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Say ‘bonjour’ or it’s ‘au revoir’, French mayor demands

© Google Street View

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2012-12-02

Residents of a small French town (pictured) in the Oise region to the north of Paris will have to mind their manners in future after their mayor introduced a new regulation forcing people to be courteous when speaking to staff at the town hall.

A mayor in France's northern Oise region is leading the charge to improve politeness by introducing a law forcing people to remember their Ps and Qs.

A poll earlier this year revealed “lack of manners” was the number one cause of stress for 60 percent of French people and Gerard Plée, the mayor of the small town of Lhéraule, to the north of Paris, has taken action to ease that anxiety for the 185 residents.

From now on, visitors to the town hall will be asked to leave the building if they do not say ‘hello’ or ‘thank you’ to staff.

The decree, designed to enforce “social standards in the municipality”, will be applied when there is a “concrete example” of a breach of courtesy.

No grumpy people allowed

“I believe that when people enter the town hall they should comply with certain practices like saying hello and goodbye as well as please and thank you,” said Plée. “Being polite is the basic gesture of respect towards others which is needed for people to live together in harmony.”

“If I don’t introduce this rule I have no power to take action against these people because there is no law in France that forces people to say hello, and there’s no judge who will condemn someone for not saying it.”

A notice pinned up outside the door of the building warning visitors of the new regulation makes it clear exactly who the mayor has in mind, with “the eternally dissatisfied, the rancorous and any other grumpy people” all politely asked to mind their manners.

Thankfully, the mayor has accepted there are certain occasions in the town hall when stress and nerves can get in the way of basic courtesy, so he has agreed the decree will not be enforced on election day or on wedding days.

Date created : 2012-12-02


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