Tag Archives: people

Grenoble – an Indian’s view

Bhargav Prasanna Swaminathan in Grenoble

Bhargav Prasanna Swaminathan has come to Grenoble from India to do a Master’s in engineering. He shares his first impressions of life in the Captial of the Alps from an Indian perspective.

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One Monday at Montessori International (part III)

In a three-part blog Camille Bromley describes a day in the life of a teacher at the Montessori International School of Grenoble. Read part III. Continue reading One Monday at Montessori International (part III)

“Are you being served?” Service in Grenoble from an English pespective

Attractive watering hole for a thirsty Englishman - or is it?
Attractive watering hole for a thirsty Englishman - or is it?

As an Anglophone in Grenoble you may, like me, have had something of an adjustment period regarding the service culture in France. There are several deeply instilled beliefs that you may have to abandon like the hardest of bad habits, for instance the not necessarily culturally-translatable motto “the customer is always right”. The customer and server are altogether different beasts from those ‘back home’, wherever that may be, with service ranging from a brutal efficiency that sometimes borders on the violent (I’ve been served in restaurants where the laying of table should be conducted with the warning “keep your limbs inside the vehicle at all times’), to active disinterest (there are occasions in Paquet Jardin where I have practically had to beg to be served) and, occasionally, downright hostility.

Dealing with the first two forms is less problematic, it is easy to put a surly career waiter down to experience, and as shoppers from the UK’s chain-store ridden retail universe can attest, active disinterest is not such a shock to the system. The third variety is, I confess, a rather unpleasant novelty for me. I have become convinced, rather irrationally, that the staff in my local boulangerie hate me. Going there to part with my hard-earneds – which I have done sheepishly for nearly two years – has become a source of dread to me. Not only have I failed to engage in any kind of meaningful banter (more on that later) with the proprietors, but I have become convinced that they deliberately select the poorest quality bread to give me as a way of warning off my future custom. Other customers, especially those with kids it seems, are greeted with the kind of bonhomie that leaves me feeling envious and inadequate, while I am not granted even a flicker of recognition for my loyal custom. Continue reading “Are you being served?” Service in Grenoble from an English pespective