it's typical sticky humidity and it felt worse than it did when it was 105 and I was in Italy. One difference I found though was in the ability to escape the heat in the U.S. where every home and business is air-conditioned whereas that seems to be the exception as opposed to the norm in much of Europe. Not to mention, the bizarre lack of cold drinks and public water fountains over there.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crew Chief
What frustrates me is that not nearly enough Americans understand that Europeans may not agree with our politics but they love our culture. Our media doesn't do a very good job explaining that...
Not to get too political, but I feel like sadly, that's a trait (separating a people from their politics) that Americans as a whole aren't quite as good at as Europeans. It seems that more people in this country are willing to disparage an entire nation or group of people when they disagree with it's politics. I cringed the first time I saw "Freedom Fries" being sold.
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Old 03-17-2007, 02:33 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dullnboring View Post

Not to get too political, but I feel like sadly, that's a trait (separating a people from their politics) that Americans as a whole aren't quite as good at as Europeans. It seems that more people in this country are willing to disparage an entire nation or group of people when they disagree with it's politics. I cringed the first time I saw "Freedom Fries" being sold.
Well said!
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Old 03-20-2007, 01:23 PM
 
Location: Dunedin, FL
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I've been to France three times and spent one summer at a language school in Rouen. Have never experienced anything but kindness and helpfulness from all the French people whom I encountered, even when my French was minimal.

I love Paris, I love France, I love speaking French and I've studied French culture.

PM me if you have specific questions about traveling in France. I can give you some personal recommendations as well as books and websites.
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Old 03-20-2007, 01:56 PM
 
Location: Where the real happy cows reside!
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If you like antiques go to Metz. It's an awesome shopping experience even if you are just looking.
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Old 03-20-2007, 07:22 PM
 
Location: Springfield, Missouri
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crew Chief View Post
What frustrates me is that not nearly enough Americans understand that Europeans may not agree with our politics but they love our culture. Our media doesn't do a very good job explaining that...
You know, I think a lot of the misunderstanding between Americans and Europeans at times has to do with culture.
I used to be so impressed by what I thought were sophisticated Europeans who seemed to have such strong opinions they just put on the line and no niceties were offered.
I thought they knew what they were talking about because they "seem" so self-assured (not so much a British trait, but a continental European trait I've come to see).
I remember being in a German high school/Gymnasium right when Reagan was putting the missiles into Europe and there was such strong opposition against the ruling CDU party, etc., and I remember trying to defend the policy using what facts I could and getting just attacked and slaughtered by these self-assured Germans who assured me I was absolutely wrong and lacking knowledge, etc. It was an eye-opening. I thought...well...maybe I'm wrong!
Then I began to notice that many Europeans will put style over substance on issues and state their "opinions" strongly...but then I noticed they parrot each other. They don't often speak for themselves, they follow the "party" popular line.
I noticed it over and over throughout the years and came to realize they know often less than Americans, but they depend on an aggressive style to flatten their opponents. If you can see past the style defense/offense, you often will find that when pinned down, they don't know the facts and can't reference them.
It was an eye-opener!! Since then Europeans don't impress me much at all as far as intellect, but I still love Europe, Europeans, and France!!! Just don't put them on intellectual pedestals because most of them stand no higher than you do.
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Old 03-21-2007, 08:38 AM
 
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Excellent post, Momark! I think I'll have to agree with you. And I also believe that the Germans, French and other Europeans are also just like us in that there are the same classes and levels of understanding there as there are here. i.e. many of the people of the Eifel region in Germany are like many of the rural folks in our country. Bavarians are a lot like Texans; independent and free-spirited. City-dwellers tend to be more worldly... (I know generalizations aren't very good on either side of the Atlantic) I also see the same "generation gap" there as here. Older Germans who went through war have a far better understanding of the world situatuation, while the younger ones, who only know the "Wirtchaftswunderzeit" and now want for nothing tend to be a lot like our youth in America; somewhat less interested in politics and geography...
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Old 03-21-2007, 09:56 AM
 
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Hey, I am from France (currently living in CAEN). If you need any infos or anything I'll be happy to help.
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Old 03-24-2007, 11:09 AM
 
2,156 posts, read 11,120,183 times
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Originally Posted by MoMark View Post
If you go to Paris and are on a budget and don't care about hotels much as long as they have a bed, shower, and a morning breakfast, then I recommend the Armstrong Hotel at 36 Rue Croix Saint Simon, in the Porte de Montreuil area on the outskirts of the City of Paris proper. It looks to be in a slightly rougher area and there are government housing projects in the neighborhood and lots of Africans in native dress and Arabs. The good thing and why I chose it was that it cost me $49/night (the dollar was much higher in Aug. 03), had a buffet style morning breakfast of croissants, jam, coffee, cereal, etc., and was a short walk to the Metro. Buy a pass for the number of days you'll be in Paris and use the subway to get around. For me it was easy to get into St. Michel and St. Germain easily by Metro, then when I was tired, had shopped and looked around enough for the day, I'd get back into the Metro and get on a train with the end station being Porte de Montreuil. The Galleries Lafayette are also a great place to shop near the Opera House.
It's more expensive for Americans right now and the prices reflect that. But if you want to go, there are cheaper options and you can make it work.
I love Paris
MoMark
you are a courageous traveler. I don't think I'd stay in Porte de Montreuil.
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