Travels: La Differance

16 05 2011

Hello once more from the sunny shores of France. I know that’ll upset some of my fellow brits as it isn’t sunny in the UK so I’m told. However, the sunny and warm climate is not the only difference to good ol’ Blighty.Property goes for similar prices in France as in the UK however the Frence are not so fond of old property (strange as there’s a ridiculous amount of old property about) and you can buy a renovation project for next to nothing, the same thing in the UK would cost at least double. I will say that you get a lot more garden for your money here, plus a fair sized garage at least, understandable as the French love their driving.

Oh yes, the French LOVE their driving, that is very true. Now in the UK there are these micro cars which enviromentalist city dwellers love in their smug way, thinking they’re “doing their bit” whilst everyone is less charitable. I’m not going to link to an example as they are irritating and near universally badly designed, if you’re really that curious then you can search the internet with your engine of choice but I do warn you that in that direction madness lies. However, the French in their love of transport will allow you to drive one of these awful death traps if you don’t have a license, even if you lost it drink driving (a big no no for me). From my perspective this is nearly as bad as when the Irish gave you a driving license if you failed your test for at least the third time.

Ok so on to shopping and as France is quite an angricultural country still, you’d expect food to be relatively cheap with a wealth of choice befitting the stereotype of the French being very into their food. Ok, this is not the case, it’s so far from the case as to be approaching the case from another direction. Food shopping is expensive, far more so than in the UK, the choice is also vastly less.

As a comedy aside in reference to this, the French love their wine and so you go into a supermarche or hypermarche to see what they have and everything is organised by region, thoughtfully displayed et al… apart from about 10 bottles in a section known as ‘Rest of the world that isn’t France’

A final thought on France with regards to the shopping. If you expect the shops to open during the lunch time then prepare to be disappointed. At least in France proper they will close for an hour at least, leaving you to find shade and the nearest boulanger or restaurant in order to have a break.

Now you may look at all the previous and think ‘They’re weird, I prefer to live in {wherever you live}’ but the French put the person first before the employer. Yeah sounds very socialist but that’s France, the individual is respected in their way and the employer/landlord/private entrapaneur is left fighting to do what it is they can to survive. How’s that for a complete turn around compared to the UK?

So does it sound like your kinda place yet?




7 responses

16 05 2011
Zoe Smith

Better than a rough guide (is it just me it does that sound a but rude?) Anyway, I love France even though you’re right about the lack of choice food wise in supermarkets and their propensity for shutting for lunch.

I was in the Loire a few years ago and it was so laid back it was horizontal, lovely.

And for some reason Mr Bricolage always makes me giggle- B&Q never manages that!

You sound like you’re starting to enjoy yourself- careful now!

Lots and lots of love, stat happy and safe.


16 05 2011

“rough guide (is it just me or does that sound a but rude?)”

Tbh it didn’t till you just mentioned it but umm, yeah, kinda distracted me there.

Anyway, yeah it’s really laid back here which is fine, it’s good to have a change of pace every now n then and it’s quite relaxing.

Enjoying myself? I shall have to stop forthwith! You’re sounding a little… happy? Hope you are n you’re sleeping better (or not caring so much if you aren’t) I get the feeling we will see a blog post from you soon, which I look forward to reading 🙂

Take care 🙂

16 05 2011
Zoe Smith

I am a little happy, which makes a change from planning my own demise like I was in Saturday. What a journey!

Self-censoring a lot blog wise, far too much going on.

It’s nice to see you happy, any plans to include St Andrews in your itinerary?

Still not sleeping but not caring any more, its the least of my problems.

You know we really should email- your blog is public and my CPN follows me on Twitter!

Rough guide seems even rude now!


17 05 2011
Rachael Black

I loved France, but have to say that it’s been 20 years since my visit.

Am enjoying your travelogue and the things that you notice. My daughter speaks French fluently and wanted to spend this summer biking through the countryside with me. It was to be her High School graduation present, Sadly, we didn’t have the money. It all went to the college fees heh.

Make a list of places to visit. We will make out trip. Sounds like you’re having a great time so far.
Keep it up my friend!

17 05 2011

Well Zoe, my plans are fairly flexible so I may be able to fit St Andrews into them 😉 As for the blog… even if it’s a little review of how you are at the minute it’s still something. Besides, you can write it, save it as a draft n never publish it or edit it as often as you need. C’mon, get writing! Rachael! How’s the back coming along? Managing to lift yourself out of bed or rolling out like I did when my back was shot (at the age of 15)? Maybe next year you can unleash the demon spawn on France, there’s plenty of ways to do it on a budget, mine is pretty minimal n I’ll try stretching it as far as I can (coming in under budget atm yay!)

17 05 2011

you a narcissist? Yeh, right…

I *love* France, but to visit. The architecture rocks (advantage of no industrial-revolution population boom & the response in WW2 is that they didn’t get the acres of Victorian & subsequent mass-production abominations that clutter up the UK), food, language, culture.

But you have to start pinching yourself when on hols that the experience of living in a place is different. You’ve highlighted some ideosyncracies which you’d get used to, and to be fair, it’s not French food which is expensive, it is UK food which is *too cheap* (thanks to the bullying of producers by supermarkets). They have *incredible* bureaucracy, high tax (especially for small business, which in reality as a furriner you’d have to be employing yourself), a reasonably high level of intolerance of difference (although I do believe you can always overcome this on a personal level, it’s not nice in a society & a factor in why I don’t live in Australia), are pretty sexist (what society isn’t) and their television is shit.

Just in case you were getting all starry-eyed…!:P

17 05 2011

Sounds like you are enjoying yourself some what more than when you initially set out. Went to France myself as a teenager… biggest memory was the size of the hypermarket especially the wine section….also been to Disneyland….not at all cultural!!! Buying an old property an renevoting it out in the counrty would be great….im far to impatient tho….when i see something i want i want it there n then would not have the patience to do it!!!!

SO how long will yo be in france for…where is next on your travels…..somewhere as equally cultural?!

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