So we went to La Belle France for our holiday this year. Three weeks in beautiful, sunny, unspoilt countryside went too quickly and we returned to miserable, damp, dank England. This year's french destination was Brittany near the town of Lamballe. The gite was really comfortable (details here) and the isolation was wonderful.
There are lots of positives about being in France - mostly the weather - and I have been pondering the differences between France and the UK. Here are of 3 things that the french do well and 3 things that they do not-so-well.
1. Food - of course. The supermarkets stock mostly local produce and the fruit and vegetables are seasonal. Buying local produce at the market is even better - we ate wonderful strawberries, apricots and peaches. We bought cheese, bread, local pate, crepes and, my favourite - mussels.
2. Roads - sounds odd, I know, but french roads are in so much better condition than roads in the UK. OK, so the french population per square kilometre is smaller than the UK, therefore less traffic, but driving is fairly stress-free. (Map reading is another story). Apart from the peripherque around Paris, I find driving in France rather relaxing except - why do we always get lost in Nantes when we go to The Vendee?
3. Flowers - it must be the climate but french flowers are always so much brighter and bigger than in the UK. I don't grow hortensias (hydrangeas) because they look washed out but in France they are bigger and brighter.
1. Electricity - yikes! Why haven't they all electrocuted themselves? We stopped off at a pension in Avranches on our way to down to Lamballe for the night and the light switch was just outside the shower curtain. There was also an electric socket beside the sink.
2. Dogs - I love dogs but I don't love dog poo. NOBODY picks it up and I had a few strong words with a local who let his dog defecate outside our gate before casually walking on. My french is not good but I think I made myself understood. (He kept tapping his head and then pointing at me - what could he mean)?? The french love their dogs and go in for the strangest of pooches, we always have a competition to see who can spot the ugliest mutt. Also, the Dogs Prohibited signs in restaurants and supermarkets are mostly treated by the french as merely a suggestion. It's so funny to see a dog in a supermarket trolley or sitting at the table with a napkin round its neck.
3. Music - The french don't do popular music well, everything has a eurovision sound to it. And who told Johnny Hallyday that leather trousers were sexy????? I rest my case.
Guess where we are going for our vacation next year? and I'm going to get Jackson a pet passport so he can come too. Vive la difference!
Check out all my holiday photos on http://www.flickr.com/photos/glassprimitif/