Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Observations en France

1. Cantoin, the village the house is in is very high up. High in the sky up the side of a valley. Do you know what this means?

High above sea level x amazing views / plummeting temperatures in the evening = nice photos but freezing your ass off in bed.

Note to self: Take more jumpers and bed socks. (And don’t even think about going during the winter.)

2. French country roads are a little mental. No places at the side for passing and French motorists don’t really enjoy sharing the road and do enjoy travelling down it at 100mph.

Note to self: Take tranquilisers when travelling. (And don’t think about going by yourself until you can remember how to drive in your own country. Which may be some time.)

3. They like their cows. Apparently it’s all about the cows in this region. Aubrac cows if we want to get specific. There are fields and fields and fields of them. I did spot a black and white one which is a cow I’m a familiar with, but for the most part they are brown cows. Very few sheep were spotted. The obsession with cows extends beyond just keeping them however, there are statues all over the place.

Note to self: Next time go on a proper cow hunt to try and get some really good cow pictures. Cows might be becoming one of my favourite animals – they just look amazingly stupid. (Sorry cows but you do.)

From left to right: Little metal cow on the roadside in Vitrac, big steel bull in Laguiole town centre, metal bull in Laguiole.
4. Nobody speaks English. Which is fine, this isn’t some crazy rant about people in France not speaking English, it’s a note to those of you who think you’ll be ok with a GCSE you got 9 years ago. This will not be enough as I soon found out. Faced with a French person talking at me in full throttle, any French I might have known flew out of head, closely followed by my command of the English language. I would instead wildly look around for my Dad and his wife who can both speak French. My main problem seems to be that I know lots of French words, I just have absolutely no idea of how to string them together in a sentence anymore. I did discover however that I can do ok reading French, I can figure out pretty much what the words mean.

Note to self: Buy French phrasebooks, download guides, do anything to try and kickstart your French skills, they must be in there somewhere, you got an A for god’s sake. (Or. Make sure you go with someone who can definitely speak French.)

5. There is a little known French law which stipulates that you have to have window box with red flowers in it to be considered truly French. They were freakin’ everywhere.

Note to self: Make sure Dad conforms to this rule immediately. Also. Don’t go mental taking photos of flowers, people will see you and think you have mental problems.

6. Weightwatchers and France are not compatible. I didn’t even try, it’s not called a holiday for nothing. I would let you know the grand gain but I conveniently can’t go to my weigh-in this week either so I have a week to make amends!

Note to self: Go mental and take the opportunity to eat as much bread as possible. And beef bourguignon. Revel in the fact that you can’t drink wine and don’t really like cheese otherwise the result could have been a lot worse.

7. They have possibly the best invention ever. A milk vending machine. Outside a supermarket. For reals. Just whack in 20c for a bottle and then for 1 Euro you can have a big juicy bottle of milk. No need to trek all the way round the supermarket if all you want is a bit of cow juice.

Note to self: Start petitioning Tesco.

I have indeed set up a Flickr account for my other photos so if you're desperate to see a lot more photos of France then head over here. In particular look out for Happy Tractor, he's one of my favourites. And you can get a  sneaky little glimpse of my latest crochet blanket project - a little patchwork number!


  1. so many thoughts... mainly - I speak French ;p

  2. Brilliant!!! Wheere my pal lives in France, they have what looks like a petrol station in the village, except you take your containers and fill up with vino collapso - for very little euro's!!!! Another petition me thinks!!!

  3. NOT A FAN OF CHEESE?????????? I'm not sure we can be blog friends anymore, that's a real blow to the heart...
    You did redeem yourself (very) slightly by taking those hilarious photos of cows, love them!
    Have never seen one of those milk machines before, but we spotted a baguette dispenser in a little village (more like a couple of houses actually) in the middle of nowhere!

  4. It looks really lovely there! I love the thought of all the window boxes - so nice! And the milk vending machine is a fab idea isn't it?

  5. re. #3 - I LOVE cows. In France they don't 'moo' they 'meuh' (tres francais, non?), and ducks don't say 'quack-quack', they say 'coin-coin'! (pron. 'cwan-cwan')

    re. #6 - YES, the French diet is SO BAD! On our year abroad for uni we must have put on a collective tonne ... don't know how French women are all so skinny - must be all the smoking!

  6. Notes on your notes:

    French roads and drivers - totally understand...much experience of this in Vals...and the roads are poorly maintained there....not good on big cliffs...why people don't career off them and fall to their deaths more often is beyond me with their driving...

    Cows - just the name is funny...and the sound they make...and their faces as they look at you...they rule...I have a friend who is obsessed...

    Flowers - french like their flowers, they are everywhere...french have style and I like it

    Food - I was wondering why french women don't get fat despite their diets...I hear the secret is SLOW eating....chewing every mouthful for a long time and taking ages to eat it all...hmm...not sure I buy it but this is what I am told

    And french - yeah I got an A too at GCSE...and I have words....but not the grammar or is seriously embarrassing...

  7. What a lot of observations! I don't know what to comment on.

    France eh? Mad!

    And you can't get a decent cup of tea!

    And, actually, you can't get decent milk anywhere I ever go in France. Not fresh milk. Just that long-life stuff. Bah!

  8. Love the cow photos moo! The window boxes are pretty and cheery. x

  9. That milk machine is amazing. Except is it fresh milk? Cos otherwise it's not *as* cool.

    GCSE French gets you nowhere, yo. At least not in terms of a crazy skill like Actual Conversation.

  10. I totally agree about the Milk Vending Machine - freaking fantastic idea. This household drinks lorry-loads of the stuff. We really could do with our own cow (or herd).

    Love the cow photos - and now I'm off to look at your flickr page.

  11. this had me giggling,
    comment not too long= comment awesome + very helpful for a ww virgin like me, have a bit more to shift than you I suspect but I've given myself a year- 9 months to get good with it :)xxx


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