Ever since I was a little girl I have been fascinated with fairy tales. Castles and princesses. So the first time I visited France I must admit that I fell in love at first sight. Listening to French language just made me melt, I didn’t understand the language but the sound caressing my ears was a strong aphrodisiac.
Being ruled by my stomach, food was also a determining factor to me falling in love with France. Often people imagine the French eating frogs and snails washed down with red wine. But the reality could not be more delicious. Plenty of vegetables glistening in your dish ready to be savoured with a slice of crusty baguette. Deliciously pungent cheeses arriving at the table tempting you for another bite… yummy….
My first time in France I only stayed a couple of days, but it was crucial for me. I had fallen in love! I supposed I should not have been surprised, I am a stormy person who is easily struck by love with a tendency for the coup de foudre’ as the French would say. I would never have imagined that 5 years after my first visit, I would meet again with this long time lover and that this time I would stay. But, Why France?
If we were to talk about practicalities, there were many reasons to move to France.
- It is a beautiful country. I believe this explains why the French are not very interested in travelling abroad. France has all the climates. You can be at the beach in the morning and you can go skiing the afternoon! There are volcanoes, thermal baths, plenty of beach lakes, seaside resorts, skiing stations… you mention it and France will have it!
- The French love for outdoor activities. The second time I came to France, I stayed near the Alps. It was September but the weather was good enough to have a picnic in the park overlooking the snowy mountains. I was amazed to see entire families going around cycling or roller skating. I saw them and I knew that was the type of up bringing that I wanted for my children.
- Education. People in France are by and large very well educated. Do not expect to see children throwing tantrums in supermarkets or restaurants -if you see them… they are mine! I mean, I had people in the metro in Paris helping me with my baggage or giving a seat in a crowded train, something unknown to me in any other city.
- The wine. I suppose this reason doesn’t need explanation!
- The culture. France has managed to keep most castles and monuments in very good state. There are several medieval towns to visit and mouth dropping castles everywhere.
- The food. Not only the haute cuisine that you can eat in fancy restaurants, but also in the countryside cuisine is amazingly tasty mainly because of the quality of produce used in the preparation.
- Very good value homes in the countryside with the bonus of having lots of land as part of your property.La Bonne Vie
I could continue the list of reasons of why we chose France but it would be too long. I think it can all be summarized in the pursuit for la bonne Vie. In France, pursuing the good life is a serious business. I genuinely admire the preference for living and enjoying life that the French have.
In France family and la bonne vie are the priorities. The great majority are not obsessed by their work and carreers. They prefer to work 35 hours and have more free time rather than spend their lives working to buy the latest model in cars or mobile phones. And at least in the countryside people seem to be more worried about having a good time than about what material things they have.
Of course, here having a good time, means eating and drinking well and spending your free time in something you enjoy like hunting, cycling, fishing, painting, etc. We live in a small town full of artists. It is rare to find someone with no artistic interest. From an early age children are encouraged to go to music school, or painting workshops to develop their artistic abilities.
Of course, there were also disadvantages to moving to France. But that I will tell you about another day!