What is it about France?

In the last few weeks I have been very busy with clients out here viewing their short-lists of properties I have found for them and they all want to know what it is that makes France such a great place to live. This is a difficult question to answer because there is not really just one specific thing that I can tell them; it is more a question of lots of lovely aspects of living here which add up to what for us is a very good quality of life. So I thought I would run through some of those little things that have made up my week this week and most weeks and never fail to remind me what it is that is so lovely about living here:

1. Yesterday, after two days of rain I opened the shutters to blue skies and fresh snow on the mountains.

2. And it was Wednesday so I got to spend the afternoon with my children (no school in France on Wednesday afternoons)

3. My neighbour turned up with a huge pumpkin she thought I would like (and lots of suggestions as to how to prepare it!)

4. Today I got to sit outside in the sun and eat my lunch – working day or not, the French live to eat not to work (and it’s still possible to have a great three course meal for around 10 Euros)

5. The local towns have just started putting up a few Christmas trees and the local school children have begun to make decorations for them. This is as about as commercial as Christmas gets around here which is just fine by me.

6. Everywhere I’ve been today, I have bumped into somebody I know and they all are happy to stop and say hello. I also know all my neighbours by name and they know me which is probably one of the reasons we feel part of the community here.

7. When I went in to buy my baguette this morning, everyone in the shop said bonjour, au revoir and wished me a good day. It was the same in the bank, the chemist and at the children’s school.

8. And when I pick my teenage children up from school, their friends come up and peck me on the cheek. Girls do the same when they greet each other and the boys shake hands. My younger children kiss their teacher hello and goodbye. How civilised.

9. Most days I get to walk the dog in the fields behind the house – today I saw two deer, numerous red kites and kestrels and a red squirrel. Sometimes we spot eagles, owls and even once a pole cat. The farmers don’t use pesticides here and we have predominantly meadow, full of wildflowers and wildlife.

10. The ski resorts are about to open and soon we will be able to spend our weekends on the ski slopes.

11. Nobody locks their doors here

12. The owner of the cafe where I often have my morning caffeine shot, told me that my coffee was on him today.

13. I can do most of my weekly food shop at the local market where everything is uncertified organic (not ones for bureaucracy here!), very fresh (hours old, not days or even weeks) and very local – everyone at market comes from within a few kilometres radius.

14. Everything shuts on Sundays – family and friends are king here not the supermarkets

15. Oh and I get to look around lovely houses and explore new areas on a daily basis and meet lots of interesting people.

There are many many other reasons that make me happy to live here but these are just some of the small events that make up my week and make me smile.

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