An A to Z of Life in France is Doreen’s witty and informative guide to life in France.
It’s still fairly young (it’s only been going since 9th of September) but it’ already got 28 posts and, most importantly of all, it has a detailed study of the wisest of all men, yes – a Citroen 2CV driver!
I’ll get to that bit later!
Doreen says of herself… “Little did I know when I made my first visit to France that I would end up living there. I was 14 and went with the family next door on a day trip to Boulogne. I was clutching my Post Office-issued visitor’s passport (valid one year), and it was also my first ever trip abroad. We sailed from Southend Pier on the pleasure steamer, the Royal Daffodil. Even the ice creams in Boulogne seemed exotic to me then. And as we made our way home, I knew that I would return…”
Well, return she certainly has!
2Cvs and a cup of tea!
So, starting with the most important things first. lets get right to that 2CV post.
And here it is… D is for Driving
Now tell me that this paragraph doesn’t come from a woman who knows everything there is to know about living in France….
“His place in your bumper zone is taken by a beret-wearing pensioner. He’s driving the Citroen 2CV that he bought to celebrate his retirement 30 years ago, and grins manically at you through the rear-view mirror. He doesn’t stay there long as a ‘no overtaking’ sign soon appears, enabling him to chug past in a cloud of exhaust. The pieces of string keeping his door shut flap wildly in the breeze. He then slows down so suddenly you are forced to brake, sending the EU-regulation florescent jackets, warning triangle, first aid box and carton of spare light bulbs that were on your back seat to the floor — along with the six bottles of wine you had just bought.
It’s not clear at first whether he has slowed to protect the residents of the village you are now passing through, or because he has spotted an old friend driving towards him on the other side of the road. It’s the latter. As the two cars draw level, both drivers stop and wind down their windows. A fug of Gauloise drifts over the village.”
If I had a 2CV I’d spend hours hunting down English tourists just so that I could do the same thing!
In my humble opinion, D is for Driving is possibly the bestest Life in France blog posing that I have ever read.
And if P is for Paris then it must be to Paris that we must go to get a good cup of tea or to discuss important issues of the day such as…
Cappucino’s law (or the Coffee conundrum as we call it up our way) states that… “the smaller your cup of coffee, the longer you linger at the table of the boulevard café you’ve chosen to patronise.”
Donkey sausage for lunch?
If it’s Donkey Sausage for lunch that you’re after, you really need to go and take a look at F is for Food.
But I do have to say, whilst Doreen might know a lot about 2CVs (or their drivers, at least), she has got a lot to learn when it comes to the real French delicacies!
Fancy not liking Tripe, andouilles (tripe sausages) or pigs’ trotters!
What’s wrong with the girl?
In B is for Bottles and Bread we learn that… “there are some 362 types of French wine, known as ‘appellations’ (that’s the posh stuff that comes in glass bottles with proper corks, to you and me.)”
I wouldn’t suggest that you attempt to try them all in one go.
No, that wouldn’t do.
Do what I did and try them all over a period of a week!
We also learn a handy trick for keeping your baguette fresh but you;ll have to visit the blog to find out all about that!
Ello, ‘ow are YOU?
If you ever get the urge to say… “Ello, ‘ow are YOU?” in a slightly Scottish accent you might want to take a look at J is for Joining in.
You may even learn that…. “Adieussiatz! No, it’s not another strange Scrabble word. It’s the Occitan for ‘hello’ and, confusingly, ‘goodbye’.”
And if you want a really good chat, you could take a look at C is for Communication.
You’ll discover (only one of the many discoverable things to be seen) that, in France, you need to carry… “an electricity bill — it’s the passport to everything!”
Of course, for communal changing rooms at the swimming pool you need to visit G is for Gone Swimming.
Doreen tells a lovely tale of brief vending machine trunks that were bought some public baths.
She… “can’t remember what the town they were in was called, but if you ever want to find them, they were opposite the romantic-sounding Café de l’Abbatoir.”
Now that’s handy.
I’ll remember that next time I need a micro-man-kini!
Thankfully, when she reached the end of the alphabet (I never knew it had so many letters in it!), Doreen decided to start again with random entries – personally, I can’t wait for C is for Classic Car – the Citroen 2CV!
On her last post from the initial run through, Z is for Zebra Crossings, Doreen says that… “I have just one thing to say about zebra crossings. Ignore them. All the drivers do. Whatever you do, don’t ever try to use one to cross the road. (But it’s perfectly OK — in fact it’s expected — to park across one.)”
Yes Doreen, you’ve made it!
You understand the French way of life!
If you can say a thing like that then you are French through and through!
So, summing up…
This is a delightful blog.
I’ve not seen anything else quite like it and I only regret that I didn’t think of this very clever idea myself.
But then, very clever ideas are a little bit beyond me!
At the moment I’m the only ugly mug on Doreen’s Google Friend Connect widget thingy at the top of the sidebar.
It seems a shame that no one else is brave enough to publicly admit to enjoying such a lovely blog as this.
Then again, who would want to be seen on a Google Friend Connect widget thingy with me?
Tough one, that…
If you’re not too shy though, you ought to pay a visit to this dictionary of delights at An A to Z of Life in France
And me? Well, as we all know, K stands for Keith.
But also, K is for Kissing and generally being polite.
Not too sure I’ll be any good at the generally being polite bit but I’m all for a bit of Kissing practice so….
Pucker up people, here I come!
All the best