A Classy Wedding in an Ancient Part of France

This weekend we went to a wedding in rural France.

The affair was held in an ancient church, in an ancient town, in an ancient part of an ancient continent. On the ceiling of the stone church were frescoes painted in the 11th century. On the columns, were designs that dated from the same epoch, but had the curious wavy-gravy look of ’60s tie-dyed ties.

As foreigners, we never know what we’re looking at. Is this the real France? Or is this a precious little bit of France that has somehow managed to resist the trends of modern politics and culture?

People were well-dressed. And well-mannered. Most were good looking and much better turned out than you would see at the typical American wedding. Almost elegant. But this was no typical French wedding either. In France, the gap between the classes seems much clearer and more rigid than in America. People from different social milieus don’t mix. A large American wedding might be expected to have a cross-section of American society. Some rich, some poor. Some cultivated and educated. Some not. American families get jumbled up and mixed. But these people all seemed to be a part of the same group.

“We live in a small apartment in Paris,” explained a couple we met. “It is so small we can barely seat 6 people for dinner. We do our socializing out here. We try to come most weekends. And, of course, we come for the summer vacation.

“Paris is just a place to work. It’s hard to have a social life in Paris.”

Their parents have a magnificent chateau, emblematic of the couple’s social status. But in Paris, they are just another couple trying to make ends meet.

The wedding mass included chants and songs in Latin. The couple then swore a special oath in front of the local Virgin – one in the bride’s family chapel – as the two-hundred guests enjoyed foie gras and champagne on the lawn outside.

“You Americans must like this sort of thing,” said a guest who had had a little too much to drink. He was a short fellow, clean cut with closely cropped hair. He looked as though he might have worked for the Nixon administration if the Nixon team had included any Frenchmen. “You get to study us as though we were savages on some remote island somewhere. It’s a sort of ethnography, I suppose.

“Well, you have to remember, that this is not France as it is. This is France as it was. We are royalists. Petainists. Ultra-catholic. Ultra- conservative. We are the people who don’t exist anymore.

“You go to Paris now. You take the subway. You will find yourself surrounded by Muslims, blacks and communists. We are perfectly happy with the Muslims and blacks. But the communists have ruined the country. Now, more and more people don’t work. And those who do work have to carry the non-workers on their backs. Plus, the government makes it harder and harder for them to work.

“In my business, we get someone on a three-week contract. If that works out okay, we put them on another three-week contract. And if that works out, we let them stay for 6 months. We have to be very cautious. Because once you get someone on board permanently, they’re almost impossible to get rid of. Practically every business operates with employees who are worthless. It’s amazing they operate at all.

“Well, these kinds of things make the country less and less competitive…and put us deeper and deeper in debt. And with the politics we have, there is no way out. Because the people – the voters – are imbeciles.

“The whole idea of democracy is stupid. Countries…nations…societies…are not meant to be led by the common people. The common people are by definition blockheads. They live like pigs. And think like mules. Or sheep.

“That’s why there is always an elite. The elite should lead. That’s their proper function…to help put the rest of the people on a better path. It wasn’t the common people who built Versailles, after all. It wasn’t the ordinary voter who designed the Eiffel Tower, or found a cure for pneumonia. And the idea that the common people should determine – by their superior numbers – what happens to a whole society is absolutely preposterous. And I can tell you…the experiment with popular democracy is going to end badly, as they always do.

“The people are going to continue to demand more benefits, more holidays, more health care and more protections…until we finally go broke.”


Bill Bonner
for Markets and Money

Bill Bonner

Bill Bonner

Since founding Agora Inc. in 1979, Bill Bonner has found success and garnered camaraderie in numerous communities and industries. A man of many talents, his entrepreneurial savvy, unique writings, philanthropic undertakings, and preservationist activities have all been recognized and awarded by some of America’s most respected authorities. Along with Addison Wiggin, his friend and colleague, Bill has written two New York Times best-selling books, Financial Reckoning Day and Empire of Debt. Both works have been critically acclaimed internationally. With political journalist Lila Rajiva, he wrote his third New York Times best-selling book, Mobs, Messiahs and Markets, which offers concrete advice on how to avoid the public spectacle of modern finance. Since 1999, Bill has been a daily contributor and the driving force behind Markets and Money.
Bill Bonner

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2 Comments on "A Classy Wedding in an Ancient Part of France"

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Wow. That is a sad story. In 2000 I spent the summer in London. It was similar. I spent many evenings talking to locals in a neighborhood pub. It was shocking to hear old (50ish) guys telling me that the government’s job was to be our parents. The government tells us what to do, and takes care of us. The had spent their whole lives under the nanny state. I met a number of girls in their 20s. They all had college degrees (accounting, engineering, etc.), but lived at home with their parents. The typical salary was 18,000 pounds. Not… Read more »
jennifer arfa
And so I read an article, A Classy Wedding in an Ancient Part of France. I am going to France soon, but only to Paris. No chance of observing what this writer did: “a precious part of France that somehow managed to resist the trends of modern politics and culture”. The elite group of people who attended this wedding struck a chord with me initially, because they appeared to look a bit like how T2 might look to an observer: more attractive (more healthy and fit), more elegant (more present), more well-mannered (more conscious and self disciplined), more educated (no… Read more »
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