If you are a regular visitor to this blog you’ll know that I often write about France and the French, comparing it/them to the UK and the Brits, and various people have asked me what makes me such an expert on the subject, so here goes:
I am bilingual and have a French (and Spanish) degree; I studied French culture, society, history and politics as part of my degree. I lived in France for 7 months as a student, and upon graduating I moved to the French Riviera where I then lived for the next 12 years. I am married to a Frenchman and we raise our half French/half English daughters bilingually and biculturally (in London now but previously in France).
Despite living in Nice and the surrounding area and having some non-French friends I didn’t live the expat life; I generally worked for French companies, alongside mostly French colleagues, or ran my own company in the French system. During my time in France the majority of my friends were French, and I was in a serious relationship with a Frenchman, who spoke little English, for 3 years before meeting Hubs who I only spoke French with for the first 3 years of our relationship. Over the last 15 years I have spent a lot of time with both my ex-boyfriend’s family and my in-laws, with whom I only speak French.
Whilst I was in France I mixed with a very broad cross-section of society, from cleaning ladies to lawyers, from bartenders to high level directors so saw a variety of ways of living, from those living in small studio apartments, scraping by on very little, to those living in mansions with no money worries.
I feel that all of the above allows me to comment on France and the French, and to make comparisons between their country and culture and the UK and the Brits (being British myself and having lived in the UK for 25 years).
Voilà! Now you know everything!