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It is all over the press. Gerard Depardieu, a well-known French actor (actually, something of a human legend), has, once again, made the headlines. But for all the wrong reasons this time. Let me explain: he was on a Cityjet flight from Paris to Dublin and badly needed the loo.  So badly that he ended up urinating on the aisle and all the passengers were delayed by more than two hours as a result. He was disembarked and had to take another flight (I understand that he went to the toilet before embarking this time, which is good news and shows that he can handle himself). It is unclear whether he was drunk or not, and there is a story about him using a bottle but, really, you don’t want to know all the details, do you?

As a result, there is a flurry of (sometimes derogatory) comments about French in general and Frenchmen in particular.
Let me list a couple of examples:
1. Jan Moir, from the Daily Mail, says “If someone is going to urinate like a horse in the aisle of a packed international flight taxiing along a runway, then that someone is going to be a Frenchman. You could bet your last croissant on it. No doubt about it. “ How kind!
2. Other comments include “the French at their finest”, and so on, and so forth…
I would like to set the record straight here. This has nothing to do with the French and everything to do with Mr Depardieu himself. Despite two pregnancies and numerous air travels, I have never relieved myself outside of the toilets (on a plane, that is), which I didn’t think was an achievement until this new development.
But, at work, I have been reminded that it is typical of the French to behave in a such a (bad) way. Apparently, we are soooo gross. No manners, really. I wouldn’t know. I am French. I don’t notice it anymore.
So let me reply to all the authors of patronizing comments here by sharing a true story.  When we started visiting houses in London, I was shocked to see that a lot of them still had carpets in the bathrooms and toilets. Usually the colour was greenish brownish. I was horrified. And I won’t even start to describe the smell. Maybe that’s why the Brits need to be better behaved? Just a thought.
Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London
  • I didn’t know the media can be so mean as to target the French about this…I mean, come on, it is just really weird that a person actually did this but targeting the French in connection to this…really mean.

    I mean, we live in a world where we are judged on the basis of where we come from. What about people with mixed ethnicity and race, who do they behave like?

    Carpets in bathroom… my I should visit London and you should take me around! 😉

  • Why couldn’t they open the loo for him? He was obviously in dire need. He had two choices – what he did (although poorly) or wet his pants. You choose – if it were you/

    Hindsight that he should have gone earlier doesn’t help once it’s too late. I’m sure he was thinking I should have gone earlier.

  • Yes Les Rosbifs have had a field day scoffing about Le Grand Nez aka Asterix’s Gaul Bladder problems. I was amused to see in his destination (and my home town) of Dublin the City Council is greatly concerned about public urination – a problem they have prepissapated (sic) by closing down all the public loos! Peut-être there is a connection, Oui?

  • Amazing that modern people still stereotype different nationalities and cultures. I’d hate to be classified the same as a few of my siblings so I definitely wouldn’t want to be lumped in with all the bad traits of the rest of the Americans.

  • So horrible that so many people still bulk one bad apple as a whole nation. It’s not right! Thanks for following Mommy Time Out

  • Amanda

    Perfectly said! I can’t believe such racism still exists and so blatantly – and yes, it is racism. The French I know are immaculately behaved. A person’s behaviour has more to do with their personality than where they are from. Honestly, I can’t believe the media still continues with their ridiculous stereotyping in the 21st Century.

  • Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuurn Mumu! Yes, the English traditionally have their bathrooms carpeted, which is foolish at best. I always thought the French had bidets in their bathrooms which is so civilized. Don’t take anything the English press says seriously, they are hyenas. It’s hard though, when I came to N.America people made comments at how rarely British people showered and I took THAT personally! LOL

  • When this story first came out I watched the potty jokes fly. Anderson Cooper on CNN went into hysterics when he tried to say that he was glad that Depardieu didn’t need to go Number Two. The late night talk show hosts had a ball with it. But the bottom line, whether he had been drinking or not, the guy clearly had to go. A whole country is not responsible for his urinary tract. Oh, and love your title!

  • There was a fad for carpeting bathrooms in the US not that long ago (about the time I had my first apartment? Maybe late 70’s early 80’s?) Don’t think it caught on here, though.

  • Stereotyping is the epitome of ignorance.

  • Wow! I can’t believe people could say such horrible things about the French! You’re right that it’s about the person and not the country. And great comeback! =)

  • The most worrying thing about this story is that the British media thinks this is news! (and don’t you worry about Jan Moir…her odd opinions have got her into plenty of trouble in the past. She’s not taken too seriously by most of the media!)

  • What? No Depardieu-dieu? (I didn’t see Anderson Cooper’s jokes. So, I don’t know if he used that one.) 🙂

    It’s sad that people still stereotype like this today. To make themselves feel better for something they had nothing to do with, perhaps? (Their heritage, home countries, etc.) I’m sure most of the people in NJ wince every time Jersey Shore airs. Try not to let it get to you, Muriel.

  • Ugh, Jan Moir and the Daily Mail hate everyone, of all nations of all classes, they are a nasty bunch of journalists who love winding people up

  • Now I’m sort of confused. All my life I’ve heard how the French are about proprieties and finesse and being ‘cultured’. It’s only now I’m learning about the bad rep. Anyway, I agree that as with anything, it has to do with the person and not the race. Filipinos have been ‘victims’ of a lot of generalizations, some funnily true, others annoyingly unfair. I feel your pain.

  • Mon dieu, another fantasy shattered! I’ve loved the man ever since Jean de Florette!

  • I really abhor generalizations of any kind. They serve no purpose but to insight and is that really a purpose?

  • Putting everybody in the same basket is a well-know activity of Journalism.
    What is worse is seeing this on the first page of the Newspaper in Ireland, while people were risking their lives in other parts of the planet. Quite scary! Thanks Gerard for bringing down the popularity of French people!

  • You really do make me laugh, Muriel!!! What a SPIRIT you are!!!:)