We are now on the train out of France and I thought I would write an additional blog post on our thoughts about France and the French. We feel we are pretty experienced now that we have been here for 10 days. So here are some random thoughts:
- The French are a nation of farmers. We drove around for 5 days through the countryside and there is hardly an open space. Everything is consumed by farmland. They seem to grow everything. They must be net-exporters of food.
- French waiters have ADD. All of them. If you don’t get your order in with them at one go they lose interest. Don’t ever hesitate it is a fatal error as you will only get half your order and you won’t see them again.
- The rural French people are much less friendly than those in Paris. Parisians are generally quite friendly and helpful. We found that last time we were in Paris as well. Maybe it is because there are so many tourists. The restaurant and hotel staff are very friendly and they all switched into English even when we were trying in French. We didn’t have any bad experiences in Paris.
- Generally though the French have no manners. You hold open a door for one of the ladies and you can bet a French man will push ahead and walk through. They also drive like that and they are worse in Paris than in the countryside.
- The French road system is really excellent. They have motorways everywhere and it is really easy to get around. They do love traffic circles though!
- French cooking isn’t as good as they make it out to be. We went to numerous restaurants and the Spur does a better steak than I had in France.
- You need to get an extra mortgage on your house to cover a trip to France. I never thought I would find a city more expensive than London but Paris definitely is. Everything is more expensive but especially the drinks. They are ridiculously overpriced. In London I could have a pint for half the price I paid in Paris.
- France is a beautiful country. The countryside, the villages and Paris itself. Words like charming, quaint, delightful, enchanting, picturesque, and captivating would all be apt descriptions.
- There are way too many tourists in Paris. They should restrict how many tourists they allow in. I can think of a mechanism for doing this but then I will be told I am discriminatory.
- The French idea of a 4-star hotel is that you pay a lot of money for at best what would be rated 3-star in any other country.
- It rains as much in France as it does England.
This morning at breakfast Helen asked everyone what their best part of the French trip was and the consensus was Chartres. That was our first night in case you have forgotten. In a sense we fluked upon it but it was really worthwhile. I would recommend it to anyone coming to France. My other word of advice – don’t come in July if you are going to come to France.