The French may have chopped off the heads of the aristocrats, but class structure still remains in their psyche. Bosses have become the new dictators who are unapproachable. Many workers dare not speak to their boss. He or she has taken the place of the old absolute monarch and his entourage. My husband, not being used to this, has always spoken to his head mistress and if he has a question, he goes straight to her. His colleagues would never dream of doing so. The boss must always be addressed with the ‘vous’ form of the verb, never as ‘tu’.

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