What I love about France
Recently I wrote a couple of blog posts (here and here) about why I can’t see myself moving back to France anytime soon. Notably in the second one I listed the negatives about France (and the French Riviera in particular), which helped me to make the decision to leave that beautiful part of the world 4 years ago.
I feel really bad about only sharing the downside to a country that I still consider my home (in the same way I thought of the UK as home when I lived in France for 12 years). So this blog post is going to be all about what I love about France, the French, and the French Riviera.
In the UK, around this time of year, it is light from around 4am until around 10pm, yet nobody has shutters on their windows. It drives me demented being woken up at stupid o’clock because of the vast amounts of light coming in through the flimsy curtains. This never bothered me before I moved to France, but now I’ve got used to absolute pitch black in the bedroom I really struggle sleeping with so much light.
I know that the Brits think the French are very unfunny. And it’s true that British humour is probably one of the best in the world. But French comedy is not to be knocked. Anyone who has watched “Les Bronzés” or “Les Bronzés font du ski” will back me up, I’m sure. Sadly they don’t translate well into English, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.
And where do you think Jean Dujardin, star of “The Artist” started out? In the French hit comedy series “Un gars, une fille”.
Having lived on the French Riviera for 12 years, I have to concur that the weather is a huge positive. Eating lunch on New Year’s Day on the beach in Juan les Pins with my feet in the sand, watching the Bastille Day fireworks on a warm summer’s evening in Nice, getting up early to drive from Nice to the local ski resort of Isola 2000 for a day’s skiing as a normal Saturday activity, walking out of our apartment to the end of the road and being on the beach, organising picnics and barbecues without having to worry about them being rained off, having a summer wardrobe that you can actually wear without freezing, needing sunglasses in my handbag all year long (just in case), and knowing that if the sky is grey today it’s unlikely to be that way tomorrow. These, and many more, are all things I loved, and that I miss, about the climate of the Côte d’Azur.
As you may have gathered, Hubs and I love our food (as you can tell from our food blog), and when you love food and wine then living in France is just perfection. Wine is cheap, so good wine is very reasonably-priced – I still want to cry every time I see the price of a bottle of wine here. Food is taken very seriously. It is not uncommon to be invited to somebody’s house for lunch at 12pm, and to still be at the table at 5pm. Food is sociable. Food is enjoyed. Of course everyday meals are often rushed and nothing special, like in the UK. But meals with friends are long, leisurely, and full of tastebud-tastic treats! The love of food, and a variety of food, is shared with children from a young age. L and C have both been eating all sorts of weird and wonderful grub from the youngest age: olives, blue cheese, radishes, capers, charcuterie, foie gras and more.
And I can’t talk about France and food without mentioning bread. I LOVE bread. And I love that in France you can find a boulangerie anywhere. With fresh bread. I miss stopping at my favourite boulangerie after collecting L from school, buying a baguette, sharing part of it on the way home with L, and then eating it with dinner, especially with the – daily – cheese course. And yes, I know you can get French bread in the UK. But it’s either nowhere near as good as in France, or stupidly expensive, or I need to do a massive detour to get it. Just as well the lovely Mel from Le Coin de Mel shared her easy crusty bread recipe with me, as this is my saviour!
There are many, many other aspects of France, the French and the French Riviera that I miss, but above all it is my lovely friends, family and adopted family across the channel that I miss the most – so I’m grateful for trips to France to see them. All in all though I think I will always consider France as being “chez moi”, as well as England, and that’s what makes me Franglaise 🙂