For those of you who may be travelling to France for the first time this Summer, the Spoofs travel reporter Justin Case tells you what to expect.
General overview: France is a medium-sized foreign country situated in the continent of Europe. It is an important member of the world community, though nowhere as important as it thinks. It is bounded by Germany, Spain, Switzerland and some smaller nations of no particular consequence and with not very good shopping.
France is a very old country with many old treasures, such as the Louvre and Euro Disney. Among its contributions to western civilisation are champagne, Camembert cheese and the guillotine. Although France likes to think of itself as a modern nation, air conditioning is little used and it is next to impossible to get decent Mexican food. One continuing exasperation for visitors is that the people wilfully persist in speaking French, though many will speak English if shouted at. As in any foreign country, watch your change at all times.
The People: France has a population of 54 million people, most of whom drink and smoke a great deal, drive like lunatics, are dangerously oversexed, and have no concept of standing patiently in line. The French people are in general gloomy, temperamental, proud, arrogant, aloof, and undisciplined; and those are their good points.
Most French citizens are Roman Catholic, though you would hardly guess it from their behaviour. Many people are communists, and topless sunbathing is common. Men sometimes have girls' names like Marie, and they kiss each other when they hand out medals.
Travellers are advised to travel in groups and to wear baseball caps and colourful trousers for easier mutual recognition.
Safety: In general, France is a safe destination, though travellers are advised that, from time to time, it is invaded by Germany. By tradition, the French surrender more or less at once and, apart from a temporary shortage of either Gaullists or communists, neither of whom is to be trusted, frankly.
Culture: The French pride themselves 'on their culture, though it is not easy to see why. All their songs sound the same, and they have hardly ever made a movie that you would want to watch for anything but the nude scenes. And nothing, of course, is more boring than a French novel, except, perhaps, an evening with a French family.
Cuisine: Let's face it, no matter how much garlic you put on it, a snail is just a slug with a shell on its back. Croissants, on the other hand, are excellent. In general though travellers are advised to stick to cheeseburgers at leading hotels such as Sheraton and Holiday Inn.
Economy: France has a large and diversified economy, second only to Germany's in Europe, which is surprising because people hardly work at all. If they are not spending four hours dawdling over lunch, they are on strike and blocking the roads with their lorries, tractors, and dead sheep.
France's principal exports, in order of importance to the economy, are, nuclear weapons, perfume, guided missiles, champagne, high-calibre weaponry, grenade launchers, landmines, tanks, attack aircraft, miscellaneous armaments and cheese.
Public holidays: France has more holidays than any other nation in the world. Among its 361 national holidays are 197 saints' days, 37 National Liberation Days, 16 Declaration of Republic Days, 54 Return of Charles de Gaulle in Triumph as if he Won the War Single-Handed Days, 18 Napoleon Sent into Exile Days, 17 Napoleon Called Back from Exile Days, and 112 France is Great and the Rest of the World is Rubbish Days. Other important holidays are National Nuclear Bomb Day (January 12), the Feast of St Brigitte Bardot Day (March 1), and National Guillotine Day (November 12).
Conclusion: France enjoys a rich history, a picturesque and varied landscape, and a temperate climate. In short, it would he a very nice country if it weren't inhabited by French people. The best thing that can be said for France is that it is not Germany.