In this debut, Eatwell pulls back the veil on France and French culture, exposing the truth behind 45 myths that have swirled around the French for ages.
Through research and interviews with countless English and French people, the author begins by examining the eating, drinking and bathing habits of the French. She intertwines historical facts with present-day evaluations, providing readers with in-depth analyses on a wide array of topics, including the eating of horse meat in France, the numerous types of cheese available and the subcultures that surround them, and the drinking habits of the old and young. She examines French toilets and plumbing, which body parts French women shave, if any, and the use of the bidet, which turned into a common feature in whorehouses; it was “the indispensable tool of the trade for the world’s oldest profession, a receptacle for ablutions, a cleansing contraceptive, purger of venereal disease, and in some cases an aid to home abortion.” Lovers of Paris will enjoy Eatwell’s chronicles of her journeys through the streets of the Left Bank in search of artists and writers, her descents into the Paris Metro and cataloging of its various smells. She also discusses the massive amount of canine excrement found on Paris streets. In addition, she follows the French on holiday as they flee the cities and migrate to the coast and tells all on French women going topless on the beaches. The French have influenced cultures around the world, but particularly that of the British, and Eatwell also studies the effects French food and culture have had on their neighbors across the Channel. At the end of each piece, the author provides a “myth evaluation” on the myth’s overall veracity.
Entertaining mini-essays that debunk common idealized conceptions of the French.