5 Things I don’t like about France

Written by on September 3, 2014 in My French Life

things i dont like about france

People say I’m always going on about how wonderful France is. They say “there must be something you don’t like” and there is. Nowhere is perfect. But first, let me just emphasise, I love France and having a home here, I can never understand those people who moan constantly about living somewhere they chose to live. Of course if they have bad luck I sympathise, and that does happen. But, most people I meet who are unhappy and moan would be so much happier if they could make more of an effort to integrate, learn to speak the language and accept that nothing is perfect – not even in France.

So here are 5 things I don’t like about France (but they are just little moans)… and if you’re wondering why that photo, it’s because 3 of my moans are road related (and I think its a great photo).

1.  Hairdressers. I have been to several different hairdressers – only one was quite good and that was a long way away. One of the hairdressers was so bad it was unbelievable. I said I wanted an inch of hair trimmed off and some highlights for my dark hair – I came out with hair 10 inches shorter and dyed a brassy sort of ginger. When I saw myself in the mirror I was so shocked I just said “Wow” quietly and rather pathetically. The hairdresser beamed and announced to everyone in the salon “She said Wow, she loves it”. As I departed she gave me a kiss on both cheeks and told me that she knew we would be great friends, she could “feel it”… wow.

2. French people are never wrong. Seriously, if you have an administrative issue in France and it is the fault of someone in an office – forget sorting it out quickly. It takes ages to convince them to change things. I have learned to never say THEY are wrong. Never accuse them. Just point out that there is an error and be as nice as you can about it, though that might not always get the problem changed in a speedy manner, it won’t do any harm and it might help.

3. Selfishness at the petrol pump. This might seem odd but it can drive you a bit crazy when you’re queuing up to use the petrol pump. The person in front will get out, fill up their car and then get back in their car. They may adjust their mirrors, put on some make up, feel around in the glove box, make a phone call – if they had a kettle I am sure they would make coffee. All the time they hog the pump, while you wait… seething.

4. Overtaking. I used to think it was just me. That French people like to overtake me because my car has a UK registration plate and I don’t drive very fast. However, even French people complain that French drivers are over keen on overtaking.

5. Roadworks. Every summer it is the same – roads are repaired all over the place and diversions are put into place. Streets are closed without a care in the world for the poor motorist who relies on Satnav. My own village has three main routes into the centre. When the 6 month long road works were in force – all three routes were frequently closed without warning or notice. On the plus side (though my little car may disagree with this being a positive move) I learned from the locals to use the dirt tracks that run through fields and emerge at the back of houses.

These are just niggles of course, not serious gripes and by the way, many of my  French friends have the same issues as me!

Now, here are five things I love about France…

Related Articles

Peyton Place Chicken Pen

Peyton Place Chicken Pen

Written by on July 6, 2020 in Blog, My French Life

As a poultry keeper, I’m always amazed by the antics of my birds. I have ducks, chickens and geese – they’re pets, not for the pot, despite the urging of my French neighbours.  I love them all but it’s the chickens who for me are the most fascinating. Ducks fight it out to establish a […]

Continue Reading

A happy ending for a lonely duck

A couple of years ago now, we went through a torrid time in what is now called “The Year of 52 ducklings”. It was all my fault. As a city slicker, moving to the countryside of northern France has been a bit of a learning curve to put it mildly. And when it comes to […]

Continue Reading

Insider tips to help you make friends with the locals in France

Making friends in France isn’t difficult I’ve found. They don’t care if my French is not great or I get my grammar all wrong. They don’t even care that much that I am “Flop chef not Top Chef” and can barely grill a bit of French bread without spoiling it. But there are some things […]

Continue Reading

How to make friends in France | Entente Cordiale

“When I move to France I only want to have French friends”. This was a line in an email I received from a couple of Brits. They wanted advice on where to move to in France and this was one of their criteria. They also wanted to be near a town that has a market, […]

Continue Reading

Reviews for My Good Life in France by Janine Marsh

When Lesley O’Mara of Michael O’Mara publishers in London emailed me to ask if I’d be interested in having my story published, I leapt at the chance. I mean, who wouldn’t! Lesley had seen a feature on me in the Financial Times, about how I’d given up the bright lights and mean streets of London […]

Continue Reading

Subscribe

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed

Comments are closed.

Top