17 March 2007

Why we travel to France...

I found this on a forum I participate in on the Internet. The author is John B. (oakvilleonca), whose photoblog is at http://lightandshadow.my-expressions.com/.

Why we go to France:

To drive small cars fast on well-maintained narrow roads and to enjoy getting lost in remote hamlets;

To have two-hour lunches and three-hour dinners... but not on the same day;

To see and listen to children play;

To sit under the plane trees;

To watch men play boules while the woman exchange village news;

To see four generations having lunch together in the local restaurant;

To look through our wine glasses at the setting sun;

To go shopping for clothes for our grandchildren and have people oooh-and-aaah about our luck and choices;

To see elderly folk out on the patio of a castle that has been turned into a retirement home;

To overhear a child say to his parents that the cows eating the lush grass by the stream were gourmandes.

To marvel at the produce and presentations at the local weekly markets;

To note the farmer in blue coveralls and a black beret driving a monster grape harvesting machine while smoking a Gitane and talking on a cell phone;

To visit two young artists and to buy some of their paintings to decorate our home;

To absorb and try to retain memories of some of the results of a thousand years of civilization;

To admire the skills of stonemasons;

To stay in B&Bs or rented houses and get to know a little more about the way of life;

To wonder at the range of human possibilities: automatic toilets to holes;

To watch old 2CVs tilt wildly while driving on mountain roads;

To recall seeing an arm stick out from a pup tent in the streaming cold rain and wondering how wet they will soon be;

To see people taking home pastries in little ribbon-tied boxes for Sunday lunch;

To smell the cooking in narrow lanes;

To admire the flower pots and gardens;

To have works of art placed before you even in modest restaurants;

To see a woman arranging flowers as we walked by her window;

To be amused at the tolerance, care, and attention given to dogs in restaurants;

To visit the cemeteries and to think about the lives others have lived;

To come upon flowers placed at a spot where a soldier was killed during the war;

To see a small discrete sign in a remote area that gives directions to the nearest auberge:

To marvel at the vista of tiled roofs, churches and patchwork fields while flying over France;

To experience the infinite variations of the Gallic shrug;

To see cats sleeping on warm stone window sills.
I guess a lot of us could add a few lines to this list.


  1. I'll start.

    To eat things you'd never consider eating at home because you know that, here, it's going to be good.

  2. To exchange "bonjours" and "bon soirs" with the people you meet and to see friends greet one another with les bises.

  3. To remind yourself that there is more to life than work.

  4. To order coffee from my seat on a train, expecting to get a caffeine boost and nothing else, and receive a quite drinkable brew made fresh right in front of me.

  5. The smell of fresh bread.
    The incredible variety of delicious cheese.
    The ritual of "Bonjour madame, Au revoir madame" when entering and leaving shops.

  6. I don't travel to France anymore; I live here. So it's hard to add anything to this already very complete list.

    But I can say that I have, on a few occasions, eaten five-hour lunches that morphed into three hour dinners. "Don't try this in your own home."


What's on your mind? Qu'avez-vous à me dire ?