11. Epilogue France Visit

7 Oct

Right now I’m in a new, unnamed country. Well the country has a name, it’s just that I have decided not to reveal it yet. You know, the suspension and all that.

The reason for this delay is because I wanted to write a little more about my visit to France. It used to be that I went to Germany all the time – and I still do – but I realized just now that during my latest travels to Europe (including this one) I’ve been to France way more than I’ve been to Germany. This is unusual for me.

One thing I noticed about this trip vs. Dec 2014 and Feb 2014 is that there are armed soldiers patrolling the streets of Paris. From what I can tell they seem to be mostly in the tourist and jewish areas (I didn’t really go anywhere else).

This decision to deploy the army domestically is a difficult one for me. On one hand I think it’s a good thing but on the other hand I think it’s a bad thing. Allow me to elaborate / explain.

Good Thing

When there’s no war going on France is essentially paying their soldiers to sit around and play solitaire or (hopefully) some sort of European-style board game (where do I sign up?) Maybe it’s a good thing to get them off their butts and walking around (how quickly can I resign?)

These soldiers are carrying what looks to me to be some variant the FAMAS-F1 assault rifle – a quality weapon. The shorter barrel length maintains all the advantages (muzzle velocity, accuracy) of a conventionally configured rifle while improving on maneuverability and reducing weight.

If there is any sort of incident, these soldiers will make short work of the bad guys.

It does show off to the world (or at least visitors to Paris) some of France’s most attractive citizens. French people are (in general) very beautiful but these uniformed soldiers are fit and uniformed and beautiful – a triple threat. That one lady soldier we saw was smoking hot and all the guy soldiers were very good looking too.

Are they army or the marines? The Domestic French Foreign Legion?

Are they Army or the Air Force? Merchant Marines? The Domestic French Foreign Legion?

Bad Thing

What the fuck is going on that has armed soldiers patrolling the streets? Is France having an October Crisis or something and why didn’t I hear about it?

Is this a permanent thing or are their any plans to address whatever it is that made the government decide to deploy these guys in the first place? Publicly deploying the army domestically during peacetime doesn’t really promote Paris as a safe place to visit.

If there’s an incident at Montmartre with the guys who assaulted / extorted my mother back in 2008, it is unknown what these soldiers are going to do if there are no police around. This information is important #DontShootMe

It’s not the army’s mandate to operate in the urban environment of a city that is not at war and is populated by millions of their fellow countrymen and harmless tourists from Canada. Do the soldiers have the proper training for this mission?


I also have some general questions. If anyone out there in Internet world has the answers, please feel free to leave them in the comments.

Am I allowed to talk to the soldiers? I’m fascinated by the army and I would love to sit down with these guys and buy them a few beers. I almost joined up myself but my mild dyslexia prevented me from enlisting. Well, that and my fear of pushups.

How much does their gear weigh?

How do they stay hydrated in the summer?

What is the protocol for going to the toilet? (The French don’t use the term “washroom” unless there’s a bathtub in there.) They’re not wearing army diapers under their body armour are they? It must take like forty minutes to get dressed and undressed.

How long does it take them to get dressed and undressed?

Do they get coffee breaks? Lunch? Do the majority of soldiers brownbag it or do they eat at the McDo?

In the winter do they wear uniforms that are all white? And when it snows do they ski around Paris like Finland did against Russia during the Winter War (1939-1940)? If the answer is “no” maybe this is something they should consider. The Finns had a lot of success with this tactic.

What sort of support are they able to call in? Armour? Airstrikes? Some sort of amphibious assault vehicle that rises out of the river?

Do the Geneva Convention and the laws of war override French domestic law?

Are the police pleased or annoyed to have these guys walking around and getting all the attention from the tourists?

I'm going to guess "annoyed" (this guess is based on what the police officers from this photo are doing - issuing a parking ticket while wearing rollerblades)

I’m going to guess “annoyed” (this guess is based on what the police officers from this photo are doing – issuing a parking ticket for some guy’s tricycle while wearing rollerblades)

Do they take they guns home at night or do they have to leave them somewhere? Is there an army base in the middle of Paris or have they rented some space in the police headquarters?

Anyway, when presented with a subject like this one I usually lean in one direction or the other but this time I’m actually quite balanced. I might have to do some more thinking. Maybe if the Internet answers some of my questions I will be able to come to some satisfactory conclusion.

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