People say I’m always going on about how wonderful France is. They say “there must be something you don’t like” and there is. Nowhere is perfect. But first, let me just emphasise, I love France and having a home here, I can never understand those people who moan constantly about living somewhere they chose to live. Of course if they have bad luck I sympathise, and that does happen. But, most people I meet who are unhappy and moan would be so much happier if they could make more of an effort to integrate, learn to speak the language and accept that nothing is perfect – not even in France.
So here are 5 things I don’t like about France (but they are just little moans)… and if you’re wondering why that photo, it’s because 3 of my moans are road related (and I think its a great photo).
1. Hairdressers. I have been to several different hairdressers – only one was quite good and that was a long way away. One of the hairdressers was so bad it was unbelievable. I said I wanted an inch of hair trimmed off and some highlights for my dark hair – I came out with hair 10 inches shorter and dyed a brassy sort of ginger. When I saw myself in the mirror I was so shocked I just said “Wow” quietly and rather pathetically. The hairdresser beamed and announced to everyone in the salon “She said Wow, she loves it”. As I departed she gave me a kiss on both cheeks and told me that she knew we would be great friends, she could “feel it”… wow.
2. French people are never wrong. Seriously, if you have an administrative issue in France and it is the fault of someone in an office – forget sorting it out quickly. It takes ages to convince them to change things. I have learned to never say THEY are wrong. Never accuse them. Just point out that there is an error and be as nice as you can about it, though that might not always get the problem changed in a speedy manner, it won’t do any harm and it might help.
3. Selfishness at the petrol pump. This might seem odd but it can drive you a bit crazy when you’re queuing up to use the petrol pump. The person in front will get out, fill up their car and then get back in their car. They may adjust their mirrors, put on some make up, feel around in the glove box, make a phone call – if they had a kettle I am sure they would make coffee. All the time they hog the pump, while you wait… seething.
4. Overtaking. I used to think it was just me. That French people like to overtake me because my car has a UK registration plate and I don’t drive very fast. However, even French people complain that French drivers are over keen on overtaking.
5. Roadworks. Every summer it is the same – roads are repaired all over the place and diversions are put into place. Streets are closed without a care in the world for the poor motorist who relies on Satnav. My own village has three main routes into the centre. When the 6 month long road works were in force – all three routes were frequently closed without warning or notice. On the plus side (though my little car may disagree with this being a positive move) I learned from the locals to use the dirt tracks that run through fields and emerge at the back of houses.
These are just niggles of course, not serious gripes and by the way, many of my French friends have the same issues as me!