French fight rude commuters with Internet meme

Summary:Can technology bring back the old social codes?

Courtesy of RATP

For all the talk of French superiority, it turns out that the life of an average Parisian isn't so pleasant -- particularly on the train.

As the Daily Telegraph reported Thursday, 97 percent of Parisians believe their fellow riders are "ill-mannered." Among the grievances published by the public transit authority (RATP) were loud cell phone conversations and commuters trying to enter a train car without first allowing riders to exit.

"People do not feel nostalgia for the social codes themselves, but for the rules marking respect for others and the desire to live together," author Cécile Ernst told FRANCE 24 on Tuesday.

Perhaps more striking than the chorus of experts bemoaning the state of French culture, however, is the meme generator the RATP launched to help alleviate frustration. Among several stress-inducing scenarios includes a particularly American-looking couple (read: cargo shorts) clutching a map overlaid with the phrase, "Touriste décontracté": a laid-back tourist. Quelle horreur indeed.

[Daily Telegraph]

This post was originally published on

Topics: Innovation


Claire Lambrecht has written for the New York Times, Slate, Salon, The Nation, and CBS MoneyWatch. Previously, she taught English as a Teach for America Corps Member and Fulbright English Teaching Assistant. She holds degrees from Cornell University, the University of Hawaii, and the Arthur M. Carter Journalism Institute at New York U... Full Bio

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