Monday, January 21, 2013

This is the French way, and I like it!


Bonjour mes amis!

FIVE WHOLE MONTHS ago today, my hubby and son and I left Texas to live in France for a year!  There have been things to learn about, and embarrassing, blundering moments with the French Language, but overall, this has been an incredible, wonderful experience for us.

Today, I'd like to share some Cultural things I've noticed that I can live with embrace!
*Please note that these are in no particular order...

The French, in general, are a very Polite People!
Two Quick stories here...

1.  Every time I go into a Store or Business here, I am greeted with "Bonjour!", and many times I am asked if I am looking for anything in particular.  I am also always told to Have a good day! or Good-bye! when I leave.  It actually feels rude to come in or leave without saying something to the shopkeeper.  I like this.  They acknowledge me!  I acknowledge them!  Also, you wouldn't ever just walk up to someone and start talking about something...always greet the person first.  This is the French way, and I like it!

2.  If you've been following along with me, you know that we park our car in a nice, safe parking garage in the building we live in.  Well, it just so happens that our assigned space is right next to a pole where there is a button that everyone in our lot must press to get out.  When we first moved in, we nicely parked in our space.  It turns out that we were not parking the car back far enough to the wall (we back in), so others could easily press the button without getting out of their cars.  One day, we arrived at the car to find a Note (a really nice Note, I might add!) on the car, kindly asking us to back the car all the way to the wall.  I'm showing you a small excerpt of the Note below (don't you love this person's handwriting?)...we couldn't help but oblige, and we have had no issues since...wasn't this polite?  This is the French way, and I like it!


The French are not "huggers"!
(It's "Bisou Bisou" all the way!)

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the "Bisou", this is the French way of greeting someone you know.  In general, you don't "Bisou" a stranger.  A bisou is a kiss.  I said, bisou bisou, because in this area of France, the French give two kisses.  It's not really a kiss on the cheek though.  You touch cheeks with the other person, on each side, and make a kiss sound.  In some other areas, they give 3 or 4 bisous.  It's all according to region.  We are regularly greeted with bisous in the Church we attend and other friends, and we've really come to like it.  Women greet men with bisous, too, but in general men shake hands with one another, other than family.  This is the French way, and I like it!

There is one other thing I've learned...for a person you are familiar with, the French will often sign notes or emails with "Bisous!" as their way of closing the correspondence.  Cute, huh?

I am not opposed to going to the Bakery every day to get Fresh Bread like a Frenchman!

There are many Boulangeries and Patisseries here in Orléans, and people do go get fresh bread, just about every day.  I know, we have gotten in that habit.  But, there's another reason for it...there really isn't much bread available in the grocery store (other than the bakery section).  I think I, so far, have bought one loaf of sandwich bread from the grocery store (and that was only because we were going on a road trip, and I wanted some substantial sandwiches to take along)!  I like going to buy bread, although at times it can be a hassle (like when it rains or snows), but it's nice to see the same friendly faces at the bakery each day, and actually feel like a "local".  This is the French way, and I like it!

Isn't this worth the trip?

The French know how to wear their Scarves!

I know I've barely posted any pictures of myself where I'm not wearing one!  This is the French way, and I like it!  (Then again, it is colder here than in Texas!)

This is the Scarf my Mom made for me for Christmas!  It's getting lots of use!

For the French, Meals are an Occasion! 
(...and Dinners always include a glass of wine!)

In general, dinner time in France, on the early side, starts around 7:00 PM, but if you are having a true French meal (whether in a home or restaurant), you will enjoy numerous courses, including...

A Drink & small Appetizer
Main Course
Salad Plate
Cheese Course

In general, you are not usually served your coffee with dessert.  Coffee comes after Dessert, unless, of course, you are ordering Café Gourmand, which is usually 3-4 Miniature Desserts with an Espresso.  Meals are an occasion and can last 2-3 hours!  This is the French way, and I like it!

The French are good Recyclers!

I've already told you about bringing my own Sacks to the stores, since they are not usually provided.  Less waste!

These are my recent grocery sacks...they're working out great and hold a LOT!
Also, you can recycle so many containers here, and there are glass recycling centers on many street corners.  This is the French way (and American), and I like it!

The French Cherish their History!

By now, I've shown you enough Châteaux and Museums, and Architecture for you to pick up on this!  One funny thing I've noted, though, is that the French, just like Americans, love new things, too!  But, for the French, they are surrounded by History all the time, so they particularly enjoy new and modern.  For me, I am enjoying all the "old" things I can view much History and Stories to tell...This is the French way, and I like it!

Well, thanks for indulging me today to hear about my observations in France.  Who knows, I may have to have another Edition of this while I'm here, the more I learn and see...

Have a "Jewel" of a day!

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