Britt's First Impressions of France
I was never really that interested in France. Not that I had anything against it, I just never really thought too much about visiting. I mean, I opted to go to Puerto Rico and Mexico after college, not Paris, I chose to study Spanish in highschool and college rather than French, and frankly, I have always prefered tortillas to crepes.
Jeff on the other hand loves France and always has. He's been here twice and has reminisced dreamily for the last 3 and a half years of our relationship about the Pain a'chocolat, crepes with Nutella, wine, baguette and 'Cwwwouusoooonnnntuhzzz' (croissants to us non-Francophiles.)
Aside from his reveries and photos, I seriously had no idea what to expect when we suddenly found ourselves on a flight to Nice. Well, over the last month, I've written down my observations, feelings, and impressions of this carb-crazy land and here they are...
- French women ARE really that skinny (and fashionable)
- The Nutella, baguette, croissants, cheese and wine really ARE as delicious as the rumors indicate.
- I'll never understand how #1 and #2 can both be possible
- I adore the customary 3 hour 'French lunch' of wine, baguette, salad, cheese, bubbly water and fruit.
- You are not cool unless you wear a scarf
- Topless sunbathing is still widely embraced...and is the coolest thing I've done yet! Oh, and the men LOVE their Speedos!
- Internet service outside of Paris sucks..ie) in Bormes
- Knowing Spanish does help with reading and understanding French...speaking it is a whole other ballgame.
- The people ARE actually very nice. For the record, I've found the rumors of French snobbiness towards Americans to be utterly false.
- There is nothing cuter than naked little 2 year olds running and yelling in French along the beach!
- Any and every reason to celebrate will be fully embraced by everyone and most often accompanied by taking the entire day off work, or at least a good portion of it. A party and lots of wine will undoubtably follow.
- Hours of a shop, restaurant, cafe, pretty much anywhere, are suggestions and completely at the whim of the people working that day. Example: There's a grocery store called '8 a Huit', 8 to Eight, pretty self-explanatory right? HA! Nope, they're open from 730am- about 745pm and take lunch sometime between 12-3. I still don't know the hours of the bread shops and post office.
- In France, everything is prettier than required. Lampposts, window bars, streets, food, sidewalks...everything is just so darn pretty.
- The public transportation is great.
- If you see a guy in very tight, acid washed jeans, AX belt, shiny leather shoes that match his jacket, a scarf, a fedora covering his bleached tips, and a tight shirt, he IS NOT gay. Just French.
- While local people are nice and helpful to tourists, they delight in overcharging foreigners. You know you've succeeded when you start getting 'locals prices' (half tourist prices) and free rounds of drinks!
- Rugby? Soccer? Awesome! I can't imagine a proper sports bar without one of these two sports on the TV.
- You walk or bike everywhere, which could explain the coexistence of #1 and #2. But if anyone has a motor, it's either a Vespa or tiny 'Euro-car'. It makes so much more sense, than the absurd, oversized suburban Hummers and lifted trucks.
- I love American showers! Pretty much everywhere else I've traveled hot water has been an afterthought; and here, showers are blocked off by half of a pane of glass. No door, no curtain, just half a see-through sheet of glass. Shaving is a nightmare!
- French women do shave their armpits.
- The smoking is not as bad as I thought, although I haven't been to Paris yet.
- Everything grows in the South of France. I've mistaken many plants for weeds and frantically shoved them back in the ground in hopes of saving them and viola, they grew!
- The produce is the best I have ever seen in my whole entire life.
- Cafe is taken after every meal, including lunch, and for some reason it doesn't keep me awake at night.
- Life is slower and it will not speed up for anyone, so ya just gotta go with it. God made time, man, made haste...
- No one uses a clothes dryer, and now it seems so silly and overconsumptive (word?). I've made up my mind to never have one again...Just hang the damn things and save money and the planet at the same time!
- French men walk with their arms behind their back, almost in a military like fashion. Interesting, but very dignified.
- People DO wear navy striped shirts and white pants, scarves and fedoras, but they DO NOT wear Berets or all black.
- French food is good, but there is nothing like having a taco truck, sushi bar, pizza grotto and Sweet Tomatoes buffet all on the same corner. God Bless America!
- Motion sensor lights are everywhere...why doesnt every country use these things? See last sentence of #26.