Ahh France – she is never what I expect her to be, but each tour ends up being an epic adventure regardless.
We decided after this trip NOT to head to Paris again any time in the near future. France is huge (compared to the rest of Europe) and there is so much more to explore. I have been to Paris many times, but spent relatively little time anywhere else in France.
What I discovered on this tour is that the French in the ‘rural’ regions are very different from their compatriots in Paris. If I compare with Canada, it is also true that people are entirely different in each province, accents change (dramatically in some cases!) and so do social standards.
If you try to start a friendly conversation with a stranger in Toronto (particularly if they are NOT of the opposite sex!), you are likely to get a strange look or an awkward reserved response – you may even be ignored altogether. Start a conversation with a stranger on the east coast of Canada, and you are likely to be standing in chat for more than a half hour – to end up with a dinner invite.
I myself grew up in a VERY small town (population 300) and moved to Toronto, Ontario as a teen, where I lived for about 15 years. I see the differences in my own Canadian rural vs. city life. With ‘rural’ in France equalling gorgeous chateaus, expansive sandy beaches, gourmet food, medieval walled towns, friendly people and affordable amenities, Paris can wait!
I had forgot to mention that our French host at La Poivriere made a ‘funny’ at our expense, after asking us where we were from. As he brings out the wine he says to my husband;
“It is good for you to test the wine, smell and taste – even though you are from Vancouver“
Oh Monsieur – très drôle!
Additional photos in the slideshow.