For a long time, France and its culture have been one and the same. The greatness of the former added to the influence of the latter, and vice versa. French writers, artists and philosophers were at the centre of the world’s attention and enjoyed unparalleled prestige. Of this past glory, all that is left today is navel-gazing, nostalgia, and timidity. This was the disabused verdict reached by Donald Morrison, an American in Paris, at the conclusion his inquiry into the place of French culture in the world. The creativity of its artists may be undeniable, but the influence (ghostlike) and the importance (derisory) of France in cultural exchanges both go to show that French culture no longer speaks to the world. This decline ultimately suits the French national mentality, inclined as it is to lamentation and sorrow.