Are there lots of mimes in France?

In pop culture, any depiction of a stereotypical French scene is sure to feature a mime dressed in black pants and red-and-white striped shirt. How accurate is this? Is France really infested with mimes?

I believe it’s just a reference to the famous French mime Marcel Marceau.

not the way i hear it.

I’ve been to France twice. The first time in the 80’s, the second time this past May.

Neither time did I see any. We spent 8 days in Paris alone this last time, and while there were street performers I didn’t see a single mime.

Perhaps they knew I was coming and hid?

'Cause I hate me some fucking lame ass mimes!!!:mad:

Nope. No berets, no striped shirts, no onion necklaces nor Jerry Lewis fans either.

That’s kind of disappointing, like going to Canada and not seeing any polar bears.

I’m in France right now.
We didn’t see any mimes, but there sure are plenty of scam artists!
(Google “dropped ring”)

Onion Johnnies are a Breton thing, not the whole of France - and they still exist, although largely as a preserved tradition now.

I didn’t know some were still around ! That’s actually kinda cool.

But yes, they were a thing, like berets, Edith Piaf or extra-thin cigarettes, that were common or popular in the mid-40s when Yanks came as a big wave of tourists all up northern France to enjoy our sunny, mined beaches. So they naturally brought those stories with them back to the US, building a stereotype that endures to this day even though France has obviously changed a lot since then - y’all just didn’t get the developer’s patches :D.

One stereotype that still is somewhat true however : accordions might just be played at you in Paris, in the subways and around Montmartre especially.
But there again it’s mostly a dying generation of dudes surviving from the 50s-60s-70s when la java and les bals populaires were still a thing. Younger buskers mostly play the violin or guitar these days. Easier to learn, doesn’t sound like a casus belli.

In Belgium, a few years ago, there did seem to be an excessive number of living statues - that is people made up to look like statues and trying to extract money from tourists for having their photo’s taken.

Yes, this. Marcel Marceau was by far the most famous mime that there has ever been. Very possibly he was the only person ever to be significantly famous as a mime. Many other mimes imitate him. He happened to be French.

For the win :wink:

Well other posters have made the point, but my answer to the question would be, “No, there [was] one mime in France, and his name was Marcel Marceau.”

Although Marceau was certainly the most famous, I would argue that Shields and Yarnell also qualify as famous mimes.

Indeed. Mimes had always struggled getting their grievances heard by the public at large. Marceau was their voice and acted as their loudspeaker all over the world. He did a lot to further the mimes’ freedom of speech.

The mimes were always at odds with The Oral Majority.

Marceau is the most famous modern mime, but he drew on a French tradition of mime going back a long way. The classic French film Children of Paradise in large part revolves around a character based on the famous mime Jean-Gaspard Deburau, known as Baptiste, of the 1820s-1840s.

They plague Chicago, as well. I’m guessing they’re Cybermen, and that they have infiltrated every large city.

Where are you seeing all these? I’ve never seen one.

Obligatory mime scene from Tootsie.

Did you look for them in french scorpion pits?