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The Two Sides of the French Psyche Both sides of the French psyche are in full evidence in Paris, where long lunches seem to be an essential part of doing business.
Some French employees are entitled to more than 40 vacation days a year.
That's why France plays a key role in the rescue of the euro.
But France's problem is that it can't decide whether it wants to be part of the north or the south.
Conversely, many work longer days than their German counterparts.
And there is also an elite consciousness among those at the top of society, which they have worked hard to earn in management schools and top universities.
But at the same time, what France cherishes about itself is its southern side.
It sees itself as a Mediterranean country and is proud of its way of life, an area in which it feels superior to the Germans -- and the rest of the world.
One of the reasons France is currently such a difficult partner in Europe is that the country Hollande represents is old-fashioned -- and hopelessly in love with the idea of being old-fashioned.
It lives in the past, and even when it knows that it's in trouble, it refuses to change.