Paris, France Blue State Anxiety

The Paris affair was much more low-key than Madrid. Only a fifth of the turn-out – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing – but also a more subdued attitude. The Spaniards had something to prove to me, and they did. With the French, I felt like I had something to prove.

They’d seen the video and they liked it well enough to show up, but there were certain qualities to my endeavor that had yet to be ascertained. It’s probably my own insecurities at work, but I felt like I had to show I wasn’t just another arrogant, ignorant American.

Not that anyone was rude about it, mind you. They just weren’t sure what to make of the whole thing until we got underway.

There seemed to be a big shift in attitude around the second or third take. They got that it isn’t really about me this time. It’s about them.

I’ve done six of these group events so far. Every one of them leaves me breathless. I’ve never been much of a participant in group efforts; be they religious, musical, charitable, chemical, or what-have-you; I was always the dork in the corner with his head glued to the GameBoy screen, so the exhilaration is new to me. It takes me an hour or so to come back down out of the clouds.

We’re also getting a lot better at it – Melissa and I. We’ve learned some tricks and some things to avoid. I wish we could go back to the UK with what we know now.

…might have to at some point.

We flew in from Madrid yesterday on a 5am RyanAir flight. Anyone who’s ever flown RyanAir, let’s all share a groan of despair.

Arrived in Paris semi-conscious, slept until it was time for the shoot. After it was done, we stood around talking to the other dancers, lots of pictures and a few autographs – which is a new one for me – no media to deal with this time. When the last person finally got sick of us and left, we strolled off across the city.

Melissa has never been to France before, so there was lots to check out. We did bored-face snapshots.

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The idea came from someone who emailed me a while back. I hate taking snapshots and I almost never bother, but this, like dancing badly, makes it fun.

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Notre Dame? How about Notre Dumb?

…No. Wait. Notre Lame!

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Musee Du Louvre? More like Musee Du Who-Gives-a-Crap!

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So, mission accomplished. We proved Americans aren’t the fatuous slobs they think we are. On to Belgium, where I fear some snap observations I made many yarrons ago may come back to bite me in the ass.

41 Responses to Paris, France Blue State Anxiety

  1. Matt

    Don’t like your bored snapshots. The best thing about your dancing video is it looks fun, and it looks like you are having fun. The bored face snap shots make you look like a sulky teenager who deserves to be taken out behind the woodshed and beaten.

  2. hahaha I really did laugh with the bored shots! I would have laughed even more if you have had a big smile in front of the McDonalds and Starbucks 😛

  3. Carl

    Those snapshots really are awesome…makes me think of the pictures that people always take of me ^^
    They are always a great laugh
    That or snapshots where I look over-happy…obviously greatly faked…you should try that some time…don’t forget the thumb in the air :p

  4. jdhosky

    Oh oh, Matt. Remember this tidbit? “What is it about the Belch? I’ve never met one I can stand talking to for more than a minute. They’re conversation assassins.” Into the mouth of the tiger you go…

  5. My hubby and I arrived in Belgium by train, walked out of the train station and turned around and jumped back on the train. I do kinda wished now we had given it more of a chance.

  6. Cam

    This is how much leg room you get on a RyanAir flight: |< ---->|
    That is to scale, by the way.

    You guys don’t look bored in your pictures. You actually look quite pissed off.

  7. Ed

    What Matt, you figure Granny Belch will snap you peeing by the side of the road?

    Just look bored 😀

  8. p
  9. Rich

    LMAO!! The bored snapshots were HILARIOUS! My stomach hurts!

    I like Jorge’s idea of smiling big in front of McDonald’s and Starbuck’s. haha

  10. Brent

    Hey Matt, I think we were roaming the streets of Paris at the same time. How cool would taht have been if I bumped into you. I was there on business with my wife and 18 month old(tag alongs). In fact, while I was there, I was creating videos to sending them back to my kid’s Grandma via youtube so she could get her grandbaby fix. I totally riped you off and called them “Where is Nolan”. Hope you don’t mind. No dancing, just cute shots of baby. check them out if you want. link to youtube.com

    Brent

  11. Hi Matt !

    I was there in Paris and you can’t imagine how excited I was to be part of your dancing madness. When I received the mail saying you’d come to Paris, I was so happy… I brought some friends with me but if I had known at the time that only a few people would be there, i would have brought many more ! I thought we would be hundreds attending, I was really disappointed when I realized we’d only be so few. I’m also really sorry for you, but as you already know French people aren’t that open-minded regarding that kind of things, actually almost everybody who did come was english, american or at least english-speakers who knew about you. Ah France !

    Thanks again for everything, you’re great ! And that’s a day I’ll remember.

    Charlotte.

  12. Thomas

    Don’t put every french people in the same basket…

    May be you didn’t find the right ones! And if you are open minded, don’t blame them and accept that some people are not as open minded as you…

    I don’t really like Notre Dumb or Notre lame… anyways keep enjoying what you are doing! Have fun

  13. hy matt, I enjoyed all of yours videos, i tried to dance like you, but i can’t be so ridiculous… i need a lot of lessons…. :-)

    i agree with you for french personality (i know it, i’m french too…) and you are all right when you’re saying they look boring everytime…
    an exemple of that : for the big stone in norway, a french poeple will say : ” no more than a stone… IN FRANCE whe got billions of stones…. ” ahahhaah

    by the way, i expect that one day you’ll meet smilling french poeple …

    “au revoir”
    (sorry for my english)
    olivier

    my sister is also making a turn of the world for the second time, a turn about little kids for open-minding french poeple (may be they will….) !
    if you want :
    http://www.aporteedemains.com

  14. jean marc

    will you come one day in lyon? the second town in france and a very beautiful town and many place to dance.

  15. cecile

    Hi! Another french woman here. Still smiling from the video, I desenchanted when I got to read your thoughts about french people, I thought a man like you couldn’t minimize a whole people to sad cliches..on the other hand, I left France a while ago myself..!
    I dare you to come to Moscow though and dance inside the Kremlin!! or on red square…I’d be there. Just a thought..now keep rocking, no more judgement though ok? cheers.

  16. Don’t worry about the French people, once you get used to them and they get used to you, you all get on like a house on fire, just have to get used to each other being an expat Brit (Geordie) for yonks I know what I’m talking about!!!
    Well how about a trip to Lyon in France or Newcastle in NE England.
    Keep up the good work

  17. Tony

    Hey Matt,
    I’m french, and I would like to say to you that I like your videos!!
    If you come back in France, I hope you’ll be more lucky to meet smiley french!! Tell me when you want to come back in France or in Switzerland (I move there in a year)

    Good Luck!! =]

    God Bless You Matt.
    Keep travel

    tony.

  18. Yann

    Hey Matt,
    I’m french and I’ve just discovered your videos. And I do really have fun looking at you ! This his a wonderful idea. It make us realize we’re all world citizen and able to laugh about one common thing. What a flow of positive wave !
    Sorry for your “not-so-good” experience in Paris… come and visit us one more time and I’m sure we’ll do better next time…
    My family will get ready !

  19. Bastien

    Hi there !!

    I’m french, i love american people and i love what you do !!

    if you come back here, i’ll be at the airport with at least one hundred french guys ready to hug you at the same time, all smiling and glad to welcome you ! 😉

    Keep dancing Matt!! Rock that world!

  20. Charlotte

    I just realized (months after I wrote here !) that my post hasn’t been well perceived by Thomas, who posted just underneath mine. Just to clarify what I said : I am French myself (I forgot to mention that !). When I was saying that French people aren’t that open-minded, it wasn’t an attack and I wasn’t putting everyone in the same basket. It’s just a feeling I’ve always had, and I was just disappointed that so few people showed up to dance.
    It may be a little silly, but I just wanted to clarify that.
    Anyway, Happy New Year to everyone ! Just watched the video again, and as usual I ended up with a smiley face. Thanks Matt.

  21. Un petit mot en français pour vous dire que vos vidéos mettent beaucoup de joie dans nos coeurs. C’est une belle idée. Les gens comme vous qui sont plein de folie douce sont riches. Ca met de belles couleurs dans la vie et dans le regard de ceux avec qui vous partagez.

  22. agathe

    hey Matt!

    I’m french, and I apologies for the unwelcomming people we are (and also for my very very bad english…)
    but I love what you did, you’re crazyness, and your great adventure….
    So if I see you one day in France, be sure I’ll dance with you!!!!
    thanks for sharing your wonderfull idea with us!!!

  23. usaaddict22

    Hi everyone!!
    I just discovered you two guys, and I’m really fond of your video. What you did is amazing.
    One thing makes me sad, I’m french and I wish we could be more welcoming with foreign people, but it looks like it’s a hard thing to do unfortunately…
    Matt and melissa be sure that not all french people think that american are arrogant and too proud of themselves. I’ve spent a year in USA and since then, I love everything about it.
    I wish french and american people could get along without having any cliché cos’ let’s be realistic american people have a lot too!! 😉
    Take care guys, and please keep making us dreaming :)

  24. Lili

    Thanks for your joy and for sharing your very great idea . I hope dance with you one day in the south of the france.
    I wish you lots of beautiful things.

  25. Brahim

    Hey Matt,

    Do not really like bored pics and Notre Lame or whatever… But I agree that French are dumb sometimes.

    But you have been travelling enough so far to understand that each country has its codes… and France has its own (maybe weird)codes… And I think that trying to understand it is even more exciting than just sight-seeing over a country. That’s how travelling overseas shoud be…

    But I’m sure you’re a good guy ! And I love what you did though.

    a French who’d have loved to participate (with a smile)

  26. Hi Matt,

    There is a big difference between French people in general and people who live in Paris. You had a bad experience with Parisian, I lived 15 years in Paris and I know people are sometimes not very welcoming.
    But come again in France , not in Paris or a big town, come in the country, you’ll see the difference.

    A lot of French people love what you do.

    Bises
    Michelle

  27. Yarp

    Hi Matt,
    A bit suprised by your negative comments about French people. But I agree we are not demonstrative people. Nevermind, it is good to say what you think.
    Love what you do and love your video.
    Cheers,

  28. Hi Matt, I’m French but I’m not a “parisien”, most of them are really hummm “parisiens” what else ?
    Let them down and come in Lille, people from the North of France (Chti) are more friendly !

    Thanks for your videos, they give a sense to the word “Humanism”.

  29. Margaux

    Hi Matt :)
    ALL THE PARISIAN ARE NOT LIKE THAT, let us stop clichés. But I totally agree, we do not enough take time to live! I hope that you will come back soon and that we can show you how much the French people can be fun, you have to fall on the good persons, everywhere else finally.
    Otherwise, as a lot of people mentioned it before, Lyon is a really nice city, and Nantes is so pleasant, I would see you good dancing in front of the fountain Place Royale or in front of the Belem. An another idea, why do not to try to dance in front of the Palace of Versailles? 😉
    We love your videos (and sorry for my bad english).
    Friendly, Margaux

  30. I am french and I have written an article about you in my blog. I want to show us the great example you are, above all we are dancing badly.
    Don’t hesitate to come back in France, we need people like you.
    thank you very much to be just as you are.

  31. It is sooo the reflect of how French people can be (and I’m French, so I know what I’m talking about). Come back in a few years, new generation is coming up.

  32. Loloji

    IM french and have lived in Paris for 6 years, sorry to hear that you had a bad experience, but i expected you to be more open-minded and not to have cliches about people !! All of my friends from all over the world (because im a traveller ) who came and visited me loved the city (your Notre Dumb thing is just the dumbest thing i’ve ever heard) Dont be an arrogant american guy :) and come back !! I’ve met a lot of great people in Paris.
    Love your videos, otherwise

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