I discovered this side of the Channel that we French were supposed to be (in no particular order) romantic, sexy, cute, stylish, and so on, and so forth… Don’t you find it amazing what people assume about us? The reality may be quite different. Here is a list of 10 things you probably didn’t know about us. So much preconceived ideas, right? Read on…
Obviously as you know I am a glass-half-full sort of person. I keep complaining about all the cliches about French women, but I thought that I should let you know what the main advantages of being a French woman abroad are. Because after all, it’s all about being balanced, and all isn’t doom and gloom. Quite the opposite in fact. So here we go:
There is no denying it: it’s getting colder and darker. Fair enough, we have had a bit more sunshine than usual, but do not kid yourself: it will soon be winter. That said, fear not, I have come up a few tricks to cheer yourself up. Enjoy without moderation:
- Bake, bake, bake. There is nothing like the smell of fresh bread to feel warmer, and generally better.
- Go and watch Carmen at the Royal Opera House. Come on, sing along “l’amour est un oiseau rebelle…”
- It’s just a little Crushed: come on, have some compote. There is nothing to feel bad about, because there is no added sugar in Crushed compotes. Who said that compotes were for kids anyway? Well, not me. In short, it’s time for a Crushed. After all, it’s just a bit of fruit, right?
- Ditch the baggy pants. Go lingerie shopping. You will feel so much better for it. What is it with all the bright yellow green panties this side of the Channel. Nobody looks good in them! It’s time to do something about it!
- Mulled wine. Because you can buy the spices in Fortnum & Mason. Believe me, it will lift everybody’s spirits!
- Listen to this: the Summer Of Boys. It will wake you up. And it’s all about a summer romance. What’s not to like?
Where do I start? Well, as you may have noticed, I don’t have a lot of patience for stories in which women are rescued by men. I can take care of myself, thank you very much.
That said, I sometimes wish I were Sleeping Beauty, lost in the land of sleep. Ah, the joy of being able to sleep as long as I want. No Prince Charming. Just send him back where he came from please. I just want to sleep.
You see, sleep is now a rare luxury, because there is always something happening: a child to pick up, a vomiting teenager, a deadline to be met, a train or a plane to catch, and as a result I have to sleep less. And I don’t like it, but I have to make do. Don’t we all? I don’t have a choice anyway.
To cut a long story short, most days I wish I had been able to sleep a bit longer. That said, I can’t complain as last weekend, we were able to sleep an additional hour. A whole hour, can you believe it?
This is because the clock went backwards. And although I’m not the only one to get a little confused by the clocks changing, I think we should do it every day. I am less pleased about the fact that we will wake up in the dark and come back home in the dark, but hey, an additional hour of sleep is not to be sniffed at. So I took it. With gusto, if you must know.
According to a study posted on The Daily Mail, 16.8 million tourists flocked to the English capital in 2013, one million more than any other year. And it begs us to question what all the fuss is about? Why does everyone want to travel to London so badly when it rains so much throughout the year? And more specifically, why are there so many French in London?
To be honest, there are way too many reasons as to why people spend their holidays in London, yet there are still a handful of people that need convincing. On the other hand, some like it so much over here that they make London their new home (like me!). Travellers may shy away from the capital which is home to overcrowded airports like Heathrow, but London Gatwick and the other less busy hubs in and around the capital are equipped to provide you with all the services you need to soak in all the city’s offerings, including parking and transportation services. In short, don’t listen to the killjoys who tell you that the British infrastructure isn’t on par with the French one. It’s not true. Oh, and I almost forgot: we even have water and electricity. I kid you not.
Here are five reasons why you should plan your next holiday in London:
I am delighted to be one of the top 50 UK bloggers…Have a look here if you don’t believe me:
I keep being asked whether the stories that I write are autobiographical. Well, there is no easy answer. Obviously what I write is loosely based on my own experiences, but have things happened exactly the way I have written them? Sometimes, yes. Sometimes no. To make matters even worse, some of it might be –gasp- parody.
Because believe it or not, we French have a sense of humour. Well, sometimes at least. So yes, what I write needs to be taken with a pinch of salt.
As some of you are obsessed with number, here is my scientific assessment of the situation: I would say that 50% of what I have written in my manuscript has actually happened to me, one way or another. 30% is slightly exagerated. The rest might be invented. But here is the twist: I will not tell you which is which. Because it would be far too easy, wouldn’t it?
As for Carine and Archie, I thought that the love story between a French woman and her British boyfriend would be the perfect platform to explore the cultural differences between the French and the British, because, just like in a couple, we love each other, but we sometimes don’t understand each other.
As a treat for today, I would like to share with you a chapter that actually has happened to me in real life. I didn’t know it when we moved to London, but the Brits are obsessed with the Napoleonic wars. The thing is, I belong to a generation of French student that never, ever was taught anything about Napoleon. We just skipped it. This much is true…Now read on:
What is it with the Brits and pub quizzes? Why do they love it so much? I have been dragged to a few of them and I must say that well, it looks like fun.
Except that I don’t really get the fun. Maybe I have become an old bore.
For starters, I don’t know the responses to all the historical questions. And to the other ones, if I am completely honest.
Which Hollywood sex symbol has the middle name Tiffany?
Well, to cut a long story short, I have decided to publish their story around spring time and, in the meantime, I will let you know more about them. I will probably go down the self-publishing route as publishing companies keep asking me to ‘tone it down’ -whatever this means-. I was also told that Carine wasn’t really nice, which came to a surprise to the publisher.
Well no, she is not. She happens to be French. And I hate to break it to you, but nobody is perfect, and we French women are no exception. Sorry, I had to tell you. Are you still listening?
While we are at it, I think that it is time for you to know that French women do get fat. Our children are not that well behaved and no, we don’t smoke to cut our appetite. We are just –gasp- normal. Shocking, right?
I am not saying that there are no cultural differences, but they are tenuous. Even subtle sometimes. And not necessarily what you would expect them to be.
And I keep being asked whether I am Carine. More about this some other time!