Rules for Engagement


We continue to notice and admire social behaviors in Paris.  What we find unusual and intriguing is the acknowledgement and recognition of one another which is the rule here.  Saying merci, pardon, s’il vous plait, rien du tout, shaking hands, kissing both cheeks when coming and going, holding the door open, giving up one’s seat on the bus or metro to an older person and plaisanterie (banter, light conversation) in the markets are all common.

One waits patiently in line while someone before you is being taken care of.  There is a heightened consciousness of the “other” that demonstrates the abiding sense of community,  a shared space which is nourished and protected. It’s a social contract which one signs onto at birth.  As foreigners we’ve learned the moves and experienced all of these things. Playing by the French rules for engagement, we have become a part of that community.

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