I’m actually British but I’m not a regular retired ex-pat, I’ve lived, loved and worked here for the last 17 years (and i’m still only – gulp – 36).
Some people have an image of the French as sullen, miserable, cheating race that look down on others from a lofty perch from on high but this is a disservice.
I mean a country that has over 80 million visitors a year, more than any other country, can’t have a population that throws garlic and snails in peoples faces and orders them “Dehors”, can it?
Here are 5 reasons why it’s good to love the French:
1) Once you’re a friend with them, you’re a friend for life
The French aren’t cold exactly. They’re very friendly (except for maybe the Parisians, but they’re for another blog). They just need warming up.
But once they’re warm, they’re yours for life. For exchange visits, for chats, for emails, for Xmas gifts, the lot.
2) They really do believe in moderation
The French aren’t prone to excess. They don’t do obesity, they don’t do all night binge drinking. The French know when enough is enough and it’s time to go home.
They have the long life spans and know how to look after themselves. It’s actually quite rare to meet real alcoholics and drug users in France.
They do exist, of course, but the French, despite the prevalence of alcohol and lax rules on when one can drink, don’t treat addiction in the same way as other similar cultures.
3) They love children
The French don’t love children as much as the Italians, but the French have a family-oriented culture. In France, nothing is as important as family. Nothing.
Children are pretty much respectful and say hello when they’re introduced to someone. They dress well and don’t look to smoke and drink as much as is humanly possible.
I’m generalising but you do get the feeling that your child will grow up with the real values in France.
4) Their dedication to good health
Food is important, yes. Having a house is important, yes.
Working and earning money are of course of utmost importance too.
But all of these things are all factors in the ultimate search for a French person that is “quality of life”. They’re not looking for the meaning of life, but having a zen-like appreciation of living life well.
And this of course you can’t do if you’re ill. So extraordinary amounts of money are spent by the government to maintain the best public healthcare system in the world bar none.
I mean it’s so good that people in England come to get the teeth checked in places like Calais because they can’t wait 9 months for the public NHS appointment.
5) They love it when you speak French
Having English as a native language is a luxury. It’s so easy for us to waltz confidently through the world, believing it’s a right for others to speak our language.
The French have their own academy to preserve their language, and this is proof of their dedication to maintaining it’s integrity.
They know and understand the importance of learning English, but you should see their reaction when I, as an obvious foreigner, can converse fluently with them and understand their jokes. They love it, and they open up so much.
So there you have it. 5 great reasons to love the French!