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Spring 2022

Discover Paris in the spring, Caen in Normandy and its marvellous markets plus Yvoire, a picturesque village on the edge of Lake Geneva in Haute-Savoie. Explore Saint-Omer, a historic city in the far north that's full of secrets and treasures, and Evian, where Frankenstein's monster stayed! Head with us to Metz in Lorraine to find out about its incredible past, La Couvertoirade, one of the prettiest villages in France, and the UNESCO heritage of Avignon. Guides, gorgeous photos, what's new in France, the best tours and delicious recipes from the legendary Le Nôtre bakery in Paris - and more.

Discover Paris in the spring, Caen in Normandy and its marvellous markets plus Yvoire, a picturesque village on the edge of Lake Geneva in Haute-Savoie. Explore Saint-Omer, a historic city in the far north that's full of secrets and treasures, and Evian, where Frankenstein's monster stayed! Head with us to Metz in Lorraine to find out about its incredible past, La Couvertoirade, one of the prettiest villages in France, and the UNESCO heritage of Avignon. Guides, gorgeous photos, what's new in France, the best tours and delicious recipes from the legendary Le Nôtre bakery in Paris - and more.

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Our local bar is the sort of place where everyone has an opinion about absolutely

everything, and they love to complain. The goings on at the Champs-Elysées

Palace are spoken of as if we are all on first name terms with the President, the

Prime Minister and the various political agencies – of which are there are many in

France. If you didn’t know better, you might well believe that many of the villagers

spent the week in Paris moonlighting as eavesdropping staff in governmental

offices. According to just about everyone, Monsieur Macron isn’t nearly as

interesting as some of his previous incumbents, Monsieur Sarkozy for instance

had everyone going due to his aversion to cheese. And Monsieur Hollande was a

constant source of fascination and complaint thanks to his many girlfriends and

predilection for riding through Paris on the back of a small motorbike.

There actually was a poll held in France quite recently about what French people

complain about most and it probably comes as no surprise to find out it was – the

government. I’m sure it is the same everywhere.

Complaining, loudly, is a very French thing. For the last I don’t know how many

years, immediately after meeting Jean-Claude and sharing a kiss on the cheeks

and saying bonjour, the first words out of his mouth will always be complaints

about the weather, it’s too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry, too foggy, too frosty.

Born in London, I am not generally a loud complainer. We Brits tend to sigh loudly

and mumble insults under our breath “pushing in up there, did you see that?” we’ll

say, but we won’t confront the push-inner.

In France though, if you don’t learn to complain, you’ll stick out like a sore thumb.

For the French, it’s not just about letting those negative feelings out, it’s about

connecting with your tribe, bonding.

With all that’s going on in the world, I count my blessings every day and rarely find

anything to complain about for myself. But, in the interests of fitting in, now, if

anyone complains here, I simply nod and say “oui, oui, I know, I agree.”

Truly I am starting to feel French…

Janine

Last

Word

Janine Marsh lives in France with her husband and 72 animals. Her latest book,

Toujours la France: Living the Dream in Rural France, is out in spring 2022 on

Amazon and all good book shops

118 | The Good Life France

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