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  • Writer's pictureCoco

America in France : Good or Bad ?

Updated: May 24, 2018

I know the French have lost the beret, although the cliché remains, and probably for ever will.

The young people of France and Europe in general have always looked up to America.

When I was growing up in France, we, kids, wanted to go to America. We loved American music, American movies, American fashion. I remember when the 501 jeans came out. It was a revolution.

It seems that every time I go back to France, I see some major changes, and most of them, I must say, good or bad, are influenced by America.

America is everywhere in France and in the French way of life, even in the language. So many English words have infiltrated the French language. Cool, speech, design, fun, geek, prime time, casting, best seller, thriller, scoop, buzz, spam, and so many more words… They all speak “Frenglish” over there, to the great sadness of the French Academy, a high council officially founded in 1635 whose main purpose is to defend the purity of the French language. I do not envy their job! They must feel like the salmon going upstream. The salmon reaches its destination and its goal. I am not sure that the French Academy will succeed…

I remember being in Paris, and everybody was walking and talking on the phone. The cellular phone had arrived, and it transformed the streets of Paris. It was the “new thing”, and you had to be on the phone to look fashionable.

Last time I went to France, burgers had assaulted la carte (the menu). It was spring in Paris. People were eating outside, and more than half of them were eating … burgers.

Some of those burgers were a bit fancy and gourmet, I must say, with fresh peaches and mint, but most of them were loaded with beef, bacon, ham, with a béarnaise sauce, a curry sauce, a tartar sauce, and onions cooked in oil or butter – We, French people, do not eat them raw. We think they are indigestible if eaten raw.

This is to say that the burger concept with the large buns loaded with hundreds of calories and served with French fries on the side has conquered.

If it comes from America, it is not just a trend. It is an obsession. It is like a storm that pushes its way through, and the effects of the storm scatter everywhere.

Is it good or bad? We may agree or disagree on that. Intercultural exchanges can be very positive. After all, don’t we, here in America, love all the choices of Thai, Japanese, Greek, or Mexican food? Why couldn’t the French enjoy American food? True!

The fear is not about American food. Rather, it is about the American portion making its way there. The food is not as bad as the size of the serving. And I am not foreseeing that mini burgers will be an option any time soon. What I do foresee though is a major health crisis… And the myth that French people stay thin might be compromised sooner than we think… Time will tell.

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