“Parlez vous Francais?”

“That One Chick” #7

When I was sixteen our family took a trip to Scotland, England and France to pick up my brother from his mission in London. We didn’t spend much time–a day actually–in France because, well, I don’t know why…poor planning perhaps. At any rate, we had jet lag so badly that when we took a tour bus to the Eiffel Tower, we opted to stay on the bus and sleep instead of going out and seeing the thing. I’ve regretted that a few times in my life.

We ate at a French restaurant–well, of course we did since that’s what every restaurant would be…in France. But this one had a really crabby waiter who didn’t like Americans–at all. I asked for a drink of water and he smacked the menu and said, “Where you see water on this menu?” It scared the heck out of me and I got a stomachache. I wasn’t hungry anymore so I didn’t order any food. That made him really mad and he started yelling a bunch of stuff in French. My dad finally just said, “Let’s get out of here.” So we left. Which probably made him even madder…if that’s possible.

I’d like to go back there someday and try that whole thing again…well, differently. I’ll try to behave myself…

and not ask for water.


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17 Replies to ““Parlez vous Francais?””

  1. How scary, how sad. It is amazing as we grow older how we look back on missed opportunities and wish that we had appreciated certain circumstances and opportunities more. I was an exchange student to Cyprus in high school and I wish that I had had the knowledge then to have a bit more wisdom and take advantage of a few more opportunities while I was there. I was just thinking this past week how I would love to go back there, reunite with my host family and enjoy the country more. Maybe someday.

  2. Yeah–see that would totally work because when they were there, for some reason everyone thought THEY were French.

    Bet they could get a glass of water.

  3. Yeah, I’m pretty convinced that most exotic trips are really wasted on youngsters. There are so many places I’ve been and completely missed the whole country.


  4. I was lucky I was 45 when I got to go to Paris. I was worried about the French hating Americans. But I did not run into one French person who was mean or anything other than hospitable. Maybe it was because our tour guide told us to say Bonjour to everyone first. But I’m sure if I had your experience, I would have run out crying. And you should have gone up the Eiffel Tower. Fabulous!!! But I understand the jet lag part.

    I so want to go back to Paris. I would take more photos & shop more.

  5. There have been times when I regretted not going with the girls to France… but I’ll get there someday! πŸ™‚

    I bet you could order water now… it’s the in thing to do! πŸ˜‰ It’ll probably be carbonated though! πŸ˜›

  6. I bet you got back home and went to Kaelins market and got some baby food and cheetos and all was right with your world!! LOL- I remember walking up there for those a lot!

  7. Oh, oh, can I come with you next time? Jonathan and I are planning a big trip to Europe when our oldest child graduates… or something like that!

  8. Yeah, just make sure it’s not “bubbled water” when you ask for it now. They are really into the carbonated kind over there. And as long as I tried to speak their language–even if it is to ask them to speak English–they always treated me really well. Don’t know what the difference is… I love France though!

  9. You got some good advice about attempting to speak the language. But we didn’t know and all we’d heard was that you’ll be fine because everyone knows English. What we didn’t realize is that it is considered rude to just assume they will speak to you in your own tongue.

    April and Jillian went when they were teenagers and were received beautifully because they made an effort to speak French. Didn’t hurt that they were quite pretty too.

  10. Well the guy was mad because none of us ordered wine. He said, “Why you would come to Paris and not drink our wine?”


  11. Wow, I haven’t heard that name in a lonnng time. But you’re right. I’m certain the Cheetos were involved in the healing process somehow.


  12. Yeah, we toured England after we picked up Andy. Then to Scotland to see family. We didn’t really do France justice though.

  13. oh man. i am regretting that you didn’t get out and see it too. i want to go there one day. apparently i need to find someone to translate their culture though, so i don’t make such silly mistakes such as ordering water! sheesh launi! what were you thinking?! πŸ™‚

  14. Well, apparently all you need to do these days is say, “Bonjour…” first and then they behave like civilized people.


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