Paris Bits: Vignettes and Pensées, Day 7

The seventh in the series of vignettes and pensées written by my husband, David Wolf, on an extended stay in Paris one early summer. This particular vignette takes place before the smoking ban went into effect in cafés in France. It reveals a fine insight into how proud the French are to be…French.


Français ou Americain?—Or, How to Insult a Frenchman

Photo by Roger Salz via Flickr.

Photo by Roger Salz.


We stop at the Deux Magots for a late-afternoon drink—a coffee for Wini and a “Gini” for me. The waiters still look at me as if I am kidding when I order a Gini—a lemon-lime soft drink that I have never seen an adult drinking in a café anywhere in France. A fifty-something jowly Parisian in a chartreuse sport coat and yellow slacks sits down next to us and orders.

Une Ricard, S’il vous plait,” he says.

Oui, d’accord,” the waiter replies and is off.

The man lights up a cigarette and smokes it, staring out at the traffic on the Boulevard St. Germain. The waiter returns and as he places the Ricard, the little ice bucket, the water and some crackers on the table he tells the man, “I’m sorry but you cannot smoke here.” The man is clearly offended.

“Pourquoi vous me parlez en anglais?” the man asks, stubbing his cigarette out in the ashtray the waiter has handed him. Why are you speaking to me in English?

Obviously he does not mind the smoking restriction as much as he does being mistaken for an American.






More Paris Bits:

• Day 6: Thoughts on the Six-Week French Vacation
• Day 5: Writers on Vacation in Paris
• Day 4: The Eiffel Tower in the Millenium
• Day 3: All in a Day in Paris
• Day 2: The Art Teacher
• Day 1: Lunch on the Rue de la Roquette








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4 comments to Paris Bits: Vignettes and Pensées, Day 7

  • Nancy LoBalbo

    I have been following your husband’s posts and am really enjoying his “short takes” on Paris. I especially liked the one above. Nice way to switch things up!. Oh, BTW, made your Pomegranete Pot au Feu last Sunday for dinner with the family. Not the first time I’ve made it, but it is one of our FAVORITE dishes for a cold New England winter Sunday feast. Melt in your mouth delish!

    • Wini

      Thank you, Nancy. It’s nice to hear you’re enjoying these. Our next summer trip to France seems far away, so this is a nice way to bring a little France to each day.

      And glad to hear you like the Pot-au-Feu!

      Thanks for writing!

  • Doris Wolfe

    Fun to find your blog…we are also Wolf with an e, Américain, and living in Normandy, France.

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