by Gregory Viscusi, bloomberg.com
June 18, 2015 — 7:53 AM EDT
The French shouldn’t be too French when they visit the U.S.
That’s the advice being doled out by the French government to its citizens visiting America. Along with warnings about slower speed limits, higher drinking ages and hurricanes in Texas, the French foreign ministry adds a note of warning against being too “Latin.”
“It’s recommended to adopt a reserved attitude toward those of the opposite sex,” it says. “Comments, behavior, and jokes, which might be harmless in Latin countries, can lead to criminal cases,” the ministry’s website says.
Reinforcing French views of American prudishness, the website notes that even minors can be accused of sexual harassment, and asks that children use toilets reserved for their sex in the U.S.
It is unclear when the recommendations were posted. However, as the French prepare for their summer break, the counsel will be taken note of. No one at the French foreign affairs ministry was immediately available to comment.
Among other advice to the French in America: “keep calm in all circumstances” since some states authorize the carrying of weapons. It asks visitors to avoid raising their voice or making sudden or aggressive gestures at the police.
The U.S. has no specific travel warnings for France, according to the State Department’s website. In its general information pages, it asks American tourists to steer clear of demonstrations, notes that there are fewer facilities for the disabled and points out that tests for joining France’s Foreign Legion are demanding.