Living and working in France has and still is one of the most enriching experiences of my life. I love it here! I even left it once, only to return “home” as soon as I could. Why? I find the French philosophy on life refreshing and it just makes sense to me.
Here in Champagne, the people are warm and friendly, and there is a sense of community, that long-forgotten feeling that used to prevail in the homeland, the UK before it all went wrong. The French are attached to the earth, the “terroir”, the planet in a way that makes me feel safe and secure, and even loved.
Yes, yes, I know that sometimes they are rude, but isn’t everybody? But what I’ve learned about the French during my many years among them, is that it’s NOT intentional. My daughter describes them as “direct” and that’s a good description. They don’t put up with nonsense, poor service, poor food, rules that don’t make sense to them, working harder, working longer (remember they only work 35 hours a week!) and their lives are much more important than any commercial transaction.
There is a respect here for each other, with the essential “Bonjour Madame or Monsieur” whenever you meet someone in the street. Eye contact is normal and people smile. Old people are respected and children are cherished. People help each other in a distinctly and guarded French way, but nevertheless the support is there.
Of course, I may have to eat my hat if Marine Le Pen wins the next election! God help us!