I’m coming towards the end of my three week stay in France. I do love it here, I really do. My fiance and I spend most of our weekends at vide greniers and brocantes. A vide grenier is literally a loft sale, the equivalent of a UK car boot sale. A brocante is slightly different, a cross between a flea market and an antique sale. Many of these events in France are combined with a village fete and have a bar and a food area which can range from a full three course French sit down meal to merguez (French sausages) and frites (chips to UK readers and fries to you in the USA)
There is also always a bar, hey we are in France after all. Eighty cents for a glass of vin rouge, two euros for a glass of beer, and nothing stops these events. Rain shower at a UK car boot -forget it! Event over! Everyone leg it to your car and pack up. Are the French bothered by a downpour? No way! Put a bit of plastic sheeting down on your goods and quickly make way to the bar for a glass of red. Open up again when the skies clear. Now, here’s another thing; All these events are pretty well attended which means there are people about inhabiting these places but- and this is an important question. What do the French do when there isn’t a village fete on? Where do they go? What do they do and where do they do it!
Okay, deep breath needed here. I don’t mean to get excited but I’ve travelled for three weeks and here’s the thing; French towns close at 12 midday on the dot. Shops close. The only places open are the restaurants because nothing, and I mean nothing interferes with the French lunch. Nothing! Everywhere shuts down until two pm. Okay, I’ve noticed in recent years the supermarkets have started to stay open, which is a good time to shop for all us UK tourists. But even in the late afternoons French villages are still and quiet. UK villages are full of people, cars, traffic and kids. Where do the kids go? Why aren’t they kicking balls about in the middle of the street like normal kids? Where do the people go and what are they doing? If you know the answer, let me know!
This is what we need to do. Not so long ago on BBC there was a pretty interesting documentary about cats. The BBC team wired up all the cats in a village, had cameras and tracking devices on the cats and worked out what the cats did, where they did it and in fact the whole pattern of their behaviour. What the BBC need to do for a follow up programme is to attach cameras and gps tracking to a village of French people and report the results as soon as possible!
We need to know!
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