Reasons why I’d love to live in France:
1- The food is fantastic: I kid you not, this stuff is angelic. I had my first quiche Lorraine yesterday and I almost died of ecstasy. Their bread is also first class. Buying a sandwich on a freshly made baguette is heavenly. For some reason as well, I’ve started eating all the things I used to hate in England; tomatoes, all different types of cheese, vinaigrette and lots of salads, mushrooms and green beans. Not fish though. Fish are perverted little critters. I say, if a country’s cuisine can taste so darn tasty and get me to eat loads of stuff I’d previously hated, it’s on a winner.
2 – They still have BNs and Golden Grahams: ‘nuff said.
3 – People seem more cheery: Please note the number of conditional, subjunctive, downright maybe clauses and the general mood of quasi-possibility in this paragraph. Ok, I’m from the North of England which is typically typecast as generally more friendly than the scummy south. Yet here, friendliness tends to be assumed everywhere you go. Except in Paris, they’d sooner guillotine you than look at you. I realise that this politeness is, for the most part, a formality and some people can seem as friendly as Santa but they eventually manifest themselves to be the official paperworker from hell with the ultimate power over your current miserable situation and the unshakable sense that they are better than you, but it’s nice to experience for the first few minutes at least. The Christians here redeem the country though. They actually seem to have read the nice bits of the Bible telling them to be joyful and über-thankful for God’s grace and they get on with it quite well.
4 – Alcohol: Everyone knows that some of the best wines (if not the best) come from France. Shucks, they even invented a fizzy wine: champagne, named after the French region Champagne (see the crazy leap of faith for a brand name there?) And not only is their wine fantastic, it’s also dirt cheap. What would cost £10 is sold here for the equivalent of £4, and the French being the French, a lot of the best wines never make it out of the country. Not only is their wine fantastic, but you can also buy Gordon’s Export Gin which you can’t in the UK for obvious reasons (you can’t export a product to its country of origin). By far the best thing though is the sheer lack of drinking culture. In France, alcohol typically goes with food, thereby negating a large portion of its potency and not reducing the average working Jean-Claude to a staggering wreck by the end of his lunch hour. Yes, there are bars and nightclubs etc, but the binge culture hasn’t really reached France (or the better part of the continent for that matter) and I don’t get the impression that it ever will.
5 – Le café: Coffee is big in France. They love the strong stuff – and so do I. A French café is monumentally different to its English counterpart, most notably for the way it treats its coffee. In England you might order a latte, cappuccino, espresso, mocha, macchiato, or if you’re really lucky a ristretto (go Oomoo) and that’s generally the end of the coffee list apart from a few variations on these. In France they have all of those and more, with little short names to learn if you ever want to impress a Parisian waiter (which you do, otherwise you won’t be served). Café is also a normal thing to have after a meal and the French know how to make coffee – non of this filth they call instant coffee. I always say that France is built on three principles: Liberté, égalité, donnez moi du café.
Yet fear not ye English! This blog is merely an attempt to explain why I like France and why, if I ever did settle here, I’d do such a thing. I must have you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I could never stand to leave my green and pleasant land for too long, and I’d never dream right now of settling in another country for life. I admit these opinions may change with time, but I feel fairly certain that should I ever become an ex-pat, France will never be home.