French “Braille”


When my family and I first arrived in Paris, we headed straight for the Eiffel Tower. So did most of the world, it seemed. The lines for tickets and then for entrance were frustratingly long. At first, we didn’t care. We were in Paris! But after a while, being herded through queues with masses of people began to wear on our nerves. And we started to notice something: these people weren’t like us. We didn’t know where they were from, or who they were, but we started to notice an inordinate number of people doing something that was totally foreign to us.

They were picking their noses.

That’s gross enough, but there’s more. They were picking their noses and wiping it on the rails. And the ticket building. And on their pants. Right in front of us. In public.


We were horrifying enthralled.

We almost couldn’t stop watching these foreigners mining their noses for treasure. In part, we had to watch them if only to be forewarned where NOT to touch. We began to wonder how many boogers were dried to the rail and imagined that running your hand along the rail would be akin to feeling the bumps of a Braille alphabet. That became our code word: Braille. We started saying it any time we saw someone picking his/her nose in public. Sadly, we said it more than we ever thought we would.

I didn’t write this to gross you out. Rather, I’m giving you warning so you don’t wander into the Tower lines blindly. There’s Braille on those rails. Keep your hands to yourself.

This was my friendly ‘head’s-up.’ What’s yours?


22 responses to “French “Braille”

  1. Ewwww, horrible!! Can you imagine how gross many other places could be? I for example, think that escalators, more precisely the sides of the escalators where we normally put our hands, are really gross, I always avoid putting my hand on that!

    Ohh… if you ever go again to the Eiffel Tower, buy the ticket online, it is so much faster 😀

  2. hahahaha Oh dear. I wonder if they were people who went there specifically for that? That would be one mischievous Gallic sense of humor. Or is it just that we feel no need to follow rules when abroad? Or do they do this all the time? I don’t actually expect you to have asked them these questions, I’m perfectly happy wondering away by myself. Merci for the post!

    • Haha. I hope they didn’t go there specifically for that. I’m not sure where most of these people were from. It just seemed to be the norm among the crowds we saw. I wish I did know where they’d come from in case it’s someplace I travel in the future. I don’t want any “braille” taking me by surprise!

  3. In your honor I looked it up: Tu as une crotte de nez qui pend de ton nez. Translation: You have a booger hanging out your nose. 🙂 Never know when you might need that one. lol –Curt

    • It reminded me of my walk on the Great Wall of China. I actually saw people throwing their empty bottles and food wrappers down on the wall, littering. I just couldn’t believe it. What is wrong with people???

  4. LOL omg ew… I’m kind of glad I didn’t know about this when I went to visit the Eiffel Tower, and now it’s been long enough that I can’t remember if I touched any handrails. 😛

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