French Hospitality

Everyone we encountered on our trip was friendly and welcoming.  We understood we were traveling at a very busy time of year (late July to early August).  Many of the places we visited were very busy and the staff was, understandably, doing the best they could.  I tried to muddle through on my very limited French and I think people respected the fact I was trying. Almost everyone we encountered in hotels or restaurants spoke English way better that we spoke French.

One of the highlights of the trip was a special Trafalger-arranged dinner in Normandy at the home of 80-year-old Beatrice,  who was one of the most charming people  we met on the trip. She welcomed us to her farm, where we had dinner in a restored cow barn which had been a convent before the French Revolution.

Here are a few other observations about differences between  life in France and America:

  • The French “work to live” vs. our “live to work” attitude.
  • Their wine and pastry are truly exceptional.
  • They really love cheese and ham.
  • Men and women pay attention to what they wear, and it is really nice.
  • They are thinner.  You do not see many obese people.
  • Things slow down on Sunday’s, which is really nice for families.
  • The kids seem more respectful and less pampered that their American peers.
  • They pay attention to aesthetics.  Cities and Villages compete to receive one to four flowers that designate how well their public spaces are maintained.   This would be a great idea for the USA to adopt.
  • The smoke a lot.
  • They serve water in really small glasses and you never see water fountains.
  • There is a lot of regional pride.
  • It stays light much later – until after 10pm in the summer.
  • The muslim women and men (about 10% of the population) dress traditionally and stand out from the non-muslims.

 

 

 

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