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A Bastille Day checklist of all the times Bangkok really wasn't kind to French culture

When Bangkokians get hold of French culture, it spells trouble. In honor of Bastille Day, here are five times when our love of all things French went way, way too far.  

By BK staff | Jul 14, 2017

  • A Bastille Day checklist of all the times Bangkok really wasn't kind to French culture

The French love Bangkok. The TAT predicts that around 700,000 of them flow through Thailand every year. That’s awesome and we hope they all have a lovely time, but we do ask one thing: please, please don’t leave behind any more of your own culture, because France is decidedly the worst thing that ever happened to Bangkok. Don’t believe us? Just take a look at these five major offences Bangkokians have committed against Frenchness over the years.

1. La Vie En Rose

Which one of these does the sound of Edith Piaf’s tragedy-inflected voice remind you of? A) Ancient cobbled streets in the Montmartre; B) Sultry cafes packed with gitane-smoking waifs; C) J Avenue. For anyone who’s grown up with an Au Bon Pain on their doorstep, La Vie En Rose will forever be connected with iced mocha lattes, lapdogs and tuna-cheese croissants—way to kick French culture when it’s already down.
 

2. Macarons

Pierre Herme studied baking from the age of 14 to perfect the macaron-making craft to such an art that, in 2016, Vanity Fair magazine named him the fourth most influential French person in the world. Screw that. Instead, follow our handy guide to opening your own thriving macaron enterprise in Bangkok: 1) Sign up for a bakery workshop at Le Cordon Bleu. This will take a whole six hours and cost B8,500, but will let you describe yourself as a “Le Cordon Bleu Chef” for the rest of your life; 2) Find a good Instagram handle (see below for some business naming inspiration); 3) Hire a French guy fed up with working at some big five-star hotel to do all the work. Et voila! You’re in business.

 

3. Section 44

The government’s own public relations website makes no bones about the fact that Section 44 and its dictatorial powers come straight out of the French Constitution of 1958. It took Field Marshall Sarit Thanarat a whole year before he picked up on the catch-all clause and adopted it for his own charter. Nice going, Sarit. If it takes Bangkok that long to get the Vuitton x Supreme drop, we’re moving. Or at least taking a trip to Union Mall to see what they can do.

 

4. Business Names

If there’s anything about Bangkok that’s bound to make the French population raise their hands to the sky and utter a collective sacrebleu!, it’s the things we’ll do to their language in search of a good business name. A recent case in point: Jardin de la Boutique, a new womenswear boutique whose name literally means Garden of the Shop. And then there’s Casa Lapin, which, once you’ve switched from Spanish to French and done a little syntactical juggling, comes out as Rabbit House. Of course, both these places are mobbed with customers so clearly they know better than us. Actually, given the national decline in media sales, we now declare ourselves BK de Magazine!

 

5. Foie gras

OK, we’ll admit it. Foie gras sushi with a drizzle of teriyaki sauce tastes unbelievable. There, we said it. Now, can we move onto all the wrong things Bangkok does with the fatty, corn-fed livers of overstuffed geese, like coating it in milk chocolate, an idea so bad it once nearly made us puke on the white rug of a newly opened hotel. Or—and we have to physically restrain ourselves from facepalming as we write this—foie gras pad krapao. You may now run to the bathroom.

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