January 30, 2007

No manners, we're British

No manners, we're British

Of course I don't want to compare my very young career as a blogger with that of Charles Bremner, the Paris correspondent for The Times. But regarding his posting on the British behaviour in France, well, I totally agree. And it's not just the British... Did I mention I live in Ireland? Anyway, below the first couple of lines from Charles Bremner's posting:

Since we have been having fun with rude Parisians, it might be a good moment to lament a new menace in our midst: the loud Brit. I wonder if others are struck as I am by the uncouth behaviour of many British visitors to France and the rest of the continent. I am not just talking about Little England characters or young football supporters who get plastered before their Eurostar train has left Kent. The offenders are from the comfortable classes, though they tend to be on the younger side, under about 45.

If you like to read the entire story, and the numerous interesting comments, please click here.

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January 17, 2007

Has Paris changed?

Has Paris changed? Yes, I do think so. Apart from the obvious new tram lines, the bicycle lanes, the widened footpads and the road works that have made a lot of streets safer to cross, I also think that the people in the city have changed. Where the infrastructural changes are nice, the real change for me lay in the mentality of the people I met. Whether it was on the street, in bars or restaurants, everybody was so friendly.

Traditionally the French, and especially the Parisians, are considered to be a grumpy and arrogant bunch. Let me say that this has never been my opinion: I've always liked France and the French. Never have I been able to tell those gruesome stories many of my Dutch compatriots can tell you. Over the years, my personal experiences have been positive. Perhaps because I speak the language? The number of tourists that expect the French to understand commandos in an incorrect and heavily accented English, is just too big. Anyway, despite the fact that I appear to be one of those old fashioned Francophiles who just loves everything about France, I still think the Parisians have changed.

I couldn't happen to see more smiling faces on the street, to see girls dressed according to the latest fashion (yes, the vestimentary 80's and 90's are over!), to interact more with the people on the street and to experience friendly, relaxed and funny personnel in bars and restaurants. Paris seems to be more open, more relaxed, more self-assured. And cleaner, that too.

Perhaps it's because I've changed too. Compared to the two years when I lived in Paris as a student, I’ve changed myself as well. People do react differently to a young professional in his late twenties than to someone who has the look and feel of a student all over him. But this doesn’t alter my firm belief that Paris is even better and more beautiful than before. Or is this just the heart of a romantic Francophile speaking?

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January 16, 2007

The idea of Bas' Bazaar

So this is my blog, with my first ever posting. The idea is that over time a true bazaar of interest will come to life, with postings in several languages on numerous topics from my friends and myself.

When meeting up with two friends in Paris recently, I decided that it would be nice to share our thoughts and ideas with more people. As young professionals having Master's degrees (History and Political Science) and working in Brussels, Dublin and all over the place thanks to a scholarship of the Italian government, we like to think our opinion matters. It sounds awfully ambitious and pretentious to publish these thoughts - I agree. But hey, if nobody is interested, we at least have some fun in the process of creating this blog ourselves. And since we live most of our lifes as expats, it's a nice way for 'home' to stay updated. Will this blog ever get as big as this tree here? I certainly do hope so!