Monday, May 22, 2023

The French Art of Waiting


Bonnie said last week, “I won't wait in that long line. “

“Yes, Berthillon ice cream ๐Ÿฆ is good. 

Is it so much better than Grom or Pozzetto? No. 

Amorino? Yes.”commented Bonnie.

This got me thinking…๐Ÿค”

I’ve been living in France for 10 years and I still don’t know how to wait on line ๐Ÿ˜ณ

Yet I find myself fascinated 

Taking endless pictures ๐Ÿ“ท of French people waiting on line calmly…

I like drawing ✏️ lines too…

In French, you express the action to queue or to stand/wait in line with the expression faire la queue.

The French are better at waiting for things than most other people.

It’s a bigger mystery than how French women stay thin
And they aren't so thin these days with all the US chains around. Snack food ๐ŸŒญ is IN ๐Ÿ˜ณ

A book ๐Ÿ“• is waiting to be written on the French expertise at patiently waiting in line in an orderly manner. Leรงons learned in childhood?

Pamela Druckerman addressed waiting 

In Bringing Up Bรฉbรฉ: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting.  
That book taught me more about how to adjust French culture more than any other book ๐Ÿ“• 

Most  French toddlers bake every weekend, with parents nearby but not directing much. I was only allowed to put a button raisin on the gingerbread men & to lick the bowl ๐Ÿฅฃ (something French children are not allowed to do). 
They don’t get to eat their baked goodies ๐Ÿช right away either. They must wait until ‘goรปtรฉ time’ at 4:30. They LEARN to wait early.

Being ADHD in Paris has major drawbacks. 
Living with impulsivity and instant gratification, but faced with the constant temptations of daily French life can be a battle ๐ŸฅŠ 

Remember the Marshmallow Test created by Walter Mischel
5-year old kids were left alone for 15 minutes with a marshmallow and told they would get a second marshmallow if they didn't eat it? I would have flunked in 5 seconds (it was supposed to be a  sign of future success if you could hold out).

Isn’t it ironic how mad the French are absolutement folle de GUIMAUVES /marshmallows
. French kids would have passed that test with flying ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท colors ๐Ÿ‘ 

Every Sunday I go to Patisserie Tourbillon on 90, rue Saint Louis en l’รŽle, 75004 & buy one cookie ๐Ÿช 
BTW Cookies are BIG in Paris currently. They are quite thick. I always eat it ๐Ÿช immรฉdiatement. I can’t wait ๐Ÿ˜ณ 
Plus eating in the street is a hard NY habit to break. 
Chef Yann Brys (a Meilleure Ouvrier de France ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท) only makes cookies ๐Ÿช on the weekend. I think they’re the best ๐Ÿ† in Paris, with whole hazelnuts.
Anyway that’s my French Art of waiting theory & I’m sticking to it. 
What do you think? 
Are you good at waiting?
Please don’t wait ๐Ÿƒ‍♂️๐Ÿƒ‍♂️๐Ÿƒ‍♂️
Go to my Etsy shop for some fun French snailmail๐Ÿ˜Š❤️๐Ÿ“๐ŸŽˆ 


  1. Anonymous2:10 AM

    Is it possible that the French are not so pressed to accomplish as US? It’s a leisure culture, not a work culture and waiting is leisurely? We’re all anxious to get on to the next thing. Time is money?!

    1. Anonymous3:18 AM

      That is a BIG illusion about French culture imho.
      They do eat their meals in a more leisurely manner. People do not, as a rule, gobble. But they run ๐Ÿƒ‍♂️ around same as we do. Especially when leaving on vacance ๐Ÿ‘

  2. Romany de Silva, sydney2:26 AM

    I think only Americans cannot wait in line without bitching loudly.

    1. Anonymous3:09 AM

      I don’t know much about other cultures...but Americans DO NOT LIKE TO WAIT. Look at all the airplane incidents & road rage ๐Ÿ˜ก Its embarrassing what babies we are.

    2. Anonymous12:14 PM

      If you think it’s only Americans that cannot wait in line “without bitching loudly”, you don’t get out much, Romany.

  3. Anonymous3:56 AM

    I love all things french but hate to queue- does this mean I need to embrace the queue?? ๐Ÿค”

    1. Anonymous4:03 AM

      Start practicing at home.
      Put a cookie on the table.
      But don’t eat it.
      Just observe.
      Set a timer and build up.
      I’m going to try it too ⏰

    2. Anonymous3:00 PM

      oh yeah, that'll work!

  4. Anonymous4:15 AM

    There was a line around the block yesterday of people waiting to get in to Shakespeare and Co.!!!!!!

    1. Anonymous5:10 AM

      Hmm…can it be French people waiting??

  5. I think it all depends what you are willing to wait for. Yesterday I stood in a long line waiting to check out at a garden center, Yet, I have been known to ask myself, “how badly do I want or need this” and left the line.

    1. Anonymous7:32 AM

      Point taken Ga
      Many times I haven’t bought a pastry bc I didn’t want to wait.
      I have never regretted it ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ‘

  6. Bonnie L7:53 AM

    Well, the French are notorious for cutting into lines. So there’s that. I think that’s half the reason for taking ‘granny carts’ to the Marchรฉ…it keeps people away from them, holds their place in the queue!

    I just can’t see squandering precious vacation time waiting in a long lime like Berthillon. Be smarter: go early or later.

    First trip to Paris, more than 20 years ago, arriving early morning, stopped into a patisserie, stepped out onto the sidewalk eating my รฉclair, a man walked briskly by uttering a snide, “bon appรฉtit”. Lesson learned: the French don’t eat on the sidewalk. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿผ‍♀️

    1. Anonymous9:44 AM

      That same man said Bon Appetite to me eating a sandwich on rue du Bac!
      So embarrassed. I think they love to do it.
      Still plenty French are not chomping in the rue.

    2. Anonymous9:48 AM

      But a big part of vacation time is about eating local specialties isn’t it?
      Missing out on a Berthillon ice cream is triste ๐Ÿ˜ข
      And you get to people watch in depth ๐Ÿ˜Š
      The weekend lines at museums with hot, new exhibits is a total fashion show

    3. Anonymous11:05 AM

      Absolutely…vacay is all about the food. I seldom miss out on a Berthillon ice cream. Just be smarter about when you go…unless you enjoy people watching in a queue (I much prefer people watching from a cafรฉ table). You’ve got to expect large crowds on a sunny Sunday afternoon. BL

    4. Anonymous11:13 AM

      It’s true - at 12:30 Empty
      12:45 - line had formed
      But There is less desire when there is NO LINE

  7. I'd never thought about that but patience and discipline is a good thing for kids to start learning young. I love that the kids cook everyday with limited parental supervision!

    1. Anonymous11:19 AM

      Its hard to learn patience if you don’t learn it as a kid me thinks ๐Ÿ˜Š

  8. Dorrance8:03 AM

    L❤️VE that Gare de Lyon watercolor. Such a beautiful train station.

  9. Anonymous9:42 AM

    There is SO much in this post to comment on!
    SO many truths.
    Pamela Druckerman’s fab books. ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป Very informative Chelmey

    1. Anonymous9:49 AM

      Bring up Bebe was my Paris bible when I first moved here

  10. Anonymous10:01 AM

    Hello, Waiting is just one of the skills we should learn eRly in life and that is why the 2 or 3 years in Danish elementary schools is about good social skills. No maths, etc but manners; eating nicely; socializing with others in a polite way, etc. Yes! Great idea. Maths, etc can wait. I like the idea a lot! We could use more socializing in the US.

    1. Anonymous11:16 AM

      What a terrific experience for the Danes !
      They would fit in well in Paris…maybe too happy so they stay home ๐Ÿก

    2. Anonymous8:37 PM

      I’m imagining socializing classes like that for adults ๐Ÿ˜Š
      We need them ! PB

  11. Anonymous10:49 AM

    When my brother and I went to France on a tour he was so shocked at all the people in the cafes and outside dining sitting for hours and enjoying the weather and a coffee or meal. Used to a constant grind, he was shocked and wondered how the country survived with all this 'leisure'. That is the point..stopping to have a cookie or a cup of tea should be a requirement for living..which in the US is often derided as being lax.

    1. Anonymous11:17 AM

      Yes sitting for an hour over ONE COFFEE ☕️!

  12. Anonymous11:08 AM

    Waiting in a line with you Carol is an experience to behold๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ˜†. Hahahaha Love you! Carolyn

    1. Anonymous11:15 AM

      Huh? When did we wait on a line?
      And I got out of line..? ๐Ÿ˜‚

  13. I don't like waiting in line and will only attempt it under serious circumstances.

  14. Anonymous11:34 AM

    “I have just returned from 3 rainy gray days in Paris followed by 12 days in Normandy. Everywhere I went people, both fellow tourists and the French, commented on my style in a most positive way. Some people thought I was French. I gave you all the credit telling all that would listen about your blog and posts. I studied them this spring before packing, paying attention to the women (of a certain age) and pulling it off - even in the rain. Thank you my stylist.” Peggy

  15. Anonymous4:37 PM

    Brillant, funny, adorable post, Carol! And so true! Bravo et merci!๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜˜

  16. Anonymous8:34 PM

    The cookie looks wonderful. I will not wait in long lines either. Lynne

  17. Anonymous12:11 PM

    I had to wait in line outside at Katz’s Deli in New York, had a nice conversation with the people around me( some local). And New Yorkers aren’t known for their patience.

  18. As a Brit, I grew up to queue. It was part of the culture - just look at bus stops in the UK. Moving to France 30 yrs ago it was very different. The French didn't do it well and even driving around Paris, you'll see just how much they do not want to there, either. However, one of the positives of Covid is that it taught us all to count our blessings and queuing is now something I feel that the French are more at home with. Standing in line at the market or boulangerie patiently is now (I speak generally) something more usual. Even the other day I got chatting to this lady who had walked 5 kms to get there and was quite happy to stand in line and talk about it. It's lovely!

  19. Anonymous5:16 PM

    I just reread your post and noticed very few are on their phones. Even more curious!


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