I haven’t posted in a while, but I had a good reason to be busy- I moved to France. I now live in the central region of France, Auvergne in a tiny city called Murat. I’ll be staying here for about 3 months, though my first month has gone by already.
Some of my observations so far:
- The French love their cheese, okay, this is one is not too groundbreaking as I knew that before but completely underestimated their cheesy obsessions. Here we get cheese with every meal, breakfast, lunch and dinner. Though strange I quickly got used to it, and now I’ve even got my favourite regional cheese – the Cantal.
2. Speaking of food, the French spend a lot of time at the table. Most meals contain 3 courses, the desert being usually – yes you guessed it – fromage.
3. Wine is cheap, lovely and plentiful. Bordeaux is the most popular in my region.
4. Yes, you can buy escargots in the supermarket
- Sundays are hell. Yes, there have been many a song written on the subject of boring sundays but I don’t think you’ve experienced a proper boring sunday unless you stayed in a small french town in the mountains. The french do love their sacred sunday family time and usually have a big sunday meal etc, which all sounds just lovely until you realise that you’re not french and you barely knowanyone in your town. There is nothing to do because everything is closed and as a rule it’s usually too rainy or cold to have a walk in the mountains, and you don’t have a car or a bike so it’s not like you can go anywhere exciting. Thank god for that single bar that’s opened even on sundays. Don’t think I’d survive without it otherwise (love you Guillaume!). Though I am going to cry my eyes out now the bar is being closed for the winter…
In a small town like Murat, you quickly find a favourite bar and few weeks in you already know most of the staff and are on the first name basis with the owner (see above). I also have my favourite cafe and a bakery. The downside is that even if you nip down to the supermarket on a bad hair day the likelihood of meeting half the people you know is very high.
French greetings (bisous) was invented just to torment me. Yes you all know the peck on two cheeks the French people are so fond of, we sometimes do it in Slovakia too but in my mind is always linked to greeting elderly relatives who keep asking me when I’m getting married (hint. Never). Not like that’s bad enough, in Auvergne they traditionally do the bisous three, THREE times! Probably just to prolong my embarrassment.
8. The countryside is god damn beautiful. Sometimes it feels like I never left Scotland, because of the gorgeous mountains, lovely views and ridiculously unpredictable weather.
9. The people here are amazing. Seriously. I know most people think that French people are rude or aloof. I never noticed that, (until my September stay in Paris that is, which involved me having a bit of a breakdown due to general incompetence of the hotel staff) but I never thought I’d meet so many lovely and generous people here. Some let me stay in their homes, made me meals and made sure I’ve got everything I need and am enjoying my stay and were genuinely interested with interacting (or helping) a foreigner even though my french is not the best.
10. France makes me happy.