Expatriate’s story from Paul
The expression is: “I love France but can’t stand the French.” After centuries of competition – it used to be war – these two neighbouring countries both believe they are superior to each other. Britain used to say “no” to joining the Common Market. France says “no” to anything which could change their traditional way of life. Like the British they have a strong pride in their nation which was severely dented when Paris was rejected as the venue for the 2012 Olympic games.
So why are we here? Because despite the differences we like the way of life here, and in particular on the Côte d’Azur. We live in town but enjoy the frequent drives to the nearby mountains where you can ski – I don’t. There is always something going on in Cannes with exhibitions, conferences and cultural events all the year round. My French is improving through telephone contact with Vincent. We also have made French and Belgian friends who have also helped us set up a press agency covering news from this area which we provide to newspapers in London.
Yes, the French know nothing about personal space and they seem to have missed the lesson on using indicators when driving. I like, however, their politeness, their honesty, their belief in two hours for lunch – and free parking during that time if you can find a space in busy Cannes – and their general disregard for petty laws.
Obviously food and weather are both bonuses although it is cold in winter and you can’t get good bacon here. So, all in all, it’s not a bad life.