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/.
I guess a lot of us could add a few lines to this list.
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.