On the 9th of August we made our annual trip to France.
For our first night, we stayed in Novotel near Senlis, the first bedroom we were given was not quite clean enough as we found some hair in the bath, I went down to reception and asked to change. This was done without too much fuss but with very little apology from the very young receptionist. Staff there seemed all very young and somewhat immature. I had to wait for over 10 minutes at the bar for a bottle of water as the barman could not work the billing system.
On Sunday we went to Park Asterix www.parcasterix.fr in the north of Paris. Asterix is a small Gaul cartoon character from Uderzo and Goscinny. The story of Asterix and his compatriots is that they fight the invading Romans as the last unconquered village in Gaul. I always make the analogy of this park fighting against the might of Disney who also has a park near Paris. The thought of Asterix being the guardian of French culture against the invading American culture rejoices me.
In the evening we went to have a look around Senlis. Although very pretty Senlis on a Sunday evening was like a ghost town, most shops were closed as you would expect in a French town on a Sunday. We eventually found a Brasserie and a Pizzeria open. The Brasserie was not serving dinner in the evening and the pizzeria owners told us at 18:55 that they were not open yet as they opened at 19:00… I know that France is still in the grip of the 35 hours week madness brought in by the last socialist government but in view of the number of tourists walking around the town, I seriously question the need of the restaurateurs in this town to earn money.
On Tuesday we went to the “Park Aventure Montoz’arbres” this park is in a small village called Échassières. They have taken over part of the forest and made several trails high in the trees. Visitors are given a harness and helmet, briefed on safety and let loose up the trees. This was quite exciting and new. The trails are classed in colour in the same way ski trails are, the black run being the most difficult. The staff is not overly friendly and certainly lacks of smiles. I would fire the marketing manager immediately as although the place is very new, it only opened last summer, it is difficult to find as there are very few road signs and they could not even be bothered to have a proper website done as they use a free website template, which looks awfull. The staff does not speak any foreign languages, there are no leaflets in any foreign languages
Noyant velorail was closed on a Thursday during the busy summer season… I shan’t bother again! Instead we went to the Buddhist temple in Noyant. Although the incessant rain hampered our visit of the garden, the temple itself was lovely and so was the staff who offered us a cup of tea.
In the area where I usually take my holiday, most industries have disappeared and are only left agriculture and tourism. Farmers in France have such power over the government that I have absolutely no concern over their wellbeing. After all if they are not getting what they want, they block the roads and soon the government gives in! I am more interested in tourism, my parents were restaurateurs; I have even been one in a previous life he point I want to make really is the rather poor service given in hotels and restaurants in France. I am not sure whether I have become more difficult after my move to Japan where service is excellent but France’s standards have gone down.
How successful can you be as a tourist destination if nobody smiles or speak a foreign language?