Many visitors to that fine country have no understanding of the national psyche of the French. They are a very proud nation with an incredibly rich history and more culture than one might find in a Roquefort cheese. Tourists wrestle with the concept of the entire country closing every day between noon and three. They also don’t follow the reasons for the early start in the day and everything remaining closed on Sunday. The divide is prised open by foreigners who speak loudly in English while affecting a stage French accent “No, garçon, we want a pot of tea for two.” or “Non, J’ai asked for it to be cooked medium. This est rare.”
My approach is different. My French is pretty poor. I start every conversation by explaining in my halting French that I am Irish and asking for forbearance. This stands me in good stead and gets me conversation, entertainment and eventually, understanding. It also makes sense when staying in rural France to buy local.
A great example of this is one of our holiday lunches. I got up early (for a tourist) and walked to the village goat’s cheese shop, on to the boulanger for a Céraine loaf, stopping on the way to pick up a jar of local honey – ‘Le Miel de Garrigue’.
A morning trip to a local winery rounded out the lunch ingredients.
The lunch came in at less than one may spend on two ham sandwiches at home in Ireland. It was one fo the best meals we have had in a long time. Like I say, it pays to buy local or “Acheter des produits locaux”, as they say in Google.