If you’re familiar with national stereotypes, you may think the French are a non-showering, non-armpit-shaving, overall pungent people.
As it turns out, the French do have olfactory standards, as demonstrated by a case, reported by the Local, in which an impoverished family was booted out of the Musée d’Orsay for smelling bad.
The couple and their child were visiting the famous museum with volunteers from “Everyone Act for Dignity,” a charity group that works with underprivileged individuals, when security guards forced them to leave because, a charity volunteer told the Local, other museumgoers were “complaining about their smell.”
When asked about the incident, museum management told the outlet they were “saddened” and noted their broad range of charitable involvement.
Bruno Tardieu, a representative for “Everyone Act for Dignity,” said the Musée d’Orsay staff was essentially racist.
“We live in a social apartheid and when you break that apartheid these kind of things happen,” Tardieu told the Local. “The museum is trying to make an effort to open up to these kinds of poor people but some members of the public don’t like it. Some of them think ‘let’s give poor people food, but leave the museums for us.'”
He added, “The general public have to understand that this is a kind of racism.”
Along with people who apparently literally turn up their noses at their poor, smelly countrymen, the Musée d’Orsay is home to the works of such artists as Édouard Manet, Claude Monet and Vincent van Gogh.
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