Archives for posts with tag: France

I was in France on a family holiday recently and I was reminded how many men of all sizes in that great country use a man bag – really a glorified purse the size of a very thick smartphone – to keep their keys, cash, bits and bobs handy.

It reminded me of previous family holidays in France, a thousand years ago, when I was the child instead of the parent.

Back then my father – who was way ahead of his time in terms of progressiveness, equal rights and being comfortable in one’s own skin and sexuality – commented on the same thing.

I remember his words. “I’ve always thought the small handbag French men use to be an eminently sensible idea.” This was back in the macho, chauvinist 70’s when a heterosexual British male wouldn’t be seen dead carrying anything remotely resembling a purse or handbag.

I agree with him. And I think that smartphone cases that come with a couple of pockets to hold credit cards and cash are going that way too.

It’s been some thirty-odd years since I last drove in France. I managed to correct this shortcoming over the summer with some long distance and local driving on holiday. In this post I offer you 7 observations about the experience.

  • They drive on the right (I’m starting with the obvious one. It pays to remember this one at all times…)
  • Their road signs are excellent. Why can’t every country adopt a visual picture that shows a 130 below a sun, and a 110 below some rain, so you know what speeds you can drive in what weather?
  • People obey the speed limit almost all the time. This might be something to do with the frequent speed cameras and the zealous gendarmerie
  • They don’t signal you in, flash you in, or wave you in, to allow you to pull out, or across or in front of them
  • They don’t acknowledge you when you signal them in, flash them in, or wave them in. I don’t know why this is. For me it completes the transaction and is simple good manners
  • They ignore or don’t see your offer and simply pull out, across or on front of you.  I don’t know why this is either
  • They touch park with gay insouciance

I don’t know if this correlates with your experience, but it certainly correlates with mine :-).