France Comparative

Roman ruins in Mediterranean France - Nimes

I realized in all my moving about and finding house sits and all the rest, that I have not updated my comparatives section.  The last one I did was on Iceland on my round the world journey which I completed last year.  Of course I have since returned to travelling but started off in Britain, my heritage, on which I had already done a comparative.  From Britain, I carried on to France.  Now that country I lived in after highschool for 6 months, back in 1985, but had not been back.  So being back to visit this time was an interesting experience.

As I always say, it's in the details

I flew into Nimes, where I had not been before.  As per my last experience arriving in France, and at that time I was only 18, the same occurred this time.  Nothing was open and no one was very interested in helping me.  But nevertheless, I settled in.  This time during my French sojourn, I visit Nimes, Montpellier, Dijon (my old haunt) and Paris.

through the old archways in Dijon

My memory from my youth was that the French in the north were not as nice as the French in the south.  Well this time I found that neither end of the country was particularly kind as people were concerned.  This is not to say that there are not nice French people, because there are, but in general, as one friend of mine said, the French have rudeness down to a fine art.  And that is true.  If they don’t want to help you and aren’t interested, they certainly make it known.

... uh, ya baby!...

Regardless, aside from the overall rudeness, the country still has lots going for it.  The food, when not caught in the touristy areas (they have exchanged quality for what they believe, I think, to be touristy attraction), is still good.  The wine is good and there is still a lot of amazing history.

History slowly being etched away

I train system in France is excellent as well.  Paris is an interesting city filled with very different neighbourhoods all sporting their own feel and style.  And actually, Paris is not that large.  You can really walk most of it if you don’t mind exercise.

Are ya happy or are ya sad?

I do like speaking French as it is the only other language I know and for the most part I seemed to have done alright.  The unfortunate thing about places like Paris, is that everyone wants to go there.  I don’t remember their being such crowds in 1985, but the Louvre, Notre Dame, Palace de Versailles and most other tourist attractions were completely overrun.  Of course I was there on Easter Weekend, but still, it was crazy.

The grandeur of an urban park in Paris

I do love the south of France if just for its location.  I think the best bet with France is staying out of the big tourist centres and focusing on the smaller places, lesser known places and not to take the French “rudeness” personally.  When you are tired and just wanting some help, it can feel harsh, but everyone deserves to be just they way they want to.

If a picture could speak a thousand words