Saturday, 9 January 2010

France - Why Do We Love It So?

What exactly is it about France that makes everybody utter the sort of vowell-y noises more commonly associated with pictures of tiny pets or scrumptious dishes of food? I mean, nobody goes googoo over Denmark, or Macedonia do they? And those are nice places too....

Don't get me wrong -I am just as besotted by it! My favourite holiday would always Paris? In the lovely Languedoc? Or beautiful Brittany? But still, there must be something about that country which appeals to us more than anywhere - what is it?

The food, I hear you say. The lifestyle, the joie de vivre, they drink a lot of nice wine, the women have such style, they dress so much better over there, the men are so good-looking - they just know HOW TO LIVE. And then there is Paris of course,
ah si belle, si chic! Apart from Spaniards, Brits are the most frequent Eiffel Tower climbers, did you know that - now that's true devotion!

We all KNOW of course that there are fat, badly-dressed women in France, there is food you wish you'd never seen let alone eaten, there are social problems (those grands ensembles on the outskirts of Paris aren't exactly beautyspots are they?) and the lovely family gatherings we envy so can be oppressive and fraught with tension.

I think it's more that France allows you to live out your dreams - if you're into fashion, why where else to look than the avenue Montaigne? If you're a foodie,
bien sur, you've dined in that très chic resto in Valbonne. You can discuss Henri-Bernard Lévy ("Ash-Be-El") or Edith Duflo if you're intellectually minded. Or you could just go to the beach.

France has the unique ability to provide the perfect answer for anybody's dreams, longings and, passions. I think THAT's why we love it so...


  1. Great post - love it!

  2. It's weird, isn't it? And I have to say I don't totally understand it because it was never my dream country - and yet, I've ended up living here. Don't get me wrong, I like it well enough but the country I really go gaga for is Sweden: I love the language, the people, the culture, the music, even the food (well, apart from surströmming). And don't get me started on candles :-)

  3. Excellent piece Margit. I love the old narrow streets and the beautiful beaches and how so many young people in the South use motor scooters as a mode of transport.
    I love the clothes and the food and the long discussions about politics and that it doesn't cost a fortune to buy a decent home....but I love London more, although it's way too here I stay.

  4. Yes there is a little ..mmm.. they have a sentence for it Je ne se ..? Cant speak French unfortunately .. But for me I love the Architecture in Paris and the French countryside is stunning.
    Yet I would prefer Spain to live x

  5. Funny isn't it...but I would say similar things about Spain. Maybe it's because I have a home there, but I find the Spanish much livelier...more fun...more aware than the French. The old Spanish towns rival anywhere in France and the food more interesting than in France, where the cuisine has become a little tired. Having said that, I have a lot of close French friends, and am spending a few days in Paris with them next month!
    Like Janis.....the UK will always draw me back.

  6. I agree Margit- I'm a total Francophile and believe France is all things to all men. When I'm in Paris, it feels strangely like home. I hope it means I've lived there before..... x

  7. I'm fascinated by your comments, and think it's great that we all basically agree about France - all the more interesting for me to hear about the other countries you are fond of even prefer. Sweden, I know and love too, but I've never been to Spain (well only to Tenerife :)so maybe I'm missing out there...

  8. Erratum: The philosopher is of course called Bernard Henri Lévy - apologies for calling him Henri Bernard Lévy!

  9. So, I'm beginning to think this blog can transition into a travel blog too :-). I've had a very text-bookish understanding of France from my few years studying French. Friends who've lived there have vouched for the beautiful women and good-looking men. And then Hollywood (and bollywood) have positioned the city as a place for true romantics, gourmands and wine lovers. 'Revolutionary road' put the fact that Parisiens truly 'know how to live', so well. It is truly convincing. Then again I've heard people say the french are snobs. That an english speaker may possibly not have the best time as a tourist in France. That they look down on colored skin. I guess I'll have to visit the country and see for myself. Only, I wonder when...

  10. Enjoyed reading these comments in reponse to your great blog Margit. Glamour of the movies in my youth helped me to fall in love with France. Did a post A level pre-uni hitch-hiking trip with my girlie friends to study the ecclesiastical architecture and fell in love with wonderful French boy!

    For Spain, after visiting the magnificent Alhambra Palace try driving up from Granada NE across mountains (in a soft-top!), past Albacete and onwards to Valencia. Breath-taking beauty awaits. Valencia old town is charming, catch a Saints Day and you won't be disappointed, what a spectacle!

    If you've got time to spare stop off at horse riding school at Tobarra on A30, run by British couple Richard and Sue. Amazing Spanish horses, so intelligent! Special in it's own enigmatic way.