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Old May 31st, 2012, 08:25 PM   #161
joshsam
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Quote:
Originally Posted by De Klauw View Post
"The North" has a bad reputation in most of France anyway. (unfairly off course). Most French people depict The North as some kind of Russia with very bad and cold weather and grey buildings everywhere.
Oh there was a funny movie about this I forgot its name....

Edit: Found it Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis
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Old May 31st, 2012, 09:00 PM   #162
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The trailer says it all :
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Old May 31st, 2012, 09:15 PM   #163
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Thank you for this wonderful photo tour! I love that you give a really representative and detailed portrait of the cities you visited and don´t only show a few tourist sights. You really get a precise picture of everyday life in the areas you visited. Looking forward for the rest of your pictures!
Thanks. Glad you are enjoying it. This is why I travel - to see the society as a whole and how people live, not simply a few fancy buildings (though I did have to do that in Paris just because it has so many fancy buildings). That is what I try to convey with the pictures. They aren't good photographs, but hopefully they give a sense of what the place is actually like.
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Old May 31st, 2012, 09:18 PM   #164
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Quote:
Originally Posted by De Klauw View Post
"The North" has a bad reputation in most of France anyway. (unfairly off course). Most French people depict The North as some kind of Russia with very bad and cold weather and grey buildings everywhere.
Why does the north of France have a bad reputation?

I noted that people seemed very friendly there - really it had a latin culture.

When I mentioned this my hosts, who have lived all over France and are originally from Marsaille, said the people in the north are the friendliest people in France, by far.

I mentioned that comment to my hosts in Paris when I returned there and they said it is true.

So it seemed the north had a good reputation... or maybe the people I spoke to were wrong or there is some other aspect to this reputation.

Anyways, I certainly liked the north of France very much.
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Old May 31st, 2012, 09:47 PM   #165
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 600West218 View Post
Why does the north of France have a bad reputation?
Preconceptions. Like I said: many French depict the North as a cold unpleasant place full of greyness.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 600West218 View Post
I noted that people seemed very friendly there - really it had a latin culture.
I wouldn't say it has a strong latin culture. More a largely Northern/Germanic culture with French speaking people. Besides the language there is no big difference in culture between the North of France and Belgium/Flanders.

Last edited by De Klauw; May 31st, 2012 at 11:50 PM.
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Old May 31st, 2012, 09:54 PM   #166
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Quote:
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Preconceptions. Like I said: many French depict the North as a cold unpleasant place full of greyness.


I wouldn't say it has a strong latin culture. More a largely Germanic culture with French speaking people. Besides the language there is no big difference in culture between the North of France and Belgium/Flanders. Southern France has a latin culture.

This is interesting but doesn't match what I saw and what I was told.

In the evening of the first day my hosts took me out to a nice restaraunt (pics tonight). People where very outgoing - people from one table would talk to and interact with people from other tables even though they didn't know each other. That kind of outgoing behaviour is what I am calling Latin.

You don't see it in the "Yankee" parts of the northern US, nor probably in places like Germany. I didn't see it in England.

But my hosts said it was common in northern France but that I wouldn't see that in sourthern France. There, they said, people were more closed and would only interact with their own family or poeple that they already knew.

And yes I was surprised by this. Normally we think of people from northern, colder climes as being more reserved and people from warmer climes being more open and outgoing. But in the case of France that might be reversed to some extent.

At least that is what I saw and was told. I am by no means an expert on French cultere after one week in France.
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Old May 31st, 2012, 10:26 PM   #167
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 600West218 View Post
I noted that people seemed very friendly there - really it had a latin culture.
Friendliness is only good for tourists

But in reality it's just a behaviour and has nothing to do with how good or bad the place is. There are many places in the world where people are very friendly but are also very insincere, corrupt and even very criminally minded.
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Old May 31st, 2012, 10:32 PM   #168
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600 West, your analyse is very true.
The French from the north have very often very friendly manners, and culturally, they are like the Wallons (the French Belgians). I would even say this is the same people, despite the border.
However they are very different from the Parisians, who have a kind of superiority complex and disdain to the north
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Old May 31st, 2012, 10:41 PM   #169
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Quote:
Originally Posted by endymar View Post
Friendliness is only good for tourists

But in reality it's just a behaviour and has nothing to do with how good or bad the place is. There are many places in the world where people are very friendly but are also very insincere, corrupt and even very criminally minded.
+1
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Old May 31st, 2012, 11:10 PM   #170
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Why does the north of France have a bad reputation?
The North used to be a very industrial region, with many mines as well. The population was mostly blue collar and working class. And although they were already somewhat poor and the working conditions used to be pretty bad, the local institutions were pretty strong, whether work related (companies, trade unions...), political (especially the communist party) or through networks of mutual frendship etc. And basically the area was considered to be a dynamic industrial region.

However from the 70s-80s onward the region experienced a strong decline and des-industrialisation wave. Unemployment soared, the aforementioned institutions entered a strong decline phase and phenomenons such as alcoholism rose (or at least this is what people perceive).

So the region probably has a reputation similar to places such as Detroit or Flynt in the US .

And to this you have to add the fact that a few very sordid pedophilia stories made the national news during the 90's and early 2000's as did neighboring Belgium.

So some people in Paris and elsewhere in France started to look at this region with contempt.
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Old May 31st, 2012, 11:23 PM   #171
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It's true that Walloons and northern French often get along very well and have a lot in common (including the industrial past).

But I really doubt that their friendliness is unsincere or criminal-minded

I've always pictured northern France as the friendliest part of the country. People seem to think that the south is only happiness and joy because of the sun, but according to my own experience, I found the people there quite unpleasant towards the tourists. And according to some Belgians I know, moving in there is not easy at all, even after 10 years you're still considered as a foreigner (even if french is your mother language).

Thus in my own opinion, Nord-Pas-de-Calais doesn't deserve his bad reputation, although It seems there was improvement of perception even within France lately.
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Old May 31st, 2012, 11:37 PM   #172
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It's not like the perception of Marseille in the south is that much better
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Old May 31st, 2012, 11:41 PM   #173
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The friendliness of the North is not due to it being "latin" imo. I'm sure that people in regions like Liverpool and places like Chicago are known to be "friendly" too, but they are not "latin". They all share a difficult past and post-industrialism.
Yes, Nord-pas-de-calais are very close to Belgium in many ways and in mentality, they are a friendly folk.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Karnoit View Post
It's true that Walloons and northern French often get along very well and have a lot in common (including the industrial past).

But I really doubt that their friendliness is unsincere or criminal-minded

I've always pictured northern France as the friendliest part of the country. People seem to think that the south is only happiness and joy because of the sun, but according to my own experience, I found the people there quite unpleasant towards the tourists. And according to some Belgians I know, moving in there is not easy at all, even after 10 years you're still considered as a foreigner (even if french is your mother language).

Thus in my own opinion, Nord-Pas-de-Calais doesn't deserve his bad reputation, although It seems there was improvement of perception even within France lately.
In the south of France, many people have a village mentality. They are as un-open and private as the most closed part of Germany. Though I find people from the south-west to be "sympathique" sometimes.

Belgians have it much better than PARISIANS in south of France. They are really hated over there.
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Old May 31st, 2012, 11:55 PM   #174
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Aren't a lot of the "private" southerners foreigners to the area themselves

Atlantic south seems to be totally different than Med south (specially the eastern part), better attitude imo.
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Old May 31st, 2012, 11:58 PM   #175
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eklips View Post
The North used to be a very industrial region, with many mines as well. The population was mostly blue collar and working class. And although they were already somewhat poor and the working conditions used to be pretty bad, the local institutions were pretty strong, whether work related (companies, trade unions...), political (especially the communist party) or through networks of mutual frendship etc. And basically the area was considered to be a dynamic industrial region.

However from the 70s-80s onward the region experienced a strong decline and des-industrialisation wave. Unemployment soared, the aforementioned institutions entered a strong decline phase and phenomenons such as alcoholism rose (or at least this is what people perceive).

So the region probably has a reputation similar to places such as Detroit or Flynt in the US .

And to this you have to add the fact that a few very sordid pedophilia stories made the national news during the 90's and early 2000's as did neighboring Belgium.

So some people in Paris and elsewhere in France started to look at this region with contempt.
Good analysis. It corresponds the way many Flemings see Wallonia. It is only since recent that those places start to shine again. Let's hope they will finally get over their de-industrialisation trauma. Because those places don't deserve their reputation. England, Wallonia and Northern France are actually quite important in world history for their industrialization pioneering.

PS, as for France: besides the things you told also take in mind climate. "North" always has a cold feeling.

Quote:
Originally Posted by endymar View Post
Friendliness is only good for tourists

But in reality it's just a behaviour and has nothing to do with how good or bad the place is. There are many places in the world where people are very friendly but are also very insincere, corrupt and even very criminally minded.
Indeed. I do not believe that people in one place are actually more friendly than others. It's more that they seem more friendly.

Last edited by De Klauw; June 1st, 2012 at 12:04 AM.
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Old June 1st, 2012, 12:07 AM   #176
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[QUOTE=Tchek;91943903]The friendliness of the North is not due to it being "latin" imo. I'm sure that people in regions like Liverpool and places like Chicago are known to be "friendly" too, but they are not "latin". They all share a difficult past and post-industrialism.
Yes, Nord-pas-de-calais are very close to Belgium in many ways and in mentality, they are a friendly folk.
QUOTE]


Good point. I guess when I think of friendly people here in the North East US I think of latinos because most other people in the north east are quite reserved and keep to themselves.

I think you and the others who mentioned it are right about the blue collar thing - blue collar people generally are friendlier and outgoing. I did notice that people in Liverpool were pretty friendly and outgoing. And in most blue collar cities in the US that is true - people in Houston (blue collar) are much friendlier than people in Dallas (white collar). So I think this analysis of Nord-pas-de-calais is correct.
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Old June 1st, 2012, 12:10 AM   #177
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So the region probably has a reputation similar to places such as Detroit or Flynt in the US .
Well, maybe Lille has a reputation in France similar to that of Detroit or Flint but I can tell you it definitely isn't like Detroit at all. The next set up pictures should make that clear.
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Old June 1st, 2012, 12:23 AM   #178
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I suspect that the widely acclaimed 'friendliness' of Liverpool people is partly due to the reasons given above, but also due to its Irish Catholic inheritance; and also due to its history as an international port - with multi-national communities mingling and their various comings and goings.

BTW 600West - I can tell that the street that you photographed was not in Liverpool, or indeed in England generally - because it was a three storey terrace. Similar terraces, that you would find in England, are always two storeys; although I can see how, to an untried eye, they would look identical.

A great and informative thread. Thanks.
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Old June 1st, 2012, 12:26 AM   #179
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Quote:
Originally Posted by De Klauw View Post
"The North" has a bad reputation in most of France anyway. (unfairly off course). Most French people depict The North as some kind of Russia with very bad and cold weather and grey buildings everywhere.
To be fair, I lived briefly in a little town south of Lille near Valenciennes... and it *was* really depressing and uneventful. People were friendly though very weird. But it was glooooomy. Couldn't stay longer there.

I was impressed by Lille though. I wish there was more Hausmannian buildings in Wallonia. They all seem to be in Flanders and Brussels.
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Old June 1st, 2012, 01:02 AM   #180
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What was the town? Denain?

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Well, maybe Lille has a reputation in France similar to that of Detroit or Flint but I can tell you it definitely isn't like Detroit at all. The next set up pictures should make that clear.
Though once you get away from central Lille, you really do find some economically devastated areas. Of course the urban history was very different from that of Detroit to begin with so I don't think you can fin an equivalent to these areas right outside the Detroit CBD, former blue collar African American districts that are slowly loosing population and are getting eaten away by nature.

But many municipalities in the North are still pretty devastated (Calais, Roubaix and Tourcoing are the most famous, but there are many others) although the brick architecture made them less prone to decay than the US rustbelt.
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