In A Year in the Merde:
- (Jean-Marie Martin) on traffic:
Red lights are like queues. They are for people who have time to waste.
- on sex:
Sex is wonderful, but it's like champagne. If you're forced to have four glasses at every meal you start to fantasize about a glass of water.
- on Parisians' attitude to work:
[After some time] I found that I understood a lot more about Parisians' attitude to work. Workdays became a mild irritant inserted between weekends. Friday afternoons were little more than a short period after lunch during which you checked the internet for traffic jams on the routes out of town.
The Communists were promising retirement for all state employees at age 35. The Socialists were proposing absolutely nothing because they couldn't elect a leader who would propose things. The centre-right parties (of which there were about ten) were all promising employers that they would no longer have to pay workers and would be exempt from prosecution for any industrial pollution that killed fewer than 100,000 people. The far right was proposing, less realistically, to have immigrants barbecued in every place du marché on Friday nights. And in a similar vein, the rural party promised to change the law on endangered species so that hunters could now shoot dodos, unicorns, mermaids and American tourists. (See also Politics of France and in particular List of political parties in France.)
- on Marianne, the symbol of France:
This was Marianne, the revolutionary heroine, the French equivalent of Uncle Sam. This being France, instead of a bearded old uncle who looks as if he should be advertising fried chicken, they have a seminaked woman.
- and on French politicians: