When I started this weekly series, reasons to love France, I had lots of ideas in mind. I decided to share a few on Facebook and ask my friends there “what would you add to my list?”
Well there were some fabulous answers and I’ll be sharing those reasons in the coming weeks. But, one of the most popular reasons that my friends gave was “the people”.
“I was on holiday in Provence and the people in the village I stayed in were so friendly and welcoming” wrote one lady.
“The people are the main reason to love France” said another lady.
In fact there were many such comments and it didn’t seem to matter where in France people had visited. Paris of course has a reputation for having rude waiters and speedy inhabitants who won’t give you the time of day. “Not so” said a friend on Facebook. “Au contraire” said another. And that absolutely reflects my own experience. I’ve got lost in Paris on the Metro many times and had to ask for help from complete strangers. I’ve had one man actually lead me to the right platform in Montparnasse! I’ve had people offer to help carry my case up or down stairs. I’ve never had anyone ignore me when I ask for help.
And this is my experience everywhere. I always start with “Bonjour” when I ask for help, even if I’m struggling for the right French words, getting that all important greeting in sets the scene.
The French love of heritage and tradition means that people love to share their stories, legends, favourite places to visit. They may sometimes seem a little aloof but that’s because on the whole, once you make a friend in France – it’s for life, not for a week or two. So, they take their time to get to know you, after all, it could be for a long time.
In my little village of just over 100 people, it took ages to get to know peoples’ names. Even longer to get comfy sharing bises (kisses) on the cheek when we meet and depart. Once you start that kissing malarkey – you can’t turn back! Do it once, and you need to do it forever – that’s etiquette here.
“I just love when you are in a tiny village and you strike up a conversation with a cute local and they don’t always completely understand you or you them but somehow you both relate to one another” was the comment from a lady in America.
Pop over to my Facebook page and share your reason to love France on my timeline…
And, if you want to know my reasons to love France – I’ve written a whole book about it! My Good Life France is on Amazon and in bookshops.