July 14, 2004

French Facts...
I've started reading "And God Created the French" (published 1995) by Louis-Bernard Robitaille, a Québecois journalist who lived and worked in France for several years. It's about some of the (many) French idiosyncrasies, including their love-hate relationship with money, French swimming pools (I've heard stories from friends about that one), French etiquette, and EuroDisney. It's very well written, easy to read, and doesn't totally knock France.
I don't know how many of you have ever ridden a Metro in France, but you may have noticed a few "interesting" smells. Well, I've found a few interesting statistics about French hygiene.
IMPORTANT NOTE: do not read this if you are about to eat something.
-26% (47% according to another source) of French take a bath or shower every day, which means that 74% (or 53%) of people do not wash every day
-1% change their underwear only on Sunday
-30% "find it agreeable not to wash for several days"
-41 million toothbrushes are sold a year (with a population of 55 million, which means that 14 million French people use their toothbrush for more than a year!)
-59% of Jacques Chiraque's followers wear deodorant (the highest percentage of the major political parties)
-the French use less deodorant than any other country in Europe
-the French consume half the amount of soap as Britain (with the same population)

The sources are "And God Created the French", and the 2003 Lonely Planet guide to France.

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