Opening Retaliatory Comment
I beg to differ.
France does not, in the least bit, suck, nor do French people in general. Having recently returned to the United States from a wonderful trip to Paris, I can safely say that the aforementioned writeup is quite the load of crap. Perhaps the writer was attempting to be humorous, but it came off as offensive, unamusing, and simply wrong.
Before I experienced the country for myself, I was under the same impression that many Americans have of the French -- that they are snobby, rude, arrogant; that they dislike Americans. I was surprised to find out that these stereotypes are completely inaccurate. The following writeup is not based on "US government reports" (i know, it's such a funny joke); rather, it is an American traveler's perspective after a two-week visit.
France is located in Western Europe, between Italy and Spain, and southeast of Great Britain. Appropriately, inhabitants speak the official language of French (Francais), which is famous for its classy and romantic pronunciations. France enjoys a solid economy, one of the strongest in Europe, and its actual exported products are, according to AU's writeup on France: machinery and transportation equipment, chemicals, foodstuffs, agricultural products, iron and steel products, textiles and clothing.
Like much of Europe's adult population, the French are known to "get their drink on" quite frequently, and it remains that approximately forty percent of the adult population smokes. The no smoking (non fumeur) section at restaurants is a joke most of the time, largely ignored by many indifferent smokers. The drinking age is 18 there, but this was also found to be loosely enforced.
The French are generally reserved persons at first, but once the ice is broken they often become extremely friendly, high-spirited and generous people. A simple chat on a train or in a shared ferryboat cabin can lead to an invitation to their home, complete with homemade, full course meals with their family. I found them to be very helpful and generous: explaining and showing one how to use the subway (Metro); assisting in finding one's particular destination; accompanying one on, and even paying for, a walking tour of their city's rich history; giving away a bottle of classy French wine as a parting gift... all this happened to me during my visit, and I would not expect this kind of treatment for a visitor in the United States.
Despite popular American beliefs, the French are generally understanding of those who speak little or no French (such as myself), and they greatly appreciate and applaud any kind of attempt by visitors to speak the language (even if it's half-assed; they don't mind.) Additionally, many of them do speak the English language or are interested in learning it.
I found that there were, of course, French people who appeared snobby and perhaps rude, but they were surprisingly uncommon. It seems to me that America, more than France, is one of the nations in the world who have a lot of biased attitudes, stereotypes and misconceptions toward certain other countries.
I have come to believe that there are two types of crepe vendors in France: the nice, friendly kind who recommend a flavor to you, smile, and give you exact change; and the not-so-friendly kind, who grumpily toss a crepe together and give you no change at all. Be warned.
The French are world renowned for their cuisine, and they certainly live up their reputation. The food there was excellent, if not expensive, and I'm not talking about the damn snails. The crepes were particularly delicious, thin pancakes that would either be sandwich-esque with meat, cheese, and an egg, or, as a dessert, would contain chocolate, fruit, or whipped cream. To suggest McDonald's as a restaurant to eat at while in France just doesn't seem right. In fact, it is the last place I'd be found at in France (although they're transfixed at dozens of street corners throughout Paris, and are quite popular for grabbing a quick bite). If you're looking for high-quality Mexican food though, I'd raincheck France and look into Mexico first. I've heard good things.
By the way, French chocolate kicks Hershey's ass.
The French are very social people, and as a result, French cities like Paris are famous for their nightlife: dance clubs, cabarets, musical concerts and symphonies. France has produced such well known films as Le Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain, and Les Quatre cents coups. They are lagging behind in terms of Internet development.
I found the ladies in France (particularly Paris) to be extraordinarily beautiful, and from my experiences, they are delightful people as well. To say that all French women have small chests is a fucking shallow generalization.
The culture, the history and architecture, the cuisine, and the people -- they're all different than the way it is here or anywhere else. Not necessarily better or worse, but different. I, for one, love it, and I would choose it over a trip to Miami Beach without a second thought.