10 ways to be French this Bastille Day
Love your art, have a long lunch and be sexy: here’s how to be a regular Frenchman.July 14, 2016
Today, July 14, is Bastille Day - when Frenchmen all over the world take a moment's break from shrugging indifferently to mark their national day.
Formerly called La Fête Nationale, but now commonly referred to as simply Le Quatorze Juillet, Bastille Day commemorates the beginning of the French Revolution with the storming of the Bastille in 1789.
A perfect time then to recognise our baguette-loving friends (including the EDGAR boss) and become token Francophiles for the day. Superbe! Here's how to do it:
1. Become a chef
Raymond Blanc, Alain Ducasse and the Roux family all hail from France and among many more top-class chefs have given the country its reputation for having some of the best cuisine in the world. So instead of going out tonight, why not try cooking something typically Gallic: frogs legs and snails lathered in garlic is a good way to start. No really, it is.
2. Love your art
France is home to some of the best museums in the world and the list of great artists produced by the country reads like a who's who of, well, great art. It's also home to some of the world's most famous art heists. So if studying an oil canvas isn't your thing, putting it under your arm and walking off with it is still pretty French.
3. Have an affair
Okay, so you don't really have to do this one. After all, a gentleman never does. But going on the belief that there's no smoke without fire, the French have for years earned themselves a reputation for enjoying dallying romances. In fact a study by Pew Research Centre found that 53 per cent of French people don't find it “morally unacceptable for married people to have an affair" - the lowest percentage of moral concern across 39 countries. But we're not sure that excuse will wash with the missus.
4. Enjoy a lengthy lunch
We've always been jealous of the French for this - they actively indulge in long business lunches. We're talking a good three hours in a high-class setting with fine food and wine. We're not convinced that any productive work is done after this point, but it certainly beats the packet sandwich option from the shop across the road.
Paris is famed for its shopping, with its streets awash with the flagship stores of high-end brands and small luxury boutiques at every corner. And while French men are known for their love of scarves, cravats and general accessories which accentuate their manly chest hair, the women love their diamonds and designer labels.
6. Be well mannered
French people are famously good mannered and traditional - as long as you know the language perfectly and don't hesitate for a moment. However, this rule doesn't apply to restaurant managers. If you are one, then you'll need to subject your guests to the type of pseudo-rudeness only a snooty maître d' at a posh Paris restaurant can dispense.
7. Be sexy - and hairy
Apparently, women tend to find something very attractive about French men. We're not sure what it is but there's no question that French women have a certain effortless sex appeal - think Brigitte Bardot and Catherine Deneuve, and more recently Aurélie Claudel and Eva Green. However, that brooding, mysterious, slightly dangerous level of attraction is tempered somewhat by the constant rumors that French ladies prefer to leave their body hair to grow au naturale.
It doesn't matter how pretty she is, a hairy-legged Eva Green is not something we'd like to see. On the contrary, they seem to love a Frenchman's rugged chest, so put the razor down.
Of course the Tour de France, the world's premier road cycling event, is the biggest reason why France is famous for its cycling. But a day spent on the outskirts of Paris or indeed in a small village countryside will have you dodging cyclists like cars. Just remember to get one with a wicker basket and a high-pitched bell to really blend in.
9. Adore film
With one of the world's top film festivals on its beautiful Southern coast - the glamorous Cannes - French cinema is one of the most respected in the world. If you're going to pick one to watch this evening expect black and white, cheesy music, femme fatals and subtitles.
10. Have at least four courses at dinner
Quite a few of the things on this list are about food, which makes us wonder, how are the French not fatter? Whatever their trick is, they've nailed this concept that dinner should be a multiple course affair. It must, of course, be finished with cheese and wine.
Image credit: Getty Images, Corbis.