Friday 25 May 2012

Things I Miss About the States, Things I Love About France

My last post in this series was about things I miss from the States. It was not an exhaustive list (not by a long shot) and I'll continue it later. But today, I thought I'd mention a few things I enjoy about France. Remember I'm focusing on the little things so I'm not going to drone on and on about the rich history, and the to-die-for architecture or the food...well not in this post anyway (;

Two hour Lunches
Yes, you read that right, the post office is "closed on Mondays" in many
areas. In fact, lots of stores closed on Mondays, but this is NOT one of the
things I love about France.

The French have a love affair with food and lunch is no exception. In fact, lunch from noon-2:00pm is SACRED! Most stores, banks, and even the post office in most towns close for lunch. The only exception you'll find is really in the big cities and Paris. But regardless, you do not bother a Frenchman in the middle of lunch. If you trip on a hatchet and it's 3 inches into your thigh, blood squirting in all directions, and the clock reads 1:30pm, you wait the 30 minutes before calling for help. Okay, so I may be exaggerating just a tad, but hopefully you get the point. What is nice about a 2 hour break however, is that it gives you enough time to enjoy a nice cooked meal (it doesn't have to be fancy) and unwind a bit before tackling the rest of the day. Lunch on the go is not nearly as common over here as it is in the States. Even my kids have 2 hours off. I pick them up from school everyday at noon, bring them home for lunch and bring them back at quarter to two. Sure it's time consuming having to cook for everyone and yes, there are days that have me swinging in the cuckoo's nest, but I like to know what my kids are eating. And I'm not the only mother that brings their kids home for lunch either. But as much as I like having them here for lunch, it won't last. The school is building an new cafeteria and next year they'll go a few days a week to eat with their classmates. I think that's important for them too. 


I. Love. This. Game. But don't get that statement confused with me actually being any good at it. If I'm on your team, chances are we're going to lose. But for some reason, sucking at this game doesn't turn me off from playing. Now, pétanque (similar to the Italian's Bocce ball) is a male dominated sport, but it can be played with the whole family. And yes, it is a sport! You can play pétanque just about anywhere except for maybe the living room. We have a typical kids plastic set, but the real ones are heavy, metal balls, made in France.

My kids plastic pétanque set

The goal is to get your ball as close to the cochonnet (the little red ball) as possible.
In this shot, my ball ended up in Spain.


  1. I wish we had two hour lunches and then siesta over here :)

  2. I like the Spanish way of life. Take a nap after a drink of wine outside next to the pool! AH!

    Two hour lunches sound awesome though. In high school, I had 30 minutes to get my food, eat and go to the toilet.

  3. When I'm at work, I'm lucky if I get a half hour for lunch. Two hours sounds heavenly. Cooking does not.

  4. Cristina has the right idea! ;)

    France sounds nice. I'm a expat of the USA living in England where lunch time is just as hectic as it is in the states.

  5. Cristina: Siestas get my vote! :)

    Kamille: Oh, I love your pool idea!!

    M.J.: I really don't miss the on the go lunches of the States. Two hours is great and really the cooking is not that bad...usually... (;

    Suz: Another US expat! :D sorry to hear about the lunch rush though.

  6. I wish that American life was slower. It seems built to wear you out by the end of the day and curse that you are alive.

    1. Me too. It seems that America is great if you are young, motivated by money and in good health. But at the same time, you never truly know what you have until it's gone.

  7. So what are the average work hours then? A two hour lunch would be nice, but not if I had to tack it on to the end of my day. Back to the pastries... want to send me some. ;)I'll send you something back. We'll have a food swap. What can't you get over there that you miss?

    1. Hours worked per week is complicated over here. It depends on if you have a management position, government position or are part of the wage labor force. But most government employees and people working manual labor work 35h/week. However people who have management type positions (cadres in French)in the private sector, work much, much more. And I would love a food swap if it wasn't for customs hijacking my parcels and taking out my food stuffs!

  8. Two hours lunch break? Sounds heavenly.
    It wouldn't work for me... personally, I mean... too many places to go to, people to meet, deals to clinch, gig obligations to fulfill... at the moment my life is hectic!
    Oh, did I mention a story to write? Well, I really need to fit that part in... somewhere... somehow... oh, and there's still blogs to read...
    ... and blogging buddies to catch up with...
    I've never ever heard of petanque... a first for me! Looks intersting...

    1. Maybe one day I'll show you how its played. (:

  9. Wow--two hours? It must be nice to have a break that long.

    1. Yes it is, especially when you have kids. (:

  10. Hi Elise .. it's probably a great idea - I wonder how you'll feel in a year or two .. or when you go back to a shorter lunch break. Petanque - so traditional French ..

    Cheers Hilary


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