Today a stranger saw me standing in line to purchase a metro ticket and walked over to pass on the valid all-day 5 district metro card that she'd obviously finished with. As I was at least a 40 minute train trip outside of central Paris she saved me about €6 - which may not sound a lot - but equates to a decent bottle of wine. No prizes for guessing what I'd rather spend the money on.
I've also been (politely) asked for directions more than a few times (I obviously look like I know where I'm going) and had enough happy waiter experiences to dispute the fact that all French waiters are bastards.
The severely reduced amount of French that I know seems to suffice most situations - a smile and the use of one or two of my well executed phrases seem to bypass any confusion. And if not, no one is shaking their head or rolling their eyes. They've all been rather nice.
We just spent a few days in Italy, and the Italians on a whole (mass generalisations here) seem to be a wonderfully emotional, effusive bunch. Which I loved. There's a certain passion that seems to radiate from them - whether they're discussing the weather, giving directions or recommending a dish at a restaurant.
But I like the French. Despite reports to the contrary, they don't all behave as if they have a stick up their bum.
And cheers to you, stranger lady, it was a good bottle of wine.