I’ve been posting Status Updates on Face book for years now but certainly the one that has gotten most comments and thumbs up is that about being banned from a Parisian Bar for incivility. I’ve never been banned from a bar in my life, not even during the alcoholic excesses of my twenties. And even now I maintain it wasn’t my fault. Not really…

It was last night in the bar Rosa Bonheur at the Parc du Buttes Chaumont, a gorgeous green basin in the 19th where hundreds of Parisians and expats had come to drink wine, soak up the mild August evening and watch the sun set over the trees.

I was meeting Rachel, her pal Andrea visiting from Germany and Clare, a British expat of 16 years , whose knowledge of the best vintage shops in Paris I fully intend to poach. As it does, the conversation came around to the French and in this instance the notorious Parisian service. Now I’ve always maintained that French service is fine but I now suspect that for my first few months here I was so wide eyed and eager that being mean to me would have been like kicking a puppy.

As I emerge from my honeymoon period, I have begun to notice some incivility kicking in. And indeed, apparently uncharacteristically, Clare, just back from a trip to ‘friendly’ Britain’ fumed against 16 years worth of surliness. Anyway, a few wines down, we all agreed that the only way to deal with the rudeness was to echo it back, squared! Not the best point at which to offer to go to the bar.

As I went to stroll through the barriers into the café, I suddenly had my wrist roughly grabbed by the bouncer. I thought I’d accidentally skipped the queue but no, he wanted to search my bag. Fair enough, all it contained was some ripped up metro tickets, an arrondisment poche map and some lipsticks, so I let him and through I went. In fact I even managed slip in a 30 second flirtation with the very friendly barman while trying to order crisps.

However when I went to head back out to the park through the barriers with my bottle of wine, the same bouncer started to order me back. It’s at times like this you remember that yes, France is actually a police state. Apparently the park was closing and any drinks had to be had inside, but he wouldn’t even let me out to tell the others to come in. (Remember that I’ve reduced my mobile to a useless water feature.).

Funnily enough there is something very dis-inhibiting about trying to argue in a foreign language, it’s quite a rush in fact. And then Andrea, looking for me, got in on the game. As soon as the bouncer turned his back she hissed at me to slip her the bottle to smuggle out, the wet slippy bottle, which she then proceeded to drop in front of the bouncer with a load clunk which seemed to resound around the park!

I didn’t actually understand all of what he said to me but from his tone and his furrowed brow I picked up enough to gather that when I went out I was to stay out. Tip to punters, when you get up on your high horse with a French bouncer, remember he holds the reins.

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