Sometimes we just need someone to shed light on a situation

The other day my husband said; “you should write about that hotel story, I didn’t even think about it until you pointed it out.”

So here goes the hotel story, which dates back to April. We had received a gift card that we could use in different hotels around France. We chose a hotel-castle in a beautiful region called “Midi-Pyrénées”. Around the city of Rodez there are castles every 5 minutes (almost!) and picturesque villages, many of them part of the voted “most beautiful villages in France”.

I took care of the booking; one night via the gift card arrangement and one night via I also had some correspondence directly with the hotel. The castle was beautiful and we had a very nice stay. When leaving, the hotel director asked how we liked it and asked us if we could please rate them on I noticed that he only spoke to my husband, and he seemed annoyed when I spoke, but I pushed it aside as being too sensitive.

However… a few days later I rated them on and I additionally received a rating request directly from the hotel, addressed to “Monsieur Heggertveit-Aoudia” (who doesn’t exist, by the way, this is my maiden name connected to my married name). That’s when I got upset and also rather puzzled; how can they ignore half of their guests? This is a place where mostly couples go, but they only ask the man for feedback. After I had calmed down a bit, I wrote back kindly suggesting that they send their feedback requests to “Monsieur ou Madame” or “Monsieur et Madame”. In this way they include all their guests, yet can use their standardized version. I also informed them that foreign guests would find their approach rather impolite. To date they have not responded to my feedback.

I find it amazing. I did the booking, I did the correspondence, we both stayed at the hotel, yet they are only interested in my husband’s opinion. They rule out half of their clients! (Big sales bummer, I’d say)

I have mentioned this story to a few people, and indeed, the French people I have talked with say that it is not unusual here and they don’t really think about it. When I point it out, however, they do see that it is rather strange.

It is a detail or “a pebble”.  But, when I look at all the “pebbles” in French life and how women are addressed, it becomes a mountain.