Only the French Admit to Still Smoking

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There was a telling moment as we were touring a chalet at La Ferme de Marie, an upscale hotel chain with outposts here in Megeve, Province, Lyon and other French cities. Our tour guide was showing us the upstairs bedroom of a beautiful large wooden beamed chalet that was available to rent for a week at a time, and was usually taken for most of the winter months. I looked down at an ashtray with a pack of matches perched on top. “How many people smoke in these rentals?” I asked.

Well, that’s not a problem any more, said Caroline, the company rep. But the French law prohibits us from banning smoking in rooms, because the law says that it’s like someone’s home. They have the right to smoke so you can’t put up no smoking signs. But most people go outside, so we don’t have a problem with rooms smelling like smoke. I looked again at the ashtray..then Bob asked a question of the eight women in the room with us.

“How many people here smoke?” Sheepishly, only three hands went up, of nine. They were all French, no Americans admitted to still keeping up the habit. “I quit every two months,” said our guide, joking about how she almost always is tempted to buy those huge 500-cigarette boxes you see in duty free. But she said she probably wouldn’t buy one again, since she’s about to quit–really.