France: Garcon! Souriez!

Caricatured on the Continent as camera-toting innocents abroad, the first postwar wave of American tourists descended happily on gay Paree. They weren't quite as dumb as Europeans liked to think, but France was still an unexplored territory. And with prices low compared to the U.S., the early tourists didn't care too much if the garçon sneered at what they knew was a very generous tip, or if a sullen taxi driver overcharged them.

They care now. The French government discovered with a shock last year that though more and more tourists were arriving—at...

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